In 2000, Democrat
Instead of going to bed at a decent hour the other night, I got hooked running numbers with an interactive electoral map of the United States on the
Just eight states are in play. Some combination of wins in New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada will determine which candidate captures the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
What is fun about the interactive map is that it allows a person to click on the swing states and change them from neutral gray to Romney red or Obama blue. Different combinations give sharply different results, of course. For instance, Obama could lose seven of the eight swing states, but, were he to carry Florida, he would win the election. In any scenario, Romney needs to capture no fewer than five of the swing states to get to the
As I put together different combinations, I had in mind that
It was a completely plausible split and the result was a shock: 269 electoral votes each for Obama and Romney. A tie!
As those of you who paid attention in social studies class will remember, if no candidate achieves 270 electoral votes, the decision is thrown to the newly elected
Each state vote is decided by the state congressional delegations. In the current Congress, Republicans hold the majority in 33 delegations, Democrats hold 16 and one state, Minnesota, has a split delegation. Unless there is a dramatic movement toward Democrats in the 2012 congressional elections, Republicans will still control the most delegations in the next Congress.
That means an electoral college tie puts Romney in the White House. But the news is not necessarily as good for his running mate,
Throw in the distinct possibility that Obama, like Gore in 2000, could win the popular vote, and you've got a real nightmare of democracy: An incumbent president favored by a majority of the people gets tossed out by Congress and the new president gets saddled with a vice president from the opposition party.