WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gave the Democrats a sigh of relief when he congratulated Joe Biden on his electoral college victory. And with the Texas case swiped away by the Supreme Court, it seems a Biden administration is just a matter of course.
Not so fast. The Hill has outlined what they describe as a ‘nightmare scenario’ in which the electoral vote is challenged on Capitol Hill, forcing the state delegations of congress to choose the president.
This is a long shot to be sure, but it’s enough to keep Democrats and The Establishment from breathing easy for a few more weeks. The scenario would require ONE House member and ONE senator to challenge the electoral vote on January 6 when both chambers of congress hold a joint session to certify the electoral college. That would trigger a debate, concluding with a vote to certify or not. Then the presumption is that the House votes to certify Biden’s victory, while the Senate votes against.
If the House and Senate disagree, the tiebreaker would be determined by which slate of electors were approved by the respective governors. Biden wins in that scenario, too.
So where is the ‘nightmare’ for Democrats and The Establishment in which Trump prevails for a second term?
From The Hill:
“[…] what if the Senate never finishes voting? The ECA limits each challenge to no more than two hours of debate. Four states were questioned in the lawsuit (Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania), making four challenges and eight hours of delay. Even in the Senate, eight hours of debate can’t last more than a couple days, can it?
The law envisions the ability to challenge electoral votes collectively or individually. Surely a crafty legal mind like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) would challenge, not each state, but each electoral vote separately. And as a delaying tactic, why wouldn’t the Trumpers challenge every Biden state, even Delaware?
The goal is not to win, the goal is to delay, to prevent the “tiebreaking” provision of the ECA from happening.
Remember, the presiding officer under the ECA is Mike Pence. He can be expected to interpret the rules in a way highly favorable to the Republicans. He can help the GOP delay any resolution until about Jan. 18.
Now comes the endgame maneuver. The Constitution specifies that if there is no Electoral College winner, the Senate chooses the vice president and the House picks the president. The Senate, claiming that there is no Electoral College result, picks Pence. […]”
And who, then, picks the president? The U.S. House.
However, even though Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats control the House Majority, this vote isn’t a simple majority. Instead, they vote by state delegation, and Republicans control more state delegations than Democrats.
In their nightmare’s final scene, the U.S. House delegations throw out the tainted electoral college and pick Donald J. Trump to be President of the United States for a second term.
Is this likely? No. Not at all. Yet, it is enough of a worry that Establishment fixtures are begging GOP senators to pretty please do not challenge the electoral college results on January 6.
Which means, a chance remains. Whether that chance represents a nightmare, or a dream, depends on who you ask.