Party like it's 1824?
In the interest of full disclosure, every one of my 2016 predictions has turned out to be wrong. I have not been this "streaky bad" since Rich Dauer of the Orioles went 1-for-41 to start the 1977 season. Dauer turned it around and became a very good player with the Orioles, who won the A.L. pennant in 1979 and World Series in 1983. I'm hoping the same for my predictions.
I feel good about this one: we will have four candidates in 2016, and the election will go to the House.
Yes, we see new polls that show Mr. Trump beating Mrs. Clinton. He leads in Rasmussen (42-37%) and Fox (45-42%).
Am I the only one who sees that those numbers don't add up to a 100%? In other words, there are a lot of people in those polls who are staying home or have not decided for Trump or Clinton. My guess is that these undecided would go away if there were other choices.
The undecided confirms what Bill Kristol said over the weekend:
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are manifestly among the worst presidential candidates ever to be presented to the American people by their respective parties. Yet our politicians are paralyzed, the donors are uncertain, and the smart set in general looks on with world-weary gaze and looks down with disdainful aspect at those who would like to provide the American people with a better alternative.
The American people know better. A high-quality national poll conducted recently by Data Targeting finds an astonishing 58 percent of the public very dissatisfied (34 percent) or somewhat dissatisfied (24 percent) with the current Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. By contrast, only 9 percent of respondents say they're very satisfied and 21 percent are somewhat satisfied. If you add the 11 percent who are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied or who are unsure to the 58 percent who are dissatisfied, you get 69 percent of the public as a pool from which an independent candidate can prospect. And indeed that's why 65 percent of respondents say in answering another question they are very willing (22 percent), pretty willing (10 percent), or somewhat willing (33 percent) to support someone who's neither the Republican nor the Democratic party's nominee. Furthermore, in a ballot test, when given a choice between Trump, Clinton, and an independent candidate, the independent gets 21 percent support, within hailing range of Trump's 34 percent and Clinton's 31 percent -- which makes it very likely the independent candidate could get into the fall debates with the two major-party nominees. And possible that he or she could go on to win the presidency.
This is why I believe that four candidates will get votes this November. The Green Party will drive Mrs. Clinton down. Another candidate will drive Mr. Trump down.
At the end of the night, no one will reach 270 electoral, votes and it will go to the House.
In 1824, election day ended up like this: Andrew Jackson (99 EVs), John Quincy Adams (84), William H. Crawford (41), and Henry Clay (37). No one got a majority!
In 2016, the election will go to a House likely to be in GOP hands. In the end, the candidate – say, Romney – with the strongest ties to the GOP will win. It could go the other way if the Democrats win the House. Mrs. Clinton would likely win under that scenario.
It sounds as crazy as my prediction that Mr. Trump would not survive the primaries or that Mrs. Clinton would have all wrapped up after New Hampshire.
Finally, a president elected in the House will be sworn in, but it won't be easy. We remember how many Democrats reacted to President Bush after losing the popular vote in 2000.
Buckle your seat belts, because the turbulence of 2016 is really just getting started.