“It will be the thing, I believe, that will formally elect Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States,” — political strategist Steve Bannon.
The final electoral count is pending, a little-known provision of the US Constitution provides an opening for President Trump to win the election via a “contingent election.”
Under the 12th Amendment, in a contingent election if 1 person does not win a majority of Electoral College votes, and the election is down to the House of Representatives. There, each state’s delegation has 1 vote, and a candidate must receive the votes of a majority of state delegations to win.
Because of the timing, the new Congress decides, not the outgoing Congress.
Many if not most state delegations have a majority of delegates who are Republican.
For example, although population-heavy California and New York have large, predominantly Democratic representation in the House, each state would receive just the same, just a single vote.
This would ensure a Republican majority vote in the House for President Trump over rival Joe Biden.
“It will be the thing, I believe, that will formally elect Donald Trump to be the next President of the United States,” political strategist and 2016 Trump campaign CEO said in a TV interview last week.
There were several contingent elections in the 19th Century, the most famous was that fought between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr in Y 1801.
Note: If a state is not able to certify it electors by the deadline, that state’s electors are taken out of the total. The number of electoral votes required to win then becomes not 270 but a lower number: a majority of the total electors certified to the Electoral College.
In a Supreme Court case last term (Chiafalo v. Washington), the court unanimously decided that states could remove or even impose fines on “faithless electors” who do not vote according to how they are pledged to vote.
Not all states have “faithless elector” laws, but those laws would constrain electors who wished to abstain or otherwise not vote for the person who won the popular vote in the Presidential election in the state.
In other cases, electors are constrained by party loyalty or peer pressure, so cases of faithless electors, even from states that do not have faithless elector laws, are very rare.
If a contingent election happens, House members are constrained to choose only from among the Top 3 finishers in the electoral college vote.
No other candidate besides President Trump or Mr. Biden has earned an electoral vote this year.
Under the 12th Amendment, besides the House deciding the Presidency, the Senate selects the Vice President.
These elections are required to be finished by 12 Noon ET on 20 January 2021 for the next President and Vice President to be sworn into office.
If that fails to take place, the Speaker of the House will serve as President until Congress certifies a winner of the Y 2020 Presidential election.
Making and Keeping America Great!
Have a healthy week, Keep the Faith!