#OpDeny270: If The ‘Write-In Bernie Sanders’ Strategy Works, Would The Current GOP House Choose?

A featured opinion write-up in the Baltimore Sun this summer recalled the election of 1800, the Revolution Election, that resulted in a near four-way tie among presidential candidates and the selection of the president by the House of Representatives.

“The same happened in 1824. That process has not been used since,” Rowland E. King wrote, imploring top Republicans to push for a President Gary Johnson. “However, 2016 is the year when it should be used again to solve our present problem with the two candidates who have been elected by their respective conventions.”

Although the Inquisitr also reported on how Gary Johnson, who will be on ballots in all 50 states, could also prevent a Trump or Clinton presidency, Inquisitr’s article on how denying both major candidates 270 electoral votes by writing-in Bernie Sanders this November was significantly more viral than the piece featuring Johnson as the wrench in the gears of the establishment’s plans. Berniecrats it appears, are a bit more intense about Sanders than Libertarians are about their candidate.

To recap, in late September, the Inquisitr explained why, after a rigged primary season, voters might be able to better control the outcome of the presidential election by forcing the decision into the hands of their representatives.

“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.”

In the wake of the Inquisitr article, and many other reports and blog posts on the issue, Berniecrats say that a Bernie Sanders presidency could plausibly be attained through a strategic write-in campaign. They set their goals higher than just taking Wyoming and Vermont, though, as the previous Inquisitr article suggested, so as to not disturb the balance of the electoral votes. Some Berniecrats across the nation are focusing on every state that allows write-in candidates without making them register first, rather than just Vermont and Wyoming.

Interestingly enough, Sanders’ refusal to run as an independent after losing the Democratic nomination in the rigged election and Sanders’ apparent commitment to playing it safe (such that the Democratic platform that he so heavily influenced this year is not risked by a Trump presidency) is precisely why Sanders could be deemed the only respectable choice if the House is forced to choose between Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and America’s most popular politician, the gentleman from Vermont.

Sanders has demonstrated that he is willing to step aside for the sake of the nation even though many online polls indicated this spring and summer that even in a five-way race featuring Sanders, Stein, Johnson, Trump, and Clinton, Sanders would dominate the election. Even though most of his supporters said he was off the hook, given that Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the DNC apparently rigged the election to make sure Clinton prevailed, Sanders still stood behind the agreement he made with Democrats when he decided to break his Independent status in order to run in the Democratic primaries. This shows that his decades in the House and the Senate indeed taught him temperance. He regularly compromised slightly in order to move important legislation forward, even working with conservative GOP leaders. His temperance contrasts starkly against the seemingly ego-driven attitudes of the other two major candidates. This will be an arguing point as #OpDeny270 turns its attention to the House if they are successful in denying both candidates 270 electoral votes.

The biggest risk that #OpDeny270 organizers and participants face is throwing a state in such a way that it helps one candidate get to 270 by splitting the liberal vote. Bernie has said that this is not a time for a protest vote, but leaders of the #OpDeny270 campaign stress that strategic write-in votes are not protest votes. In some states, splitting the liberal vote isn’t a concern, because the strategy is to deny both major candidates the 270 electoral votes they need to win. In Vermont, they plan to deny Clinton three electoral votes. This seems like a safe plan, because even if the liberal registered voters were divided in half, either liberal candidate would still end up with more votes than Trump if voting records are any indication. In Wyoming, write-in voters plan to deny Trump three electoral votes. The goal swings back and forth depending on the state, how well both Trump and Clinton did in their primary elections compared to Bernie in that state, and how deeply red or blue the state is.

Still, in reality, all across the nation, diehard Berniecrats who can write in Bernie, say that fully intend to, with out without a strategy.

Bloomberg reported that in New Hampshire’s nominating election, “Bernie Sanders beat her by more than 22 points, winning just about everywhere in the state, and carrying nearly every demographic group outside the oldest and the richest.”

According to 270 To Win, if the liberal vote in New Hampshire is split, the states’ four electoral votes could swing to Trump. While this might be terrifying to some #AnyBlueWillDo liberals, the election simulation that many of the #OpDeny270 Berniecrats are counting on hinges on Trump taking that state to prevent Clinton from getting to 270 electoral votes. So, even if Bernie write-ins don’t succeed in winning the state of New Hampshire for Senator Sanders, if it maintains the results of the theoretical election simulation and merely denies Clinton a win in that swing state, which could throw her over 270, Berniecrats have still been successful in their strategy.

Still, spreading the campaign too much in some states really could inadvertently swing a state away from the simulation that offers hope of denying the candidates 270. The near tie is a critical part of the strategy.

If the near tie is not maintained, #OpDeny270 will not work.

The near tie is one of the critical parts of the campaign’s efficacy. Many #OpDeny270 supporters are stressing that in non-strategic or riskier states, Bernie supporters can use their votes to help the Green Party get to five percent of the popular vote for better election access in 2020. In reality, though, it’s unlikely anyone could change Bernie voters’ votes, with or without the strategy.

Liberal opponents of the #OpDeny270 campaign say that even if the write-in campaigns are successful, it’s risky to trust the presidential selection process to a Republican majority in the House.

According to the National Archives, on January 6, 2017, “Congress meets in joint session to count the electoral votes,” and if no candidate “wins 270 or more electoral votes, a majority, the 12th Amendment to the Constitution provides for the House of Representatives to decide the Presidential election.”

Many have wondered if the election would be decided by the current house.


See, it’s also important to take a look at the 20th Amendment. According to the 20th Amendment, the terms of senators and representatives end at noon on January 3, “and the terms of their successors shall then begin.” According to the timing explained by the National Archives, the new House will be counting the electoral votes and the new House will be the ones to choose the president, if #OpDeny270’s longshot campaign is successful.

If progressives play their cards right, they could have a host of Bernie supporters in the House, like Tulsi Gabbard, Keith Ellison, Zephyr Teachout, Pramila Jayapal, Peter Welch, Bao Nguyen, and Preston Picus. Electing as many progressives and liberals who are not exclusively loyal to Clinton in both the Senate and the House is, of course, one of the major goals for Berniecrats in this election.

It still seems like a long shot, but a little birdie seems to have told those determined to make #OpDeny270 a success that “if millions stand up, we win.”

In reality, only tens of thousands need to stand up to make #OpDeny270 work, if the election is at a near tie. The question is: Will tens of thousands stand up?

[Featured Image by Gage Skidmore | Flickr]