Saturday, November 3, 2012

Will Obama win the Electoral College but lose the popular vote?

Mercifully, the presidential race comes to a close on Tuesday. All the pontificating will end, and most of us will go back to living normal lives without candidates trying to convince us how great they are. However, this experience has included more than candidates.
For example:  Polls. I am sick of polls. Each day, several organizations release polls telling us how the race is going in various states and across the nation as a whole. It is all a bunch of noise to me because news organizations rarely release information about the methodology used to create these polls. Still, the possibilities indicated by them are intriguing.
Perhaps the most fascinating possibility is the chance one candidate will win the popular vote and the other the Electoral College. To be elected president, a candidate must win 270 votes in the Electoral College. In a sense, it does not matter who wins the popular vote because 270 is the magic number.
Because of Mitt Romney's popularity throughout a big chunk of the country, some pundits are floating the real possibility that he could win the popular vote, but President Obama still win the Electoral College.
Our country is incredibly polarized when it comes to politics, and if this happens, the roof might blow off. However, we must not forget that this very scenario happened only 12 years ago.
Tennessee's Al Gore won the popular vote, but George W. Bush won the electoral vote and became president. Democrats cried foul, and the climax of the election was unique to be sure because of the problems in Florida.
Those poor folks in Florida demonstrated how easy it is to mess up an election. Because of their errors, many claimed the presidency was stolen from Gore. However, this was not the case. The bitter irony for Gore is that he would have won if he had simply won his home state.
In the aftermath of all that, there were cries from a lot of people to do away with the Electoral College and elect the president by popular vote. Of course, most of the people who said that were Democrats upset about the election while Republicans steadfastly defended the current system.
However, if Romney won the popular vote but lost the election, there would be a complete role reversal. Democrats would get the White House while Republicans would be on the outside looking in. Do we really believe Republicans would go gently into that good night?
Not hardly. I am sure many of them would cry just as loudly as Democrats did in 2000. Some of the Democrats would be in the awkward position of supporting a process some denounced only a decade ago.
In addition to this, there is one other possibility that is even spicier. Apparently, there is at least one scenario in which Obama and Romney could tie with 269 electoral votes each. In this case, the House of Representatives would select the president and the Senate would choose the vice president.
Because of the parties that control those bodies, Romney would likely be selected president and Joe Biden vice president.
This may not reflect well on me, but I would love to see this scenario play out. After the shrillness of the campaign, it would be a fitting way to bring it all to a close. Both sides have beaten the other to a bloody pulp the last few months. This has occurred to the great annoyance of many citizens.
What better way for election night to end with neither candidate being able to say they won? I think it would be tremendously symbolic, but then again, not all people like to live through history being made.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's an intriguing possibility, but I don't see it happening. I think Obama will win by a more comfortable margin than anticipated. Early voting has been heavy in many areas and that usually benefits Democrats. Obama will also win Ohio and may pull out Florida and Virginia. Obama wins.