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How Speaker Mike Johnson could help put Donald Trump back in the White House

A third-party candidacy could throw the U.S. into a truly nightmare scenario in 2024.
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., at the Capitol.
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., at the Capitol on Nov. 2.Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images file

We are just months away from the Iowa caucuses and less than a year away from the 2024 presidential election. As we get closer to Election Day, there’s growing attention on how third-party candidates could impact the race. First, let’s take a trip down memory lane to 2016.

Imagine the impact third-party votes could have in next year’s race.

During that election year, third-party candidates collectively won around 4% of the vote in Pennsylvania and 6% of the vote in Michigan and Wisconsin. This accounted for more than 100,000 votes, which was enough to sway the presidential race and hand Donald Trump an Electoral College victory over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Now imagine the impact third-party votes could have in next year’s race. Let’s face it: There are Americans who don’t want to vote for either Republicans or Democrats, and it shows in the data. Gallup recently found that 63% of American adults agree with the statement that the Republican and Democratic parties do “such a poor job” of representing the American people that “a third major party is needed.”

I do not doubt Gallup’s data, but the chance of a third-party candidate winning the presidency in real life remains highly unlikely in 2024. So is a third-party candidate really a threat to President Joe Biden or former President Donald Trump, who remains the Republican frontrunner by a wide margin? Kate Degruyter, senior communications director of Third Way, recently told me about a strategy that the “No Labels” movement could use in order for  Trump to win.

“What we think their new plan is, to try to deny either Biden or Trump a path to 270 votes. If that were to happen, that is likely to trigger the 12th Amendment that would throw the vote of the 2024 election to the House of Representatives. In that crazy scenario, what would happen is the House would vote by delegation. Right now, Republicans control 26 delegations. So that would mean it would win in the most chaotic and dangerous way possible.”

If neither Trump nor Biden gets to 270 electoral votes, then a House majority under the leadership of Republican Speaker Mike Johnson, a chief cheerleader of what unfolded in the lead-up to January 6, 2021, will decide who the next president will be. And if that scenario unfolds, this House will choose Donald Trump, and the Senate will decide the Vice President.

In 2024, every member of the House of Representatives is up for reelection. Voters in 11 states will cast ballots for governor, and control of the Senate will also be decided.

So, tell me again how your vote doesn’t matter? It absolutely does. Your vote is your voice. 

Next year, do you really want Mike Johnson and his Republican colleagues speaking for you?

This is an adapted excerpt from the Nov. 26 episode of “Symone.