The 2016 presidential election season has been anything but normal. Each week seems to bring a new bombshell revelation or major setback for the Democratic party, and almost two months after the Dems nominated Hillary Clinton, a shockingly high number of her former rival’s supporters are still hanging on to the notion that their guy, Bernie Sanders, could still end up behind the desk in the Oval Office in January.
From speculations that Hillary Clinton could end up dropping out of the race over health issues to lingering hopes that the former Secretary of State will end up indicted, some die-hard Sanders supporters are still crossing their fingers that Sanders will end up taking her place as the Democratic nominee. The idea seems far-fetched, but each new WikiLeaks or Guccifer 2.0 revelation reignites their hopes. As the race between Trump and Clinton gets closer, a new possibility has been brought up on social media.
Daily Kos reported that while 43 states allow write-in ballots, only a handful of states count votes for write-in candidates if the actual candidate does not register.
“Vermont, Wyoming, Oregon, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Iowa, Delaware, and Alabama do not require registration.”
Of course, that’s nowhere near enough states to earn a majority of electoral votes, but is there any chance that Sanders could end up in the White House, because just thousands of people wrote him in?
It’s slim, but it could happen in theory. Here’s how it could work.
“A successful candidate must earn more than 50 percent of the electoral votes awarded by individual states on election night — that means 270 votes in total,” the Fiscal Times reported this summer while explaining that it is possible for the electoral votes to become diluted such that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump would get over 50 percent of the electoral votes.
Electoral votes are distributed at the state level, and all but Maine and Nebraska are “winner-takes-all.” If Clinton and Trump were to come close to a tie, and if just one or two states awarded electors to a write-in candidate, no candidate would automatically win the presidency.
According to the Fiscal Times, “In recent history, the only independent candidates to win any electoral votes have generally done so by running what amounted to regional campaigns focused on issues important to a particular constituency.”
If Berniecrats decided to focus all of their energy phone banking, Facebanking, writing letters to the editor, and knocking on doors in a few targeted areas, Sanders could end up winning at least one state, maybe two. Remember, in a mere 48 hours, dedicated Sanders volunteers called about 1.2 percent of all of America last spring.
According to the National Archives, if no candidate wins over 50 percent of the electoral votes, the House of Representatives elects the president by choosing from one of the top three candidates.
To be exceedingly clear, they choose from one of the top three candidates.
If Berniecrats won even one or two states by writing in “Bernie Sanders,” and Trump and Clinton both fell even one electoral vote below the majority, the House of Representatives would have to choose between Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Bernie Sanders.
Think the 2016 election couldn’t get any crazier? There’s a very realistic chance of an Electoral College tie: pic.twitter.com/nX4sVLr7ny
— Dan O’Donnell (@DanODradio) September 15, 2016
Real Clear Politics reported that the current electoral college shows 200 for Clinton and 164 for Trump. The rest (174 electoral votes) are a toss-up. Other speculations show a virtually evenly split electorate.
Of the states that allow write-in candidates without the candidate ever registering, Oregon, New Jersey, Delaware, and Vermont are supporting Hillary Clinton. Wyoming and Alabama are solid for Trump. Iowa is still any one’s guess.
Imagine if #NeverHillary progressives in Wyoming came out in droves to write in Bernie Sanders come November. Hillary could never win Wyoming, but as an Independent, could Sanders?
The liberals of Wyoming might still feel like they have a bone to pick with the DNC after they resoundingly chose Sanders, but thanks to the superdelegate system, Hillary ended up with more of their delegates. Plus, Wyoming isn’t a huge Trump-supporting state. In the caucus, Trump only took 7.2 percent of the Republican vote.
Handing the entirety of the state’s electoral votes to Bernie Sanders instead of to one of the two candidates that they did not choose could feel very satisfying to voters in Wyoming.
Also, Berniecrats could work until the very last moments to win over the people of Wyoming, because the state offers election day registration. Wyoming is overwhelmingly Republican, but as of September, there were only 219,320 registered voters. Berners are just thousands of votes away from turning that Red state Bernie Blue.
Bernie Sanders wins Wyoming but rigged rules give Clinton more Delegates
— Катерина Соболева (@1givemoney) April 13, 2016
Of course, Vermont could deliver Sanders home to the White House too. That could be even easier. That could even happen on accident. Sanders won the Vermont primary with 86 percent of the Democratic vote. After the DNC nominated Hillary, amidst scandal, only about half of Sanders’ Democrats said that they would ever vote for Hillary, according to Vermont Public Radio. Vermonters were even more reluctant to stand behind Clinton after the nomination was cemented than Sanders’ supporters in other areas of the nation were.
Vermonter Edmund Tomey, 84, told Vermont Public Radio, “I can’t vote for Hillary, but I can’t vote for Trump. So, I think I might write in Bernie.”
It’s unlikely that Vermonters would plan a write-in strategy since they are polling as though they are totally “with her,” but Vermonters love their senator, and they wanted him for their president.
If Berniecrats came out in droves, thanks to a grassroots campaigning push, they could steal states from Trump, without reducing Clinton’s electoral vote, and toss Sanders into the mix.
Of course, in doing this, voters would hand the House of Representatives the chance to choose the next president. These representatives seem like the last people in the world to elect Bernie Sanders as president, but the Atlantic reported that these representatives are not happy that Trump could end up in the White House, because if he screws up, he’ll bring down their party. Meanwhile, they seem to continuously try to put Clinton in prison.
Who would they rather work with? Someone they regularly call a disgrace to their party, someone they want in prison, or a seasoned Independent lawmaker who has repeatedly crossed party lines to work with them? Sanders passed more amendments than any other member of Congress during his 16 years in the House, even though for most of that time, there was a Republican majority.
To our representatives (who serve only two-year terms and who know we’re finally paying attention), a President Sanders might seem like the only way out of this frighteningly tumultuous election.
Plausible? Not really.
But very little about Bernie Sanders’ career ever was, until it happened.
Update: The latest results from 270 to Win indicate that Iowa has turned Red, Clinton is at 264 and Trump is at 268. Consequently, if Clinton takes Nevada, she will make it to 270. If the new projections are accurate, both Vermont and Wyoming will be needed to prevent both leading candidates from reaching the requisite 270 electoral votes.