The Lid: Anti-Trump Forces Working Against The Clock

Image: Trump arrives to speak to the media at Pease International Trade Port
Donald Trump arrives to speak to the media at Pease International Trade Port on April 27, 2011 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Trump is testing the waters for a possible run for the Republican Presidential nomination, and addressed US President Barack Obama's release of his original birth certificate earlier that morning.Matthew Cavanaugh / Getty Images

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By Carrie Dann and Andrew Rafferty

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… With Republican officials saying in droves that they’ll skip the Republican National Convention, the hot ticket of the year is increasingly looking like kind of a bust. Which is in keeping with the city’s unofficial motto: “Cleveland: We weather disappointment gracefully!”

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‘16 from 30,000

The anti-Trump factions of the GOP are quickly running out of time. That’s because even if a Ben Sasse or Mitt Romney-type decides to challenge the presumptive GOP nominee, they already missed a deadline in the crucial state of Texas. An independent candidate needed about 80,000 signatures by Monday to appear on the ballot in the Lone Star State. They’ll need about 90,000 to meet the next ballot deadline in the battleground state of North Carolina. Independent presidential candidates face monumental challenges, and a Republican conceding Texas’ 38 electoral votes would make winning the White House nearly impossible.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean chatter about an non-Trump challenger is futile. Speculation will continue as long as high-profile conservatives keep tweeting about it and holding meetings. And most understand that a challenger would be extremely unlikely to get enough support to gain the 270 electoral votes to win the White House. But, a strong challenger may be able to gain enough to ensure Trump doesn’t win, and -- in the most favorable scenario to anti-Trump factions -- maybe even take enough away from Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton that she doesn’t hit 270 either. In that case, the currently GOP-controlled House would choose the next president from the three top candidates. (Remember, Michael Bloomberg didn’t run as an independent for fear this would happen and Congress would elect Trump.) But, “House of Cards” scenarios aside, today’s deadline in Texas should be a sobering reminder to all of us about the very tough challenges an independent candidate would face.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

  • Anti-Donald Trump Republicans hoping to get an alternative on the presidential ballot this November are quickly running out of time, one of us writes.
  • Trump tapped Chris Christie to lead his White House transition team.
  • Ari Melber explores whether Donald Trump could block Paul Ryan from chairing the convention.
  • Here’s MSNBC’s running list of Republicans speaking out against Trump.
  • And here’s what some of the most talked about potential Trump VP picks are up to.

FOR THE RECORD…

“You should congratulate me for having won the race. I thought, you know, at least there’d be a small congratulations."

- Donald Trump, answering the first question of an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo

TOMORROW’S SKED

Sanders holds a rallies in Stockton, California and Salem, Oregon.

Hillary Clinton campaigns in Kentucky.