Deep Underground with Raul Groom

Friday, October 15, 2004

Also, I was intrigued when Tim Russert said after the debate that he had been running electoral college scenarios and once had it come out 269-269. This was plausible a couple of months ago, when there were as many as 20 states you could have said were in play. But is it really true now? I was skeptical. But actually, having done the numbers myself, it's really not far-fetched at all.

In fact, if you give Bush every state west of the Mississippi except California, Oregon, and Washington (giving Bush credit for two deals he hasn't closed but ought to, in Nevada and New Mexico), give Bush the entire South except Florida (a plausible but not inevitable result), let him have Missouri, Iowa, Ohio and West Virginia in the Midwest, and give him a mild upset win in Wisconsin, Bush winds up with, you guessed it, 269 electoral votes.

So here's an even weirder possibility - if two guys wind up on November 3rd with 269 Electoral Votes, the thing is supposed to go to the House of Representatives. But wait a minute - there's a measure on the Colorado ballot that would give almost half of its Electoral Votes to Kerry (Bush took Colorado in this scenario) and propel him to the Presidency. So then of course you would have a situation where the Supreme Court would have to strike down the Colorado law (ironically, in this case, they would have solid legal footing in doing so), but this time, instead of actually granting Bush the presidency outright, they would simply be throwing the contest to the House of Representatives, which will definitely be controlled by Republicans.

Here's the kicker - in the scenarion outlined above, note that Kerry would have won three of the four really populous states in the Union. That's New York, California, and Florida, with Bush winning Texas. It's almost impossible to envision Bush winning the popular vote in this instance.

So the question becomes, can the House Republicans really get away with electing a president who, not once but twice, lost the popular vote, not once but twice needed a Supreme Court decision to prevent his opponent's electoral college victory, and who would thus become the only President in history to be elected by the House of Representatives?

Of course, that's a world of fantasy. The final result probably won't look anything like that. However, you can easily see that other than the loss in Florida, the above scenario is actually a virtual Bush sweep. In other words, without Florida, Bush once again has almost no chance of assuming the presidency.

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