Is a mail-in vote, replete with potential fraud, not enough to get you nervous about the upcoming election? Well, then we have just the thing for you! How about this scenario: Neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump manage to secure the 270 Electoral College votes they need to win the presidency outright. Under that scenario, which hasn’t transpired since 1876, the selection of our next president would head to the House of Representatives. What fun!
While we ordinarily classify this story as “Politico trying to get clicks with an obscure fantasy about how the election might go,” the fact that this potential situation is being taken seriously by both Nancy Pelosi and President Trump…well, that gives us pause.
And it seems that both are indeed looking at this possibility very seriously, indeed.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has begun mobilizing Democrats for the possibility that neither Joe Biden nor President Donald Trump will win an outright Electoral College victory, a once-in-a-century phenomenon that would send the fate of the presidency to the House of Representatives to decide.
Under that scenario, which hasn’t happened since 1876, every state’s delegation gets a single vote. Who receives that vote is determined by an internal tally of each lawmaker in the delegation. This means the presidency may not be decided by the party that controls the House itself but by the one that controls more state delegations in the chamber. And right now, Republicans control 26 delegations to Democrats’ 22, with Pennsylvania tied and Michigan a 7-6 plurality for Democrats, with a 14th seat held by independent Justin Amash.
Of course, the situation “right now” doesn’t mean a whole lot, since, after all, we’re only weeks away from an election that could turn it all upside down. And that’s what Pelosi is focused on: Trying to shore up those delegations, even if it means diverting money and attention away from close races in other areas of the country.
“The Constitution says that a candidate must receive a majority of the state delegations to win,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to House Democrats on Sunday. “We must achieve that majority of delegations or keep the Republicans from doing so.”
And like we said, it’s on Trump’s mind as well.
“And I don’t want to end up in the Supreme Court and I don’t want to go back to Congress either, even though we have an advantage if we go back to Congress — does everyone understand that?” Trump said at a rally this weekend. “I think it’s 26 to 22 or something because it’s counted one vote per state, so we actually have an advantage. Oh, they’re going to be thrilled to hear that.”
So there you go: The 2020 election could not only be botched with missing ballots and crazy harvesting schemes…it could not only be days or even weeks until we know who actually won…but the whole thing may wind up decided by the House of Representatives!
And with the way this year has been going, we wouldn’t even be surprised.