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As I See It: Will Trump be GOP standard bearer, run as independent if not chosen?

Unless something drastic will occur between now and the convention of the party, former president Donald Trump will likely be the GOP’s standard bearer for the 2024 presidential derby! What if he is not, will he run as an independent?

Statistics show that he is leading his GOP opponents by a big margin at 44% although former cabinet of Trump Nikki Haley is on the rise dislodging second placer Florida Governor Ron De Santis in some states.

As I See It, there is a formula for the Republican Party to deny Trump as the party’s standard bearer. How? Well, if the remaining candidates will be able to unite and agree to select one from among themselves who will oppose Trump on a one-on-one duel, then it is possible to stop the latter from being the party candidate. To do that, they may either put up Haley or De Santis to solidify the 56% (Trump has 44%) to win. Consider a 5% factor of safety, still they have 51% to get the nod of the party putting together all their votes to surpass Trump’s 44%.

So, it is possible but they need to be one, including those who already dropped out from the race, to come up with the solid number to deny Trump. Although this is easier said than done, it is possible, for as long as they commit themselves and really want to keep the party from becoming a Trump-GOP party which veers away from the original policy of the Grand Old Party (GOP). They need a strong will to do that!

So, if this happens, then, there is also a strong possibility that Trump will run as a third-party candidate. With his clout in the party, his rhetoric, his strong character, with his solid MAGA group behind him, he will still be a force to reckon with to win the presidency even if he is a third-party candidate in a 3-cornered fight between him, Biden, and Haley or De Santis. Surely it will spoil the chances of the GOP candidate, so it will still be a square fight between him and Biden.

Or, it will bolster the chances of Biden since the GOP votes will be split between him and Haley or De Santis because even if he rans as an independent, he will still be branded as GOP because of his solid supporters who will remain to be Trump-GOP.

The only problem is as third-party candidate, he won’t land in the ballot in many states and land in only a few due to state laws to qualify for the ballot. If that happens, then voters might not be able to vote for him because he is not in the ballot or is a write-in candidate for 2024.

When was the last time a third-party candidate won the presidency? None, except for the big showing of then third-party Green candidate Ralph Nader in 2000! It didn’t catapult him to the presidency, but it made a third-party candidate a record of himself by showing the strongest performance of a third-party candidate. He cited a “crisis of democracy” as his reason to run for the presidency at that time which caused the chances of then Vice President Al Gore to be elected president. Nader somehow became a spoiler at the expense of Gore.

Will Trump become a spoiler in 2024 or a winner if he runs as a third-party candidate, that is if he fails to get the nod of GOP as its standard bearer?

Study says that a Trump third-party win would be ‘effectively impossible” and an analysis by staff writer Aaron Blake attest to it saying he won’t be able to do it.

The study in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, as cited by Blake, concluded that it would be “effectively impossible” for Trump to win as a third-party or independent candidate, because he would fail to make the ballot in as many as a majority of states.

“Such a candidate would be denied ballot access in 28 states totaling 290 electoral votes if sore-loser laws are applied as written,” the study says. It notes those 290 electoral votes are a majority of electoral votes on offer, and a candidate needs a majority to win.

Richard Winger, longtime third-party ballot-access expert and advocate has in the past argued that only two states have sore-loser laws that explicitly and definitely apply to presidential candidates: South Dakota and Texas. Most of the others with potentially applicable laws, he has noted, have allowed failed major-party candidates to appear elsewhere on the general election ballot.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg News ran a story Monday with a similar thrust as the Harvard study. It also found that a third-party Trump effectively couldn’t win, which focused narrowly on six states where he would be prevented from making the ballot: Alabama, Arkansas, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

What the Harvard study seeks to add to the debate is laws that would appear, on paper at least, to prevent Trump from running third-party. That’s even if they are not explicitly sore-loser laws, and even if they haven’t been applied to presidential candidates in the past.

The study even attested that Trump launching a quixotic third-party bid is one thing; going through all that trouble with no prospects of victory and with this much legal wrangling ahead is quite another.

So, should this happen, Trump would risk being remembered not just as the guy who spoiled 2024 for Republicans, but who did so deliberately!

Will Trump do it? Or, it’s not necessary because after all, he will likely be the GOP standard bearer!