Pundits say that Mr. Trump holds all the cards in the Republican Party. They do not take into consideration the very viable opening for a third party “Mountain Time Zone” strategy that clearly could “stop trump” and involve campaigns in just a handful of MTZ states.
Is Mr. Trump “good” or “bad” for the country? That’s not the point, here. The writer takes no position on this issue, but, rather, explores the underlying premise of pundits who deny the possibility of a successful third party candidacy.
Metric to Measure “Success”: As an academic exercise it is very clear that a “stop Trump” strategy could and probably would work with a careful selection of a handful of very “red” States in the Mountain Time Zone with candidacies of highly respected senior figures of the Party such as Mitt Romney and John McCain. Whether either would make the sacrifice of running a campaign limited their home (or neighboring) states is unclear, but as each is a solid, patriotic citizen, the assumption is made that each would do so.
As outlined in the pdf version of this note, it would be a very realistic scenario that Mr. Trump could be defeated by the Third Party candidate in one or several very “red” states. This may deprive him of any chance for an Electoral College majority, which would then turn the election over to the Republican House of Representatives (where the House would, of course, vote after the election and no Member is a “bound” delegate).