James Leroy Wilson's blog

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A McMullin-Pence Administration?

On October 10, the day after the 2nd Trump-Clinton debate, I received this question from from a self-described apolitical friend:
Why haven't the independents taken advantage of this election year and found and  promoted a strong candidate?  It seems like this is such a missed opportunity for them...
Here was my answer:
Nobody thought Trump would win on the Republican side until the ballot access laws in the states made it too hard to form a 3rd party.  The laws also put limits on how much money people can spend on other people, so basically only billionaires (remember Ross Perot) can put up last-minute independent bids. (There are no limits on how much they can personally spend on their own campaign). The only person with the interest & wealth to do that this time around was former NYC Mayor Bloomberg, but he endorsed Mrs. Clinton.  Mark Cuban probably also toyed with the idea, and I wouldn't be surprised to see his name in 2020.
When writing this, little did I know that an Independent candidate may impact the election the way no "third party" run ever has. Evan McMullin, an anti-Trump conservative who announced his candidacy on October 8, has a slight lead in Utah polls -- even though he's on the ballot in only a handful of states (for reasons I explained above). If that lead holds, and if his Utah victory prevents a majority victor in the Electoral College, then...
 the House of Representatives elects the President from the 3 Presidential candidates who received the most Electoral votes. Each state delegation has one vote. The Senate would elect the Vice President from the 2 Vice Presidential candidates with the most Electoral votes. Each Senator would cast one vote for Vice President. If the House of Representatives fails to elect a President by Inauguration Day, the Vice-President Elect serves as acting President until the deadlock is resolved in the House. 
This leaves an opportunity for members of the House, acting as state delegations, to choose McMullin as a compromise President since a majority of the people dislike both Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton. (The Republican Senate, with just two options, would likely choose Trump's running mate Mike Pence.)

Although I'd prefer that it was Gary Johnson who was this spoiler, I would love for the Constitutional process to work even though it selects someone nobody even knows enough about to dislike. Anything to shatter the illusions people have of Presidential campaigns and of the Presidency would be a positive.

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