Posted 30 days ago
Pelosi begins mustering Democrats for possible House decision on presidency
The speaker sent a letter emphasizing local races, in case a tie in the Electoral College requires state delegations to vote.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has begun mobilizing Democrats for the possibility that neither Joe Biden nor President Donald Trump will win an outright Electoral College victory, a once-in-a-century phenomenon that would send the fate of the presidency to the House of Representatives to decide.
Under that scenario, which hasn’t happened since 1876, every state’s delegation gets a single vote. Who receives that vote is determined by an internal tally of each lawmaker in the delegation. This means the presidency may not be decided by the party that controls the House itself but by the one that controls more state delegations in the chamber. And right now, Republicans control 26 delegations to Democrats’ 22, with Pennsylvania tied and Michigan a 7-6 plurality for Democrats, with a 14th seat held by independent Justin Amash.
A battle inside the House could be brutal, even more politically bare-knuckled than Trump and Senate Republicans pushing through a Supreme Court nominee days before the election. In some states, a single seat could decide the partisan makeup of a delegation. There could be extended legal challenges over declaring victors in House races, as national party leaders and their legal teams dive headlong into the results for individual races at the county or even precinct level.
Pelosi, in a Sunday letter to House Democrats, urged them to consider whether the House might be pulled into deciding who is president when determining where to focus resources on winning seats in November. This could lead to more concerted efforts by Democrats to win in states such as Montana and Alaska — typically Republican turf but where Democrats have been competitive statewide. In these states, Democratic victories could flip an entire delegation with a single upset House victory.
“The Constitution says that a candidate must receive a majority of the state delegations to win,” Pelosi wrote. “We must achieve that majority of delegations or keep the Republicans from doing so.”
Pelosi has also raised the issue repeatedly in recent weeks with her leadership team. Other senior House Democrats told POLITICO they’d heard about these concerns from colleagues in recent weeks.
“We’re trying to win every seat in America, but there are obviously some places where a congressional district is even more important than just getting the member into the U. S. House of Representatives,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a constitutional lawyer.
Trump, too, has taken notice of the obscure constitutional resolution to a deadlocked Electoral College, both in public and private.
“And I don’t want to end up in the Supreme Court and I don’t want to go back to Congress either, even thoug... (Read more)
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