“FOX NEWS is now reporting Donald Trump to be the winner of the Ohio Primary.”
“CNN can now declare that Donald Trump has won the state of Ohio.”
“CBS can now confirm Donald Trump the winner in Ohio.”
The words are still hanging in the air. The American people click through the channels looking for a commentator who can explain what happens next. This has never happened during our lifetime. In 2000 George W. Bush lost the popular vote, but won the Electoral College. The hanging chads in Florida during that election were confusing enough. Some may remember newspaper headlines declaring “Dewey Defeats Truman,” but once you could get over the fact that the press was overanxious to declare a winner, that election was easy to figure out. Now, here we are in the early morning hours of November 9th. The 2016 Election is over. All the votes have been casts and counted and there is no winner – no candidate has successfully reached the 270 electoral vote milestone.
Shortly after Gary Johnson was declared the winner in New Mexico, the networks tried to find talking heads who could explain what would happen if no candidate hit 270. There was confusion and even ambiguity. Nobody had thought about this in a long time, it seemed.
Two times in our county’s history the Electoral College had failed to produce a winner – 1800 and 1824.
In 1800, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr ended in a tie. The writers of the Constitution had not anticipated the formulation of political parties and to expedite the process of selecting a president, voters in the Electoral College were instructed to vote for two candidates for president. The candidate with the most votes would become president. The candidate with the second most votes would become vice-president.
However, in 1800 Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr ran as a ticket under the banner of the Democratic-Republican Party. The Democratic-Republicans devised a plan where each person would cast their votes for Jefferson and Burr, with one person abstaining on his second vote. The idea was that this would allow Jefferson to finish with one more vote than Burr, and therefore Jefferson would become president and Burr vice-president. The plan was botched, though, and Jefferson and Burr ended in a tie. The election then went to the House of Representatives as defined in the U. S. Constitution. On the 36th ballot in the House, Jefferson was elected the 3rd President of the United States.
After the Election of 1800, the 12th Amendment to the Constitution was passed. The 12th Amendment outlines the procedure to follow if the Electoral College fails to produce a president. The 12th Amendment is the answer to the question of what happens now that it’s November 9th and neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton have won the election.
The 12th Amendment has only come into play one time in American history. In 1824, Andrew Jackson won the popular vote and also finished with the most electoral votes, however he failed to receive the necessary number of electoral votes to win the election. The election then went to the House of Representatives where the House selected the man who had finished second in the Electoral College, John Quincy Adams, to become president of the United States.
That didn’t sit well with Andrew Jackson and his supporters, as you may have guessed.
Now it’s a little past 1:00 AM on November 9th and we are waiting on both Clinton and Trump to address supporters. What will they say?
The talking heads are trying to explain the 12th Amendment. The election of the 45th President of the United States now goes to the newly elected House of Representatives. The 435 men and women who just won election and who will be seated in the House of Representatives on January 3rd are the 435 men and women who will select the next president.
But it’s not that simple. Each state votes by State Delegation. So the fifty-three newly elected representatives from the State of California will vote as a block. The fifty-three representatives from the State of California count as one vote. South Dakota only has one congressional representative. The lone member of the House of Representatives from South Dakota is equal to fifty-three from California. South Dakota gets one vote. It takes 26 votes in the House to become president.
The House can select from and only from any of the top three finishers in the Electoral College, Donald Trump (269 electoral votes), Hillary Clinton (264 electoral votes), and Gary Johnson (five electoral votes).
The panel on FOX NEWS is dissecting the congressional delegations state-by-state with a camera fixed on both Trump’s and Hillary’s campaign headquarters. It’s nearly 1:30 AM, but we are expecting both candidates on stage at any moment.
Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson has already spoken. Just after his win in New Mexico, he appeared before an exuberant crowd in Santa Fe and declared the two-party system in America to be dead. “This changes everything,” he said to tremendous applause. At that moment, Gary Johnson knew he would end the night with only five electoral votes, but he took the stage like a conquering hero. In winning New Mexico Johnson has already done something no other 3rd party candidate has done since 1968 when former Governor George C. Wallace won forty-six electoral votes.
“We will await the voter’s decisions in the remaining states yet to report and if there is no winner tonight, we will fight hard in the coming weeks to make the case that I am most fit and most prepared to be the next President of the United States.”
Those words brought about a thunderous reaction in Santa Fe, but most people at home watching Gary Johnson on TV had no idea what he was talking about. He won New Mexico. It’s five electoral votes. Who cares?
But as one state after another reported it became clearer what Gary Johnson was talking about. The person with the most electoral votes does not win. It takes a majority of electoral votes — 270 to win. With Gary Johnson winning those five measly electoral votes in New Mexico, nobody was going to hit 270.
How had the national media missed this story? For weeks Gary Johnson had been appealing to New Mexico’s voters on the basis of their ability to be spoilers. “Nobody takes us serious,” Johnson would say at campaign rallies in New Mexico, where he spent 16 of the last 21 days before the election. New Mexico ranks 36th out of the 50 states in population. Johnson appealed to their ability to be #1 in power.
“ABC News has learned that Hillary Clinton will not be addressing supporters tonight.”
“NBC News is hearing reports that Donald Trump will not be speaking tonight.”
“We just received a statement from Hillary Clinton’s press secretary. Hillary Clinton will not be making an appearance tonight.”
“Donald Trump will not be addressing supporters tonight.”
It’s nearly two o’clock in the morning now. There’s so much confusion that advisors to both Trump and Hillary have convinced them to not make any remarks. It seems this election will go to the House of Representatives. There’s too much at risk now. Don’t want to possibly say something at this late hour that could offend a House member — a solitary vote necessary to secure the presidency. Best to go to bed and begin working on the House in the morning.
But when Donald Trump learns that Hillary will not speak, he sees an opportunity to have all eyes on him.
While it is approaching 2 AM on the East Coast, it is only 11 PM on the West Coast. People are still awake. People are glued to their televisions trying to figure out what’s going to happen next. Those who’ve already gone to bed, they can wake up in the morning and the first thing they’ll see is Donald Trump making his case. The news channels will play clips of Donald Trump while reading a statement from Hillary’s press secretary.
“Wait, we have just received word that Donald Trump will take the stage in New York City shortly.”
“Donald Trump is now taking the stage in New York City.”
“What a tremendous night and thank you for being here. I can’t believe how many of you have stayed so late. Wow! What a night. It’s two o’clock in the morning, but that’s okay. I have energy. I can stay up until two o’clock in the morning unlike Crooked Hillary who couldn’t take a phone call at three in the morning. Look, we didn’t get to 270 electoral votes tonight, but that’s okay. We’ll get there. I am going to be the next president. We have tremendous friends in the House and they will do the right thing. I know they will do the right thing because we are going to make America great again. That I’ll tell you. We are going to make America great again. The next step is the House and we will win there because we have tremendous friends in the House who want to make America great and they know that Hillary is not going to do that. Look, it’s going to take some time to get where we want to be, but we have come a long way. What a tremendous campaign. So many wonderful people. We won states that nobody thought we could win. We won them. We had huge turnout in states that people said I could never win and we won them. We won them. And I am going to win the presidency that I can tell you. I will be the next President of the United States and I am excited to go to work at making America great again. Thank you.”
“Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has a press conference scheduled for this morning at 11:00 AM in Janesville, Wisconsin, where he easily won re-election last night in Wisconsin’s 1st District. It seems that Ryan will retain his job as Speaker of the House. Republicans maintained control of Congress last night, but he will operate with a slimmer majority due to the loss of some Republican held seats. We’re standing by here at FOX NEWS and will go to Janesville as soon as Speaker Ryan takes the podium.”
The Republicans were not annihilated in the House on election night. In all, the GOP lost a net of thirteen House seats. In the House of Representatives, the election of 2016 did not reveal a colossal shift in American politics. For the most part, Democrats held Democratic seats and Republicans held Republican seats. However, a handful of Republicans could not survive one simple question, “Are you voting for your party’s nominee for President?” It didn’t even matter how they answered the question. The fact that the question was being asked was evidence enough that they were doomed.
Republican Paul Ryan would lead a smaller, though still strong, majority in Congress, with Republicans outnumbering Democrats 234 to 201. Donald Trump has reason to be confident, but more reason than you may yet understand.
“We’re going to Janesville, Wisconsin right now where Speaker Paul Ryan is ready to speak.”
“Good morning. Last night the American people witnessed a truly historic election, and in the coming weeks, the American people will again play witnesses to history. After the election of 1800, our nation’s leaders recognized a flaw in the process for electing the president of the United States. Today, Thomas Jefferson is a revered figure in American history. I have on more than one occasion found myself standing in the rotunda of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington seeking inspiration from this architect of the American ideal. It is little remembered that Thomas Jefferson actually became president after he failed to win the Electoral College outright and that it took 36 ballots in the House of Representatives before he was elected president.”
“After the election of 1800, the 12th Amendment of the Constitution was ratified, which amended the process of how the president is elected and what happens should the Electoral College fail to produce an outright winner, as it did last night. Since the 12th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, it has only been needed one time, and that was almost 200 years ago in the election of 1824.”
“When the Electoral College failed to produce a winner in the election of 1824, the selection of the next president went to the House of Representatives, and the House elected John Quincy Adams as our 6th president.”
“At the beginning of my remarks I said that last night the American people witnessed history. In the coming weeks, the American people will again play witness to history. It’s been 192 years since this has happened. Your parents never experienced this. Your grandparents never experienced this. Your great-grandparents never experienced this. Your children and your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren will likely never experience this.”
“There is a lot of confusion this morning. A lot of people are wondering what happens next. Some people feel lost. We had an election last night that produced no winner, and while we all expected to wake up this morning and know who will be the next President of the United States, that did not happen.”
“But there is no reason to feel lost or confused because the 12th Amendment to the Constitution outlines our exact duties from this moment forward.
On December 19th the Electoral College will meet in all 50 states, along with the District of Columbia, to cast their official ballots for President of the United States. The newly elected Congress — the 115th Congress — will meet on January 6th in a Joint Session of the House and Senate to officially count the votes and ratify the result.
Barring a change in the electoral vote between now and when the Electoral College votes on December 19th, after January 6th the House of Representatives will choose from the top three candidates in the presidential election who will be our next president. The Constitution limits us to these three candidates, and only these three candidates.”
“I would like to congratulate Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Gary Johnson for the campaigns they have run. These are the three candidates the members of the House of Representatives will be able to consider to be our next president.”
“As prescribed in the 12th Amendment, the House will vote by State Delegation with each state counting as one vote. A candidate must receive a majority of votes, meaning that to be elected president a candidate must receive at least twenty-six votes.”
“The next Congress will begin session on January 3rd, and we obviously have a very important item of business on our agenda. This election is a process I promise you we will take very seriously with a clear conscious and a quiet heart before God. As Speaker of the House, I will view it my utmost responsibility to ensure that the process of electing the next president is done so in strict accordance to the Constitution.”
“We will leave it to our colleagues in the Senate to elect the vice-president. The 12th Amendment stipulates that the vice-president be selected from among the top two candidates for vice-president. As is the case in the House, the new Senate will begin session on January 3rd and it will be this newly elected Senate that will select the vice-president.”
“I would ask all Americans to pray for our country, our candidates, and our Congress as move forward in this process together. Thank you.”
“Let’s go to Santa Fe.”
“Shouldn’t we call him first?”
“Call Bill and ask him to make sure they’re ready for us.”
It was unprecedented for a party’s nominee in one presidential election to refuse to support the nominee that followed him just four years later. That’s exactly what happened with this election. Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee for president made no secret of his feelings for Donald Trump.
“Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities. The bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics,” Romney said of Trump in a last ditch effort to sway his party from nominating Trump for the presidency. He called Trump a con man, a fraud. He said a promise from Donald Trump was about as good as a degree from Trump University and accused him of playing the American public for suckers.
Those are some pretty harsh words from a pretty mild mannered guy.
Trump responded by calling Romney a lightweight and the crowds loved him for it.
Now Mitt Romney wants to go to Santa Fe to talk to Gary Johnson.
There were rumors leading up to the election that Romney would endorse Johnson, but the rumors never materialized. Johnson’s vice-presidential running mate, Bill Weld, served as Governor of Massachusetts six years before Romney and campaigned for Romney when he ran for president. “If Bill Weld were at the top of the ticket, it would be very easy for me to vote for Bill Weld for president,” Romney said on CNN in June. Romney spoke favorably of Johnson on numerous occasions, but came short of issuing a formal endorsement.
Romney’s not going to call Gary Johnson first. He wants to get to Santa Fe now. “Call Bill and ask him to make sure they’re ready for us,” is as much as he’s willing to stall. Romney’s staff puts in a call to Governor Bill Weld. “Tell Gary to meet us at the airport.”
Some might say Mitt Romney is a loser. He couldn’t beat John McCain to win the Republican nomination in 2008 and he wasn’t even close to beating Barack Obama in 2012. Still, about 60 million people voted for him. That’s a lot more people than have voted for Gary Johnson.
It’s Wednesday morning after the election and Johnson, like Clinton, has so far been silent. Cable news shows are showing Trump’s election night speech over and over again. Hillary Clinton is scheduled to speak in the afternoon, but the pundits are starting to paint a gloomy picture of her path to the presidency.
Hillary Clinton has 264 electoral votes, just five fewer than Donald Trump, but still six votes short of winning the presidency. She is leading in the popular vote, however, and received roughly six million more votes than Donald Trump. She did not win a majority of the popular vote, as Hillary finished with only 41 percent of the popular vote. Donald Trump finished with 38 percent and Gary Johnson pulled in 20 percent. At 20 percent Johnson bests all third party candidates since the Civil War except that of former President Theodore Roosevelt when he ran under the Progressive “Bull Moose” banner in 1912.
Still, Hillary wouldn’t be the first Clinton to win the presidency with less than a majority of the popular vote. Her own husband Bill Clinton was elected in 1992 with only 43 percent of the popular vote.
While 41 percent is less than a mandate, her bigger problem lies in the House of Representatives. The 115th Congress that will select the 45th president has 33 more Republicans than Democrats. That’s bad news for Clinton, but what’s even worse is that Republicans control the state delegations in multiple states that she won.
Virginia, for example, is a state that Clinton won, but of the nine congressional representatives from Virginia five are Republicans. Clinton won Pennsylvania, but Pennsylvania has eleven Republicans and seven Democrats in its House delegation. These are two states that she won that will likely vote against her in the House.
Pundits point out that Republicans outnumber Democrats in 31 states. Democrats hold the advantage in only 17 states. In two states Republicans and Democrats are divided equally. If it takes 26 votes in the House to be elected president, what states does she hope to win? How does she get to 26? What Republican members of Congress does she hope to sway? Republican members of Congress know that if they vote for Hillary Clinton for president, they will never win re-election; they’ll be opposed, and will lose, in a primary. How does Hillary keep Donald Trump from winning on a first ballot in the House of Representatives, which is exactly what will happen if the state delegations in the House vote among party lines?
Meanwhile, across the country Romney’s plane touches down in Santa Fe. News cameras from all over the world are fixed on Mitt Romney and Gary Johnson as they shake hands and Romney turns to address the press.
“My friend Bill Weld has told me many good things about Governor Johnson. I look forward to sitting down with him and getting to know him better.”
“Last night we won 20 percent of the popular vote,” Johnson says. “I’m grateful to the many Americans who supported our campaign and our effort to destroy the two-party system. I want to thank the voters of New Mexico for changing the electoral map in a very big way. We are on the verge of making history, and I want to thank Governor Romney for coming down here to Santa Fe to talk with me. We have some big things to discuss.”
Reporters shout questions, but both Romney and Johnson shrug them off as if it’s just the two of them alone for a walk in the park. They walk to a black Suburban, get in the back, and drive off into the desert.