What if no candidate has a majority of electors in the GE?

the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; -- The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and 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; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. [And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. --]* The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

This is the first election in modern times that this may become a possibility. If Trump runs as an independent and/or Bernie runs as an independent then it is quite possible that the three or four candidates will split the electoral vote to the point that no one has a majority. I believe that both Bernie and Trump have the ability to take whole states and their electors.

The mechanism for resolution is a majority vote in the House, but where each state has one single vote. Note that the electors are simply sent home. I would project that the main-stream Republican candidate would win, given their large majority in the House and majority in the Senate. Suppose the following scenario. The Republican convention is deadlocked and selects Paul Ryan as their candidate. Trump does as he says and runs as an independent. No candidate gets a simple majority in the electoral college. The House meets according to the rules and selects Ryan as President.

If I am correct about this, then Ryan becomes president without having won one single Primary nor a majority of votes in the electoral college.

Although I think that this scenario is a possibility, I don't think that it will happen. I think that Trump will be the GOP's nominee and I think that Bernie will beat him as the obvious anti-Trump candidate. Bernie is honest, visionary, and driven by public service, Trump is, well, an ego trip, nearly devoid of coherent policy and dishonest as hell.

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and I actually think this is exactly what's gonna happen. I think Trump won't win the nomination and will run as a third party candidate. I think Cruz will be the Republican nominee. I think if Hillary wins the Democratic nomination, she will not get the necessary 50% of electoral votes and the decision will go to the House of Representatives who will give us a Republican president, probably Ryan.

This is why I think we've got to do everything we can to get Bernie the nomination. I think he's the only candidate who can get over 50% of the electoral college in a general election. This is a huge challenge, both for the party nomination and for the general election. It's worth fighting for.

PS Most Americans are entirely unaware that this scenario could even take place. We as a people are largely uneducated as to how our system works.

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I pledge allegiance to liberty and justice for all. Period.

TheOtherMaven's picture

Even if the House resurrects the obsolete 1824 procedures and abides by them, it only gets three choices: Trump, Clinton, or Cruz. They must by Constitutional law choose from among the three candidates with the most votes, and can narrow it down to two if they want (if the third candidate is trailing far behind).

I don't think they'll go through all that rigmarole, however - I think they'll find "disputed" votes and make an excuse for the Supreme Court to decide. Again. For the third time. (One Supreme Court vote was the deciding factor in 1876 and in 2000.)

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TheOtherMaven's picture

The House entire declined to vote on Tilden v. Hayes, and selected a panel (five Senators, five Representatives, and five Supreme Court justices) to determine which set of disputed votes from each of four states (yes, Florida was one of them) should count. The decision, along strictly party lines, awarded the Presidency to Hayes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_1876

The 1876 mess, by the way, is probably what gave the Supreme Court the idea that it could unilaterally decide the 2000 election.

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thrownstone's picture

Wow...the stuff I don't know. This was apparently resolved by "The Compromise of 1877" in which the Democrats traded the White House (won by 52% of the popular vote) for the return of states' rights and marked the first time that the Republicans obtained political advantage by selling the Southern blacks down the river. The second time, of course, is within living memory.

"That section has been null and void since 1876": do you mean that is has been removed by amendment? Can't find that. If that's what they did then couldn't they do something else now? Perhaps this time they might, in their collective wisdom, assign it to caucus99percent to decide? We should start a petition drive immediately...

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“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” Voltaire

TheOtherMaven's picture

Nobody's going to go to all that Constitutional bother when more expedient procedures have already been used twice.

And since having the Supreme Court make the decision was more expedient and gave more immediate results than the 1876 panel decision, expect them to go that route again. Even though they said "this doesn't set any precedents".

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thrownstone's picture

Can't see them agreeing to anything like that when they can't agree to rename a post office. Well, at least we don't have to do the petition now.

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“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” Voltaire

about a third party run by either Her Drumpf or Bernie brought this issue to mind a few times. I didn't think it was worth bringing up until that possibility became more likely. I don't know if this is that time or not. I do think it is well within the realm of consideration for Republicans as it is more likely to benefit their choice. I say more likely because I have no idea what mayhem might be possible from the crazies in the Freedumb Caucus. Regardless, this election has constitutional crisis written in bold letters waiting in the wings. I also don't think there is any reliable way to game the outcome due to all of the moving parts flying around in different directions. Calling it a massive fluster cluck might be grossly understated.

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The problem with this scenario is that in a Clinton/Trump/Ryan election it is rather likely that Clinton would get an electoral majority since with the GOP vote split she won't have to do all that well to get a plurality. She'll carry the deep blue states with a majority and get pluralities in the "swing" states: with winner-take-all the usual rule in the states, she'll probably take it in a landslide making her look like she actually has a mandate.

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TheOtherMaven's picture

The "vice-president" section was de facto nulled (though never officially repealed) when the election procedure was changed to require a tandem slate (i.e. President and Vice-President on the same ticket).

The deadline has also been unofficially moved up from March 4 to January 20 (FDR did that, and everyone since can curse him for having to cope with winter inaugurations). That is why the supreme Court rushed in when it did in 2000 - because the decision "had" to be made "now".

In the hypothetical scenario given by The Wizard, the three top contenders are Clinton (D), Cruz (R), and Trump ($). Nobody else is eligible, because of the mandated cutoff at three. I think Wiz was assuming a Cruz-Ryan ticket and a total clusterfuck, but that may have been one assumption too many.

Other scenarios can of course be constructed, but they should involve logical probabilities.

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...the Republicans nominate.

IMEABO, it's a "what". All three of the names you mentioned are massive catastrophes, and how massive each as a catastrophe is depends on how many seats the Democrats manage to seize back in both House and Senate.

But make no distinction about it. All three aren't "whom"s. They are all three"what"s and IMO all three spell the end of this country, the Constitution which allegedly makes this country and possibly the planet.

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