What if it’s a tie?

Here’s a chilling thought to ponder.

Suppose the Nov. 6 presidential election ends in an Electoral College tie, with President Obama and Mitt Romney each collecting 269 electoral votes.

Impossible, you say? Highly improbable, but the scenario is beginning to get some play. The election is going to turn on about three or four states. Depending on how Romney does in, say, Ohio, New Hampshire and Iowa, the race might end up in a tie.

Then what? Well, then the selection goes to the U.S. House of Representatives. Yes, that bunch. The Republican-controlled House arguably is among the very worst assemblages of lawmakers in American history. They have exhibited absolute scorn for whatever the Democratic president has sought to do to turn the economy around. The single-digit poll numbers bear out the public’s disgust with that body.

So, let’s call them the Nine Percent Ninnies. These are the individuals who could select the next commander in chief of the world’s mightiest military establishment.

But there’s a sliver of good news here. Each state gets one vote. Under the 12th Amendment to the Constitution, every state is equal. Texas’ vote counts no more than Delaware. The state congressional delegations will decide among themselves who gets that state’s vote. Texas, dominated by Republicans, would cast its vote for Romney.

Something else to ponder: Suppose a state’s voters endorse the candidate of one party, but the congressional delegation is dominated by members of the other candidate’s party. Does the delegation honor the voters’ wishes or does it toe the party line?

The first candidate to win the endorsement of 26 state delegations wins the presidency.

No one wants this to happen. We all prefer a clear winner. The best case would be that one candidate wins the popular and Electoral College vote. But the beauty of our system is that the Constitution provides a solution to whatever confusion might erupt when all the ballots are counted.

I believe it was Winston Churchill who expressed disdain for the democratic system of government while saying it is the best system ever devised. We just might get to see the Old Bulldog’s wisdom play out.

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