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Electoral College
  • Plausible World-Ending Electoral College Scenarios

    Electoral College 269-269 Scenario

    As my colleague Dennis DiClaudio frequently notes, the universe is a cold and unforgiving place, indifferent to our plans and desires.

    Certainly, that's the impression I get when human impersonator Mitt Romney has a double-digit lead in nationwide polls over his Republican opponents/broadly-sketched comic book villains. An Obama versus Romney general election? Boring!

    But rarely is the question asked, what if this ho-hum electoral match-up were actually part of an inexorable march toward the destruction of all civilization? Consider this: A contest between a well-funded, relatively sane challenger and an incumbent president presiding over poor macroeconomic performance is bound to be highly competitive. In fact, there are a number of plausible scenarios in which the electoral college vote would resolve in a 269-269 tie. For example, were Obama to maintain New Mexico, Colorado and Virginia in his column, while Romney captured New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Nevada, and North Carolina, the electoral college would prove to be pretty stupid for a college and produce no winner.

    Fortunately, the Founding Fathers, who art in heaven, created a rational and foolproof resolution to this easily foreseen event.

    Just kidding! In the event that neither candidates receives at least 270 electoral votes, the election will be thrown to the incoming members of the House of Representatives, who will vote by state-delegation, with each state allotted one vote. Consider then, that the generic congressional ballot is currently producing a near-tie between Democrats and Republicans. And that precedents from the elections of 1800 and 1824 suggest split state delegations would not be allowed to cast "half-votes." Instead, states evenly divided between Democratic and Republican Members of Congress would be forced to abstain, possibly denying any candidate a 26-state majority necessary for victory.

    Good job, Article II and 12th Amendment! Now we have no President.

    A presidential vacancy would be filled by the Vice President, but it would be up to the incoming Senate to decide who that Vice President would be. A Republican majority might well give us Acting President Michelle Bachmanm or Rick Perry, so that's one way to bring upon the End Times. Alternatively, an evenly divided Senate may not produce a majority either, especially since it's unclear if the outgoing President of the Senate — Joe Biden — would be allowed to cast a tie-breaking vote.

    Technically, the Speaker of the House would be next in line for the presidency, but prominent legal scholars have concluded that "the best reading of the Constitution's text, history, and structure excludes federal legislators from the line of presidential succession." More likely, the country would by this point would have degenerated into an anarchic hellscape, where a typical day is spent hoarding gold ingots and polishing one's rifle collection. Or, as Ron Paul supporters call it, Tuesday.

    Sleep tight, everyone!

    (Image via 270 to Win)

    Tags: Barack Obama, Constitution, Electoral College, Mitt Romney
  • Mitch McConnell Warns Americans About Dangers of Voting

    Remember the 2000 election? You know, the one where we actually voted for Al Gore, but the Supreme Court picked George W. Bush instead, setting into motion an irrevocable series of events culminating in two decade-long wars and a crippling recession.

    Wouldn't it be great if that never happened again? Apparently not

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) attacked a proposal to switch to a national popular vote for presidential elections during a speech at the Heritage Foundation today.

    McConnell and six Republican secretaries of state discussed the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPV), a proposed plan for using a popular vote in presidential elections…

    Rather than embracing the NPV as a way to solidify the Constitution's guarantee of “one man, one vote,” McConnell lambasted the plan, calling it a "genuine threat to our country." Though McConnell admitted that the notion of a popular presidential vote where the candidate who receives the most votes wins is "appealing," he called the idea "absurd and dangerous."

    It's true. The popular vote can be very dangerous. Just think of that clear November day in 1984 when Kentucky voters, blissfully unaware of the hellish nightmare that awaited them, went to the polls and ended up with Mitch McConnell as their senator.

    In presidential elections, some people's votes simply count more than others. I mean, if their votes weren't weighted three times as much as those of people in New York or California, Wyoming residents would have literally nothing else going on in their lives.

    The right to vote is a privilege, not a right. It’s meant for cowboys and old people scared of change, excitement and the hip-hop music.

    Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Al Gore, Electoral College, George W. Bush, Mitch McConnell, Senate
  • The Electoral College Is Kinda Dumb for Being a College

    If the Electoral College never really made much sense to you, there's a pretty good reason for that…

    If you're looking for a little more basic information on the non-functioning of the Electoral College, check out C.G.P. Grey's also-excellent companion video How the Electoral College Works after the jump…

    Read More »

    Tags: Constitution, Electoral College
  • From the Pork Barrel: Cleaving Pennsylvania

    * Pennsylvania Republicans might split up Pennsylvania's electoral votes. Outrage! Scandal and outrage! Especially since Democrats thought of it first.

    * Democrats allow Republicans to steal "American Jobs Act" name. "This Is How We Lose Act" still available, however.

    * Barack Obama to America: "If you love me you've got to help me pass this bill."

    * America to Obama: "We think it's best if we see other presidents."

    Tags: Barack Obama, Colorado, Democrats, Electoral College, Pennsylvania, Polls, Pork Barrel, Republicans, Unemployment
  • How Have We All Been So Very Wrong About Michele Bachman and Ron Paul?

    I know that, in the past, I have been somewhat critical of Reps. Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul. I know that I have accused them of using mindless theatrics and/or short-sighted ideologies — like, for example, their crusades warn Americans of the dire consequences of filling out the U.S. census form. — to stir up their bases to no real and useful end.

    Well, I am not too proud to admit when I am wrong, and I have been very, very wrong about these two

    According to the data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas is running well behind the national averages on getting their census forms filled out and turned in. And no, its not the African-Americans and Latinos we historically undercount due to non-participation, Rather, it’s the protestors who have listened to people like Bachmann and Paul to their own, distinct determent…

    Currently, about 34% of the nation's citizens have filed their census report. Clearly, these Texas communities – along with the entire state (only 27% of all Texans have filed) – are falling well below the national average.

    So, it's now looking like Texas may lose the chance to gain four additional congressional seats (not to mention electoral votes) in areas that are most likely to succumb to federalphobia (i.e. the most fiercely Republican ones), and it's due, in large part, to the tireless efforts of Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul.

    You know, if we only had a hundred more congresspeople like Bachmann and Paul… We'd probably have no congresspeople like Bachmann and Paul.

    Tags: Census, Electoral College, House of Representatives, Michele Bachmann, Minnesota, Ron Paul, Texas