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Electoral Nightmares

Electoral Nightmares

There’s a nightmare scenario that isn’t being discussed in the media today. And it’s one that is, given the demographic makeup (or breakdown, if you prefer) particular to the 2004 Presidential race, more than possible. So I’m going to explain it here, and reserve an “I told you so,” for later use, but stop short of making this my ‘official prediction.’

The Electoral College is always divided into such a manner that it might result in a tie. In the event of a tie, the Constitution mandates that the House of Representatives choose the president from the top three vote-getters, a clause I’m sure Ralph Nader is more than happy to embrace. I know what you’re thinking, “Oh fun. There are 435 representatives. That makes it fairly easy. Divide 435 by 2 and add one.” But it’s not that simple. Each state gets one vote.

Wait for it.

That’s right. California’s 55 congressional delegates will amass in one corner, vote amongst themselves, and then cast ONE VOTE for the State of California for President. Little Rhode Island will do the same. So it becomes crucial, given the closeness of this election, to look at how the House breaks down right now. There are 25 states controled by Republicans, 21 by Democrats. The remaining four appear to be evenly split between the two parties. So if Kerry were to powerbroker his way into those four votes, the election would still be a tie. Let’s step across the hall to the Senate chambers for a minute and complicate things a bit.

Across the hall, the Senate has just voted for Vice President from the two top-vote-getters. Since there are 54 Republican senators and 46 Democratic senators, Cheney is chosen as the Vice President-Elect. Let’s fast-forward to 11:59 AM, March 3, 2005.

The House of Representatives are again voting. And now, Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) is now the most powerful man in Washington. His vote will either give Bush the Presidency or result in a tie. He casts for–John Forbes Kerry. 25-25. The clock strikes midnight. At that moment, the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court steps into the Oval Office and swears in the Vice President as president.

That’s right. John Kerry or George Bush could win this election’s popular vote but, given the right circumstances, neither man might be president. Dick Cheney could be the next president of the United States. And as such, he would be empowered to appoint whomever he choses for Vice President.

VOTE! Vote now! Vote OFTEN! Because it could happen!