We’re almost done with the endless parade of stupidity that has been the 2012 electoral season. We’re almost done listening to Mitt Romney try very hard to establish the conservative credentials he avoided until sometime in March. We’re almost through with enduring President Barack Obama’s daily litany of disgraceful lying. We’re almost finished watching party flacks wail, corporate media trash spin and self-appointed experts bloviate.
On Tuesday, those of us who have yet to cast our ballots (that’s most of us) will step into polling places nationwide and partake of our still Constitutionally protected right to select the man who, right or wrong, will then become the single most important human being on the planet. In some heavily Democratic districts and selected cemeteries, some of us will partake of that right more than once. Afterward, those ballots will be counted — again, some more than once. The totals will be checked, the absentee and provisional ballot numbers (except for the ones the Democrats have thrown into the nearest convenient storm drain, Great Lake or community activist’s basement) will be tallied, and Ann Romney will begin selecting new drapes for the White House residency.
What I’ve described represents the most likely scenario to unfold over the next 10 days. However, thanks to the magic of the U.S. Constitution, the possibility exists that Election 2012 may well make the George Bush-Al Gore battle of 2000 look like a disputed ballot for homecoming queen.
As of this moment, polling indicates Romney holds a slight lead in the popular vote, but he and Obama are running neck and neck for the Electoral College vote. Although a disparity in the popular and Electoral College results is highly unlikely (such an outcome has occurred only twice), lurking in the ballot booth is an even less common — but even more potentially catastrophic — finale. Romney and Obama could tie.
As is the norm for Presidential elections (they can’t all be Ronald Reagan v. Walter Mondale), neither of the major party candidates is likely to steamroll the other. However, should a couple of swing States fall in a certain way, Romney and Obama actually could wind up with 269 Electoral College votes apiece. For the victims of teachers’ unions, that’s one short of the number needed to forward your mail to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Indeed, the website 270towin.com offers different scenarios, some of which don’t stretch credulity particularly far, in which the swing States from Nevada to New Hampshire split between Romney and Obama and create the worst Constitutional crisis since Obamacare.
Just imagine the fun we would all have. With Romney and Obama splitting the Electoral College down the middle (presuming some elector doesn’t bolt his party, itself the political equivalent of a hand grenade in the proverbial potato salad), the responsibility for electing the next President would immediately fall to the 435 passengers in the Capitol Clown Car: the U.S. House of Representatives.
If one believes the Democrats’ overt threats of murder, rioting and other behavior currently spreading across Twitter and social media outlets like a scorching case of something carried by Lady Gaga and reminiscent of the so-called “Occupiers” (or of Detroit when the Pistons win the NBA title), then the House will convene while the Nation burns. Given the current makeup of the House and the fact that even the most extreme liberal outlets like The New York Times and Dailykos agree that the GOP will keep control of the body through the elections, the House subsequently will proclaim Romney the new President. Following that announcement, the aforementioned Motor City and a host of America’s other garden spots and States will fall into the sort of chaos that normally accompanies a pack of Skittles and what the media calls a “white Hispanic.”
Presuming said unrest doesn’t make the rest of the country look like East St. Louis, Ill., after a Louis Farrakhan speech, we’ll all get to enjoy the second act: the election of the Vice President. That’s right, kids. The House elects the President, and the Senate elects the guy (or gal; we’ll get back to that) who stands next to the Commander in Chief and gazes longingly at “the button.” And the Senate is projected to remain under the thumb of reprobate liar and accused serial farm-animal abuser (that’s what I heard, anyway) Senator Harry Reid and his Democratic do-nothings. Therefore, President Romney would be joined by Vice President Joe Biden. Even the gridlock of the 2006-2008 House under then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi would seem like a meeting of the ladies’ sewing circle compared to the legislative pileup that would ensue.
In actuality, the real outcome of an Electoral College split actually would send us even farther off the deep end. Instead of staying in the Naval Observatory, Biden would join his boss, Obama, at the Michael Dukakis Home for Formerly Relevant Politicians. Biden is a national embarrassment whose invitation to all the cool parties at the White House depends entirely on Obama’s largesse. Once Obama hits the unemployment line, the Senate Democrats would experience no qualms about placing someone less likely to make racist comments about the guys behind the counter at the 7-Eleven, someone more likely to set the stage for a resurgence of Democratic power in Washington, someone like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
With Romney in the Oval Office, Clinton just down the hall, the House controlled by the GOP and the Senate controlled by the Democrats, the pace of business in Washington would likely roll to a pace slower than Al Sharpton running uphill in a hurricane. Scandals would follow scandals with even more frequency than they do currently. Voters nationwide would unite in ubiquitous disgust at the stupendous incompetence of and hyper-partisan quibbling by the people charged with the day-to-day operation of everything from the military to the Federal prison system.
The above scenario is hardly the most likely outcome of next week’s festivities. But it is a possibility — a worst-case result that could plunge the Nation into absolute disarray. However, the long-term blowback from an Electoral College tie between Romney and Obama actually offers a real light at the end of the tunnel. Despite the failure of the two major parties to reach meaningful accord, there was no realistic chance for a third party candidate to legitimately challenge them for the Presidency in 2012.
Four years of a Romney/Clinton “Administration” would not only break the stranglehold in which the current two-party system holds our future, it could even force the Republicans and Democrats to meet in a new battle: the fight to determine who gets to remain one of the two “major” parties and who gets to hang out with the lunatics from the Green Party at the also-rans convention in 2016.