The Very Real Way The Electoral College Could Tie This Year — And How That’s Still A Win For Trump
By most experts predictions, the election of the president this year will be a close affair — and even if it’s not, with a majority of Americans saying they oppose the re-election of President Donald Trump (as they did in 2016), the Electoral College will ensure it’ll be a tighter race than it should be.
In analyzing polling data that was published on Thursday, however, one news reporter discovered that there could be a situation in which the Electoral College ties.
A Quinnipiac University poll looking at people’s attitudes of presidential candidates in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania found that Trump is losing to all six Democratic contenders in the latter two states. In Wisconsin, however, he’s currently ahead of all six, according to the poll, in some cases by wide margins.
— Quinnipiac University Poll (@QuinnipiacPoll) February 20, 2020
That led Steve Kornacki, National Political Correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC, to point out the following scenario…
“If the Dems flip MI and PA and trump holds WI, it would be 270-268 Trump with no other changes. Next best Dem flip possibility would probably be AZ,” Kornacki said.
But another option could happen, he added:
“Or…the single electoral vote from the Omaha district in NE that Trump barely won in ’16. Flip that and not AZ and it’s 269-269.”
If the Dems flip MI and PA and trump holds WI, it would be 270-268 Trump with no other changes. Next best Dem flip possibility would probably be AZ. Or…the single electoral vote from the Omaha district in NE that Trump barely won in '16. Flip that and not AZ and it's 269-269.
— Steve Kornacki (@SteveKornacki) February 20, 2020
In other words, it’d be a tie.
So what happens then? According to the U.S. Constitution, the 12th Amendment provides the remedy for how ties are broken, if a majority isn’t reached within the Electoral College…
“…if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote.”
In other words, each state delegation of Representatives votes for who they want to be president. Each delegation’s choice amounts to one vote. Then, the collective state delegations’ votes are added up, and whoever has the most votes after that wins the presidency.
The numbers could change by the time the Electoral College is set to convene, but presently Republicans are the majority in 26 state delegations, while Democrats are the majority in 22 delegations. Two delegations are tied.
In other words, if this scenario pans out, Trump would win re-election to the presidency in a way that hasn’t been seen implemented since 1824 — when John Quincy Adams was selected to be president over Andrew Jackson, in spite of the latter winning more votes across the nation (by a margin of more than 10 percentage points).
The chances of this happening, however, are still mighty slim, and as stats guru Nate Silver pointed out, a number of other states are in play that Democrats could win, including Florida.
If the above scenario does indeed happen, but the Democratic candidate for president is able to win the Sunshine State — which Hillary Clinton only lost by 1.2 percent in 2016 — then that candidate would win the Electoral College outright, by a margin of 298 to 240.