With the U.S. election just a week away, the polls are tightening and the Clinton versus Trump race is now neck and neck. Is it possible that America is going to see an electoral college tie next Tuesday? What happens if November 8 results in the unthinkable? How does the United States handle an electoral college tie? Has such a thing ever happened before? What could Americans be in store for if a Clinton versus Trump electoral college tie comes to pass?
Clinton under resistance again & Trump breaking out from triangle. Currently a statistical tie with Clinton winning the electoral college. pic.twitter.com/I5KOSue9lD— DJ Thistle (@DJThistle01) November 2, 2016
As the Liberty Conservative reports, the current dynamics of the Clinton versus Trump race could conceivably result in an electoral college tie. In order for a candidate to win the presidency of the United States, they must secure 270 votes in the electoral college, giving them the majority. In total, 538 electoral votes are up for grabs. This means that if both candidates receive 269 electoral votes, we’re looking at a Clinton versus Trump electoral college tie.
While such a thing might sound impossible, electoral college ties have occurred twice before in the course of American history, reports 712Educators. And in notable elections, too.
Prior to the current Clinton versus Trump election cycle, electoral college ties took place in 1800 (Thomas Jefferson versus Aaron Burr) and in 1824 (John Quincy Adams versus Andrew Jackson). In 1800, the presidency was awarded to Thomas Jefferson. In 1824, the presidency was awarded to John Quincy Adams, even though Jackson is reported to have won the popular vote.
So, what happens if Clinton versus Trump results in an electoral college tie? Who decides who wins?
In the case of an electoral college tie, the House of Representatives elects the president. The Senate chooses the vice-president. Which means, if an electoral college tie does come to pass, things are looking pretty good for Trump.
Or are they?
It’s no secret that Paul Ryan isn’t a huge Trump fan. Even with the standing Article II rule that commands that the House vote for their presidential choice “by state,” it is possible that Speaker of the House Ryan won’t be able to force other Republican Senators to back Donald Trump. Remember, Trump’s campaign has flagged for weeks now due to sexual assault scandals and stories related to his interactions with minorities and women.
So, does that mean a Clinton versus Trump electoral college tie could result in a Clinton presidency? That seems even less likely, given the fact that the vast majority of congressional Republicans wouldn’t touch endorse a Hillary Clinton presidency with a ten foot pole. Not to mention that Speaker Ryan has recently pounced on the revamped Clinton email scandal to the extent that he’s demanded that former Secretary of State Clinton lose her access to classified briefings.
BREAKING NEWS → The FBI is reopening its investigation into Secretary Hillary Clinton.— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) October 28, 2016
My full statement ⇩ pic.twitter.com/LHfyg46dWk
So what if 2016’s Clinton versus Trump presidential race results in the House of Representatives being willing to back either Clinton or Trump in the event of an electoral college tie?
As the Hill reports, dark horse candidate Evan McMullin, running as an Independent and throwing a wrench into the presidential race in Utah, could end up winning the presidency. He’d have to start by winning the State of Utah and its six electoral votes. Something that could very plausibly happen; the state has been a three-way toss-up for weeks now, as the overwhelmingly Mormon electorate has rejected both Trump and Clinton and largely thrown their support behind McMullin, a Mormon himself.
If McMullin simply secures Utah’s six electoral votes for himself (and thereby ensures that they go to neither Clinton nor Trump) he’s setting the stage for an electoral college tie, or at least a roadblock to the path to 270 for both Clinton and Trump. If he pulls it off, Donald Trump simply needs to win North Carolina, Florida, and Michigan. Doing so would put Trump at 269 electoral votes and Clinton at 263.
And Evan McMullin at six.
In the event of an electoral tie (or in the event that no candidate wins 270 electoral votes in the general election) the House of Representatives can choose their president from the top three candidates in the electoral college. Because it seems unlikely that either Jill Stein or Gary Johnson will win even one electoral vote between the two, that would put Clinton, Trump, and McMullin in the running.
The Cubs win the World Series, so Clinton and Trump will end up in an electoral college vote tie. You heard it here first— Tony Violi (@cigarmc) November 3, 2016
don't even joke about an electoral vote tie!— Kim Kardafrican (@wstafrican) November 3, 2016
Just feels like, if I were designing the electoral college, I’d have made it so that a two-way tie is impossible.— Mathew Rodriguez (@mathewrodriguez) November 3, 2016
If you really dig into the electoral college, Trump has no chance. He has to win every close swing state and flip Nevada and NH just to tie.— Rory Handyside (@RoryHandyside) November 2, 2016
Of course, a McMullin presidency is a long-shot. More likely would be that the House of Representatives would choose between Clinton and Trump should an electoral tie occur. It’s entirely likely that Utah’s six electoral votes will be won by Donald Trump, leaving McMullin with zero electoral votes and thereby out of the running in the event of an electoral tie.
Yesterday, it was reported that Hillary Clinton has been predicted to win by a landslide according to the Moody’s Analytics Economic Election Model. That model has successfully predicted every presidential outcome since it was introduced in 1980, and according to it’s prediction, Clinton would secure 332 electoral votes versus Trump at 191.
However, only one day later that prediction has tightened considerably. In reality, the tightening of the Clinton versus Trump race can likely be attributed to the recent revamping of the Clinton email scandal, and with a week to go until election day, it’s entirely possible that the tightening race could result in an electoral college tie.
Donald Trump has repeatedly stated that he could only lose the presidency due to voter fraud and a “rigged” election. He’s even recruited an army of volunteer, Trump-loving “election observers” to prevent so-called voter fraud. Trump has refused to promise to accept the election results in the event that he loses. It’s difficult to tell what he might do in the event of an electoral college tie.
Do you think it’s possible that we’re on the cusp of a historic electoral toss-up? What do you think will happen if America is faced with an almost unthinkable Clinton versus Trump electoral college tie?
[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]