The Corrupt Bargain of 2016
1. The Republicans nominate Trump, the Democrats nominate Hilary.
2. The anti-Trump Republicans run a pair of third party candidates, say Kasich and Cruz. They get on the ballot in Texas, Ohio, and perhaps a few other states where both major party candidates are sufficiently unpopular. They stay off the ballot in any state where their presence might help the stronger of the major party candidates, probably Clinton.
3. They get enough electoral votes so that neither Trump nor Clinton has a majority, which throws the election to Congress. The House chooses the President, the Senate the VP, from among the three leading candidates. Kasich is chosen as President, despite coming in third in both popular and electoral votes, and Cruz, or possibly Trump's running mate, becomes Vice President.
When I described the scenario to my history major son he informed me that it had already happened—almost two hundred years ago. In 1824, Andrew Jackson got forty-one percent of the popular vote, John Quincy Adams got thirty-one percent, with the rest of the votes going to Henry Clay and William Crawford, all four running as candidates of the Democratic-Republican Party. Jackson was looked down on by the more civilized elements of his party, viewed as a lowbrow populist and bully.
Remind you of anyone?
Jackson had a plurality of both popular and electoral votes but no candidate had a majority of electoral votes, so the presidential election went to the House, which chose Adams. Critics claimed that Clay had thrown his support in Congress to Adams in exchange for being offered the position of Secretary of State, widely viewed as making Clay heir to the White House. They labeled it The Corrupt Bargain.
Having had the presidency stolen from him, as he and his supporters saw it, in 1825, Jackson ran again in the next election, this time as the candidate of the (new) Democratic Party. And won.
So maybe it's not such a clever idea after all.