If the polls are to be believed (and they shouldn’t), the political landscape the day after the election will probably look similar to the day before, and things will likely carry on much as it has for the past four years. However, there are some variables that these polls don’t take into account, and I don’t just mean the weather.
For instance, millions of people left without a voice will surely make an impact and no one knows just how effective the voter suppression laws introduced by state Republicans will play out. With the polls already being fairly tight, these new factors bring an unprecedented amount of uncertainty. So I’m not going to guess what will happen, but I will discuss the insane possibilities.
Everyone remembers what happened in 2000 when Governor Jeb Bush and his secretary of state Katherine Harris disenfranchised tens of thousands of black voters in Florida. It created a tight race that would eventually be decided by the Supreme Court stopping the ensuing recount which meant that Jeb’s brother George had won by a few hundred votes.
This time around the same scenario is conceivable; Florida again has a Republican governor (Rick Scott) dedicated to suppressing the minority vote and the Supreme Court still leans to the right. The big difference in 2012 lies in the amount of swing states trying to mirror the sunshine state. Who knows whether Florida or another state taking similar steps might be the epicenter.
In order to win the presidency, a candidate requires 270 electoral college votes, in other words, half plus one of the 538 available. Given the close race, it is conceivable, however unlikely, that neither candidate will acquire the magic number. Given the political landscape, it is thinkable that the candidates could end up tied at 269 each.
In the event of a tie, the presidency is decided by the House of Representatives. The house which is currently controlled by the Republicans and is expected to retain their majority after November 6th would therefore name Mitt Romney as president.
The Senate which is currently controlled by Democrats would be tasked with naming the vice-president. Assuming the Senate retains their Democratic majority, Joe Biden would become Mitt Romney’s vice-president. Stranger still, if the Senate ends up going 50/50, Joe Biden as the current vice-president would be the deciding vote to re-elect himself for the position.
Recipe for Hate
One of the more frightening scenarios I can see unfolding (other than the Republicans controlling everything) would be Barack Obama getting re-elected by receiving the most electoral votes and Mitt Romney winning the popular vote.
This would follow in the footsteps of the 2000 election where Bush became president even though Gore received more individual votes. Democrats weren’t happy, but they never overreacted, imagine for a second what would happen if history repeated itself for the other side.
The extremist wing of the GOP with the help of their conservative pundits and television network would instantly brand Obama as an illegitimate president. If you think that’s far-fetched, just look at the lengths they’ve gone to about his place of birth and religion.
Although a certain percentage of Republicans have believed in Obama’s illegitimacy for years, it wouldn’t take much to convince the rest of the conservative base that Obama is a false leader who actually lost to Romney. The hate would build up so fast with every comment out of Limbaugh, Beck or Fox News’s mouth to the point where gun-toting lunatics everywhere might decide to right the wrong themselves and do something drastic… again.
Whatever happens on evening of Nov. 6 I will be expecting the unexpected. Strange things always seem to happen in a close race. Still, I’m sure none of these preposterous scenarios will come to fruition. Obama will get re-elected with majorities in the Senate and the House and every American will live happily ever after… until November 7th.