I know that the readership of this blog isn’t likely to need an explanation of what happens if the Electoral College ties. We know that it goes to the House of Representatives. But what about the actual votes from the House; how many folks have sat around discussing that aspect? I’ll be honest and say I haven’t really thought about it. The default thinking is that if the House is controlled by the GOP, they will vote for Romney. Of course, it’s not quite that simple…
Nonetheless, the fact remains that there are so many different ways to reach a tie that it behooves both sides to start dossiers on every House member to figure if any of them might be moved, under certain circumstances, to vote against their party, or to abstain. In the House, the vote is done not by individual member, but by state delegation. A state like Minnesota, with four Republicans and four Democrats, would presumably vote “present” unless a member didn’t vote for his/her own party’s nominee. By my armchair projections, Romney would probably win the support of about 28 delegations (26 are needed to win) — but several of those delegations would be by one-vote margins, meaning that if my projection is slightly off, or if a Member could be convinced to switch parties or to abstain, the margin would be even smaller.
How could this happen? Well, imagine a 269-269 Electoral College tie, but with Obama building up such large margins in populous states like New York and California that he wins a clear popular-vote margin. Cue the Occupy movement to protest in favor of the House voting to ratify the popular vote rather than by party. Cue the media to overwhelmingly push that same notion. Now look at a few GOP House members who won by only narrow margins, but in districts carried by Obama, where the media message would be that they have a duty to vote with the majority of their constituents. Obviously, all of this could get very dicey indeed.
Looking at your state, how do you think they could vote if it did result in a House vote?
For Pennsylvania, we’ll have 18 Congressmen. Five of those will absolutely be Democrats. One more will very likely be a Democrat. Six are safe for the Republicans, with five likely to lean that way. One is a GOP seat right now, but a true toss-up. I would say that Romney will have a solid lead in enough of the GOP districts that he’ll come out okay even with the Philly media going nuts over how it’s just not fair that we have to follow that stupid Constitution and the stupid election laws that allow those stupid Republicans to even have a vote.
UPDATE: And Dave Adams of VSSA has posted about how Virginia’s delegation could possibly vote if the presidential race went to the House. He outlines legitimate ways in which it could be 6-5 in either direction.