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09 April 2016


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505th PIR

Was just thinking of such a scenario! For Bernie's "political revolution" to truly succeed, his ideals would have to be represented by a subsantial block of supporters being elected to congress. In a way, the scenario you just described could be the fastest path to the "PR" becoming a reality. My, my wouldn't that be something!


Ave! True to Trump Caesar!


Very unlikely, especially for Sanders. I just don't see him torpedoing Clinton like that (and he'd know exactly what it would mean). We heard the same thing in 2008, plenty of Clinton supporters said they wouldn't vote for Obama - but they did.

I doubt Trump would do it either, very low chance of success for third parties. No third party candidate has received over 25% of the vote since Teddy Roosevelt. But if it does go to the House, say hello to President Cruz. Also say hello to Democrats using every trick the Republicans have used over the past 8 years to stymie any legislation or appointments.



If the polls in New York, California and the North East are accurate then Trump will likely get over the threshold of delegates. The question is will the Republican establishment try and steal the nomination in Cleveland?

I think the hurdle to get on all the state ballots as an independent is rather formidable and maybe time is already running out.

Sanders has to win NY to have any chance. Of course, swaying the super delegates who have all been bought by Hillary will be another challenge.

My personal nightmare is the Borg queen winning and then having to live with Bill & Hill back in the White House. The neocons and Wall St are going all in on her.


Which House of Representatives resolves the question. The current lame-duck one, or the just elected and not seated until January?

William R. Cumming

P.L.! Thanks for clarity of your post. And your question!

"Could we end up with something like that again?" IMO YES and almost foreordained by both the actions and numbers of Republican and Democratic candidates.

And also IMO the current House membership votes if it comes to that not the 115th Congress that takes office in January 2017!


And the Supreme Court might well have an even number of judges. It could get even more interesting.


Wow. Thank you for the article. That was peace of the election machine I wasn't aware of. So in theory a Democrat could get 49% a Republican 1% and the Republican controlled House could make the Republican president. Of course if the House was asked to pick the next President they would choose to vote on repealing Obamacare instead so it isn't that big of a worry. But wow what a messy system.

Out of curiosity do they have to pick from the candidates or could they put Jeb or Mitt in as president instead?

different clue

To my knowledge, if a name is "written in" on a ballot, it is perhaps noted but not counted as a casted vote. Am I wrong about that? Because if that is correct, then a massive write-in campaign for Sanders would merely have a passive default effect of those votes not being actually counted for anyone.

Whatever the Sanders people do, one hopes they vote downticket. Since Forced Free Trade Agreements are very important to me ( in terms of opposing and rejecting them), my downticket approach would be to for whichever downticket choices seemed most aggressively anti Forced Free Trade Agreements.
That means if an Economic Nationalist Democrat were running I would vote for that Democrat. If a Free Trade Borgocrat were running against a Free Trade Republican, I would vote some Third Party or other. If a Free Trade Borgocrat were running against a Tea Party anti-FreeTrade Economic Nationalist, I would vote for the Tea Partier.

If millions of Sanders supporters thought in terms of spending the next twenty years single-issue targetting their votes for the removal of Free Trade Borgocrats from office and then from the Democratic Party, they (we) might finally force the evolution of Congress in a direction where some kind of pale washed-out version of New Deal Revivalism becomes possible.

Bill Herschel

"This is a very indirect system of elections and IMO it reflects the distrust felt by the framers of the US Constitution for what they would have thought of as the "mob.""

Like the composition of the Senate, the Electoral College was devised to protect the institution of slavery. I believe that is the historical consensus.


Could the Congress settle on an outsider, not one of the candidates who had campaigned?


Bill Herschel

Whose historical consensus? People in the deep North? at the time in which the US Constitution was ratified very few whites cared anything about Black slavery including in the North where it was widely legal and practiced. Among Blacks the possibility of emancipation could then be hardly be imagined. the aristocrats who wrote the Constitution sought to avoid a democracy in which the masses might seize control and bring on something like the chaos of the French Revolution. As for the US Senate it is perfectly clear that the Great Compromise was necessary to the agreement of the smaller states to union with the larger. pl



I don't know for sure but it seems to me that the House could elect any constitutionally qualified person. I do not want the job. pl

ex-PFC Chuck

In response to W R Cummings, Brave New World and others:

Implicit in your comments is the assumptions that the House members vote individually, just as they do on legislation. This is not the case! Here is the pertinent text from Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution:

"if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice."

One state, one vote. Each state's House delegation must negotiate among themselves for whom to their state's vote. Thus citizens of small population states are over-represented in this process. California, with 3 million people it has this week as the same clout as Wyoming and its half million.

ex-PFC Chuck

As I read a part of Article II, Section 1 that precedes the one I quoted in response to comments by W R Cummings and BraveNewWorld, the House can only choose one of the top five candidates who were contesting the office in the Electoral College.

scott s.

The votes of the electors "appointed" in such Manner as the Legislature of Each State "may direct" were historically opened by joint session of Congress on the 2d Wed of Feb. After the passage of the XXth Amendment, which moved the start of congressional terms back to 3 Jan, Congress passed a law (48 Stat. 879) in 1934 which moved the date for opening the electoral votes to 6 Jan (after the new congress has convened). This was re-codified as Title 3 of the U.S.C. as Section 15 by an Act of 25 Jan 1948 (62 Stat. 672).

Note that in case of "no majority" the House, acting as states votes for Pres from the top 3 (26 state delegations needed to win) while the Senate votes for VP from just the top 2 (51 votes needed to win).

In 1876 the main battle was over the appointment of competing lists of electors (who gave different votes) and the question of the qualification of electors (no Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States). Due to a bargain that was made between the Republican Congress and Territorial Legislature of Colorado, the Congress agreed to admit Colorado as a state, provided that in the 1876 canvass, the legislature would appoint the electors which resulted in the 3 electors voting for Hayes. (It can also be noted that until Reconstruction, South Carolina's legislature solely appointed its electors.) The wrangling in Congress over what the "correct" electoral college vote was would continue until 4 AM on 2 Mar. Hayes and Wheeler were certified elected by a majority vote of 185 to 184.

There have been claims of a bargain between congressional Republicans and southern Democrats that would allow the decision on electors to be made in favor of Hayes, in return for ending Reconstruction, but a careful examination of the decision timeline doesn't support this theory. Certainly overtures were made on this basis though.

scott s.

No. Top 3 for Pres, top 2 for VP.

scott s.

I also note that the Progressive Movement, from the late 1880s wanted to reduce or eliminate the role or power of parties. States adopted the "Australian" ballot in the early 1890s, which give states control over who could appear on ballots, state control over the mechanics of distributing ballots, and "secret" voting. Then in the early 1900s they adopted popular "primaries" as a means of determining who party candidates would be, and the direct election of Senators.



OK. I stand corrected on the 3/2 thing but if it is thought necessary to change this arrangement of voting by state in the House for president or in the matter of the Great Compromise that gives each state two senators then IMO the states should be allowed to leave the Union if their agreed on rights are to be reduced. pl

Trey N

No, the Colonel has it right. The framers distrusted the "common people" and devised both the electoral college and the senate to minimize their ability to directly affect government affairs (senators were originally selected by state legislatures, not direct vote of the citizens -- that was changed in 1913 by ratification of the 17th Amendment to the US Constition).

The composition of the Senate itself was a result of the Great Compromise, which provided for a house granting equal representation to both small and large states. It had nothing to do with slavery.

The 3/5 Compromise allowed Southern states to count three of every five slaves as citizens in determining political representation in the House of Representatives. That was the main clause concerning slavery in the structure of the new federal government.

The issue of the importance of the Senate and slavery arose as the
northern population rapidly grew much larger than that of the South. Having lost power in the House of Representatives, the Southern states depended on maintaining a balance of free and slave states in the Senate and on vetoes by friendly Presidents to protect their interests in Washington DC.

In the Compromise of 1850 the Southern states foolishly gave up the Senate balance (by granting statehood to California) in return for an unenforcible Fugitive Slave Law. That's why the election of 1860 precipitated the War for Southern Independence in 1861: Lincoln was a minority-elected president who was not friendly to the South and could not be relied up to protect Southern interests with a presidential veto. Southern states had no means left to protect their interests on national issues, of which slavery was the most important, but by no means the only one.



Yup, and as I recall it was the northern states that wanted no representation based on the number of slaves. The southern states wanted them fully counted and the 3/5th was a compromise. Different subject - what happens if an election is held for president in the House and none of the three gets 26 state votes? pl


Not so, in the 1972 election Rodger MacBride, a Virginia electoral college elector cast his vote for John Hospers for President and Tony Nathan--a female--for Vice-President. Both of these were the Libertarian Party candidates for President and Vice-President.

Trey N

You are correct about the compromise.

Good question, pl, and I don't have a clue. My main interest in constitutional issues arises out their impact on the events leading up to "the late unpleasantness." I'll be interested to see how the constitutional scholars here answer that query.

Bill Herschel

As you know, I believe the Civil War was a mistake. At the end of the war, 50% of African-Americans in Richmond were emancipated. As the cities grew in importance slavery was dying. What was achieved with the Civil War, basically a history of institutionalized racism in the South (the Celtics refused to play in the South in the 50's if their players were denied equal access to accommodation, etc.) was not worth 600,000 dead. Not close. This view is unbelievably controversial, but those who oppose it are entirely too cavalier with the lives of 100's of thousands of young men. I suppose that what I'm trying to say is that the electoral college and the composition of the Senate are ridiculous from my point of view (institutionalized disenfranchisement in the "Greatest Democracy on Earth"), but I don't really care what the historical precedent for it was.


One of the reasons why the Founders' distrusted the 'majority' & that only white male property owners could vote is that before gov-funded public school education was established in the US circa mid-1800s,
marriage license records show that 50% of males & 60% of females in the US were so illiterate that they couldn't even read nor write thier own name & just signed witn an 'X' --this legacy is why we still have an 'X' on the signature line of legal documents

Statistics also show in countries/regions that have no gov-funded public education such as some African nations & some rural regions of Afghan & Pakistan, the illiteracy rates are also about 60%-70% (this is also why Saudi-funded Wahhbism/madrasas can easily brainwash & indoctrinate jihadists because the illiterate population are taught revisionist history, false narratives
believes whatever the clerics/maddrasas say & can't fact-check them from outside sources)

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