‘Nightmare scenario’ envisions Trump-Biden electoral and House tie with Pelosi named acting president

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Political observers have begun to warn of a “nightmare scenario” where both President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden receive 269 electoral votes — short of the 270 needed to win outright — and tie again in the House of Representatives.

“Nightmare scenario: this map (which is not at all impossible), the election goes to the House of Representatives, and GOP wins by virtue of each delegation getting a single vote AS A STATE rather than as a total ‘popular’ vote of all House members. h/t @JasonBedrick for the map,” The Federalist columnist Inez Stepman tweeted earlier this week.

The electoral tie is not at all out of the question, considering that two states — Nebraska and Maine — allocate their electoral votes proportionately rather than allowing all of them in a winner-take-all fashion.

If the candidates tie in terms of electoral votes, then the House of Representatives will decide the outcome; each state delegation, regardless of size, gets a single vote to be decided by state legislatures. If the current 26-22 GOP-to-Democrat state legislative ratio remains the same after Nov. 3, then obviously that favors President Trump.

However, state delegates could also tie at 25-25, observers note.

“The founding fathers established the Electoral College in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election by a popular vote of the whole citizenry,” notes an explainer from the state of Alabama.

“It was designed to safeguard against undue influence by small groups and to ensure that states with larger populations did not overpower or overshadow states with smaller populations,” it continues. “If no candidate receives a majority of electoral votes, the House of Representatives elects the President from the three candidates who received the most electoral votes. Each state delegation has one vote. The Senate elects the Vice President from the two vice presidential candidates with the most electoral votes. Each senator casts one vote.”

So, while the GOP has the advantage currently, House and Senate votes do not take place until after the new Congress is seated. Thus, if two state delegations change hands after the election, it’s plausible that there could be another tie in Congress.

“Guys, just saying: if Biden wins Arizona, Wisconsin and Michigan, but Trump wins Pennsylvania, NE2 and ME2, and all the other states voted the way they did in 2016…it’s a 269-269 Electoral College tie,” conservative author and Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro noted.

“Then the election is thrown to the House, where each state gets one vote based on delegation. Right now, Republicans hold the majority. But the electoral college vote happens AFTER the swearing in. If PA and FL flip blue by Congressional delegation, we have a 25-25 tie,” he added on Twitter.

What happens then? Shapiro, who has a law degree from Harvard University, said the House will continue voting until there is a winner. If no winner is chosen by Jan. 20, the constitutional limit of Trump’s four-year term, then the vice president, which the Senate selects, would become acting president.

In the event of a split in the Senate as well, NBC News reports, then according to the Presidential Succession Act, the Speaker of the House — likely Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) if her party retains the majority, would serve as acting president.

If there is no president by March 4, according to the 12th Amendment, then the vice president steps up to serve.

But if a president is eventually selected by the House, not even by the Electoral College, regardless of who wins, Stepman says chaos would ensue around the country.

“Can you imagine the wails about illegitimacy from the left in this scenario? Every city in America would burn,” she wrote. “A final note on this: I want Trump to win it! But only a fool wouldn’t see how bad this scenario would be for a country where legitimacy and faith in institutions is already close to nil.”

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Jon Dougherty

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