It is now not some wild prognostication that neither Barack Obama or Mitt Romney will hit or go beyond the 270 electoral vote count and win the White House. There is a real possibility that the election could end in a tie- 269-269. This is when the Constitution kicks in.
A tied election throws the choice of president into the House of Representatives where each state has one vote. Since the Republicans dominate the House, it is near certainty ( barring legal challenges and endless posturing) that Mitt Romney will win the presidency.
But what is lost in this Constitutional drama is that the Senate then chooses the Vice-President. Since the Democrats control the Senate, there is a near certainty ( barring legal challenges and endless posturing) that Joe Biden will become the Vice-President.
How’s that for a national political mess! Can you imagine President Romney giving his State of the Union with the cameras pointing to Joe Biden making all sorts of facial contortions? Can you imagine Joe Biden actually running the Senate and breaking any tie votes? Can you imagine Joe Biden becoming in effect a Shadow President going on television, using social media, or employing any means possible to question his bosses policies?
Now John Nance Garner, one of FDR’s VPs once described his position as next in line for the presidency as not worth ” a bucket of warm spit.” A Vice-President has little to do, especially if his boss has no interest in listening to his advice or giving him specific duties. You can be sure in a Romney-Biden White House, ol’Joe will not be an invited contributor to national policy-making.
Saying that, however, if this wild electoral possibility becomes reality, Joe Biden will do whatever he can to make life miserable for his boss, kind of a real guard action or White House guerrilla warfare. Talk about political division; this will be the epitome of political division.
Now this scenario is just that, one possibility that is likely remote. But the fact that such an outcome is even being discussed shows how our odd electoral system can create odd results- a president winning the popular vote and losing the electoral vote and a tie that takes the election into the House and Senate. If this election ends anywhere near what happened in 2000 with hanging chads, lawyers in courtrooms and a popular vote and electoral vote winner or worse yet a tie vote that creates a Romney-Biden White House, this may be the impetus this country needs to scrap the Electoral College.