Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Scariest Halloween Story – Ever

With Halloween coming up, it’s tempting to visualize a scary scenario where Sarah Palin glides into the White House without winning the popular or even the electoral vote.

There’s a better than even chance that Sarah Palin will capture the Republican nomination in 2012.  After she abruptly quit her job as governor, she has been criss-crossing the country raising funds, acting as the Godmother of the party and supporting those candidates who drink the Tea Party Kool Aid.  Her almost inevitable nomination would set up an Obama-Palin race.  Yet, there are those who would find neither candidate to their liking.  Independents and the ever-vanishing sane wing of the GOP might think Palin too unqualified and Obama too much of a disappointment for their tastes.  Enter the ambitious and über-rich Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg could finance his own campaign and could conceivably capture some electoral votes from Palin or Obama.  All he needs to do is carry one or two states in a close election to result in no candidate receiving a majority in the Electoral College.  It’s even possible that he could win some electoral votes from the two states which allocate their electors proportionally.

So what happens in a scenario where neither Obama nor Palin receive enough electoral votes to win?  The decision is made by the House of Representatives.  And by all the punditry spewing across the airwaves, internet tubes, and in dead tree media, the Republicans are poised to take the House.  In this situation, each state casts ONE vote for a presidential candidate, so the sparsely populated Alaska has the same clout as highly populated California.  With a GOP majority in the House, the outcome from an Electoral College deadlock could be a President-elect Palin, even if she loses the popular vote and has fewer electoral votes than Barack Obama.

Happy Halloween!


  1. By 2012, The National Popular Vote bill could guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Elections wouldn’t be about winning states. Every vote would be counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

    The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes–that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Article II, section 1 of the Constitution, stipulates that in the event of no candidate getting at least 270 electoral college votes, the House of Representatives decides who will be president.
    With National Popular Vote this would never happen, because the compact always represents a bloc consisting of a majority of the electoral votes. Thus, an election for President would never be thrown into the House of Representatives (with each state casting one vote) and an election for Vice President would never be thrown into the Senate (with each Senator casting one vote).

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. Support for a national popular vote is strong in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: Colorado—68%, Iowa—75%, Michigan—73%, Missouri—70%, New Hampshire—69%, Nevada—72%, New Mexico—76%, North Carolina—74%, Ohio—70%, Pennsylvania—78%, Virginia—74%, and Wisconsin—71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Alaska—70%, DC —76%, Delaware—75%, Maine—77%, Nebraska—74%, New Hampshire—69%, Nevada—72%, New Mexico—76%, Rhode Island—74%, and Vermont—75%; in Southern and border states: Arkansas—80%, Kentucky—80%, Mississippi—77%, Missouri—70%, North Carolina—74%, and Virginia—74%; and in other states polled: California—70%, Connecticut—74% , Massachusetts—73%, Minnesota—75%, New York—79%, Washington—77%, and West Virginia- 81%.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in Arkansas (6), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), The District of Columbia (3), Maine (4), Michigan (17), Nevada (5), New Mexico (5), New York (31), North Carolina (15), and Oregon (7), and both houses in California (55), Colorado (9), Hawaii (4), Illinois (21), New Jersey (15), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (12), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), and Washington (11). The bill has been enacted by the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington. These seven states possess 76 electoral votes—28% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.


  2. Do you not believe in attribution? I thought this was all a product of your vivid imagination, but now I see that this scenario was lifted in its entirety from an article by John Heileman in New York Magazine.

    I haven't compared the dates - I apologize if Heileman got the idea from deciminyan.

  3. I did not see the article, but I'm glad Mr. Heileman and I think alike.