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269 to 269: Not just a hypothetical outcome anymore

RealClearPolitics is now projecting Obama with 269 electoral college votes based upon recent polls (See here ).  By their count, Romney has 181 electoral college votes.  RCP only has 7 tossup states:  Florida (29), North Carolina (15), Virginia (13), Missouri (10), Colorado (9), Iowa (6) and Nevada (6) for a total of 88 ECV up for grabs.  But what happens if Romney does run the table in those undecided states, which is certainly a possibility?  The election would be a 269 to 269 tie.  Forget the popular vote, that doesn’t count.  Instead, dust off your Constitution and look at the 12th Amendment.

In the event of an electoral college tie, the Presidency would be decided by the House of Representatives with each state having one vote.  Because the Republicans control an overwhelming majority of state delegations, which is almost certain not to change regardless of the outcome of House elections, Romney would be elected President.

But there is an interesting twist in the 12th Amendment.  The Senate would choose the Vice President, with each Senator having one vote.  That makes it even more urgent for Republicans to win control of the Senate (and hold their collective noses and support Aiken in Missouri).  If Democrats maintain control of the Senate, they would control the election of the Vice President.  And in the event of a 50 – 50 split in the Senate, the incumbent Vice President would, according to the Constitution, cast the tie-breaking vote.  Does anyone believe that Senate Democrats or Joe Biden would do the right thing and vote for Paul Ryan?  I don’t think so.

Friends, it is not outside the realm of possibility that we could end up with Romney – Biden.

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