Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Electoral eccentricity

An interesting piece in the Washington Times paints a fascinating picture of the possible outcomes of the presidential election should an electoral tie exist -- which apparently isn't that far out.

Imagine this: President Barack Obama with Sarah Palin ending up as his vice president (all because Lieberman and Cheney's tie breaker in the Senate).
Sound impossible? It's not. There are at least a half-dozen plausible ways the election can end in a tie, and at least one very plausible possibility - giving each candidate the states in which they now lead in the polls, only New Hampshire - which went Republican in 2000 and Democratic in 2004, each time by just 1.5 percent - needs to swap to the Republican column to wind up with a 269-269 tie.
That's just one of the scenarios possible with our current system. There "doomsday" thinkers out there who predict constitutional wrangling will put us in a state of paralysis.

The Times is right to bring up the presidential race between Adams and Jefferson, in which Aaron Burr betrayed Jefferson and collected an equal number of electoral votes for himself, deadlocking the electoral college and later congress for dozens of votes in a row. Adams and the Federalists, who were far behind both Burr and Jefferson, finally threw their weight behind Jefferson at the behest of Alexander Hamilton. While Burr did later challenge Hamilton to a dual, it happened a few provocations down the road.

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