Why Erick Erickson joined the hunt for a third-party alternative to Donald Trump

Erick Erickson, center, talks with fans after closing the RedState Gathering during a tailgate party at the College Football Hall of Fame in August last year. Ben Gray, bgray@ajc.com

Erick Erickson, center, talks with fans after closing the RedState Gathering during a tailgate party at the College Football Hall of Fame in August last year. Ben Gray, bgray@ajc.com

You might want to tune to WSB Radio (750 AM/95.5FM) around five o’clock today.

I just got off the phone with Erick Erickson, who confirmed that, yes, indeed, he is part of an effort to find a third-party alternative to Donald Trump, who edged ever closer to locking up the GOP presidential nomination on Tuesday.

The cabal, as Trump forces might condemn it, will be the topic of Erickson’s broadcast today.

The plan is contingent on Republican officials being unable to broker a Donald Trump/John Kasich ticket going into Cleveland in July. Financial backing exists, but Erickson wouldn’t go into specifics.

The meeting is tomorrow in the D.C. area. The radio provocateur will be conferencing in. “We’ve got a number of people involved. People who you wouldn’t think of getting involved. A number of elected officials are sending representatives,” he said.

Here’s the situation, Erickson said: Exit polling in four swing states last night indicated that 40 percent of Republican voters said they wouldn’t vote for Trump in a general election. “Even if you lowered that to 20 percent, you’d still have a problem and lose the White House,” he said.

Republicans have 24 U.S. senators up for re-election in November, many of them in states lost by Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential contest. (Johnny Isakson is not among those considered vulnerable.) Control of the chamber is at stake.

Several U.S. House seats, not to mention state offices, could be lost as well, Erickson said. “This would be for the down-ballot guys.”

November turnout by Republican voters is the main worry. The idea would be to put a stalwart Republican up as a third-party candidate, in order to give non-Trump Republicans a reason to go to the polls.

Two routes beckon: Establishment of a new party, and going through the process of getting on the ballot in several states (getting on all would be near-impossible); or reaching an agreement with an existing party that already has ballot access. The Constitution Party, for instance.

Erickson said that, even if the effort focused on a single state – Texas perhaps – that might be enough to deprive Hillary Clinton of an electoral college majority. The president would then be chosen by the U.S. House, which presumably would remain in Republican hands.

Which is why former Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been mentioned as a possible rallying point for anti-Trump forces.


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