[Guest Contributor - Donald G. Mutersbaugh Sr.]
This is a fascinating election! The people, the electorate, have basically forced the Establishment element of both parties to actually consider their input during this nomination process. I say that tongue-in-cheek because the people are clamoring, but the Establishment is not listening – and it is beginning to become more evident in both parties that this is true. It is a tragedy that big money has more influence over the process than the entire population of the United States of America.
It is amazing to read the myriad of articles disparaging Donald Trump. People calling him a carnival barker, a performer, hateful, loud mouthed, bigoted – the list goes on and on. The truth of the matter is that the electorate is ready to throw the nonperforming, nonresponsive, professional politicians out of office – and the Establishment is scared and crying like a bunch of babies. The main street media bears a lot of responsibility in this perception. A large majority of the population is having an adverse reaction to the continuous bias of the media who are ignoring journalism and writing opinions masquerading as journalism – and creating an atmosphere of entertainment rather than presenting real-world problems and asking for intelligent solutions. The pre-election season resembles more of a contest than an attempt to cull the nominees by setting criteria and selecting the most qualified candidate.
Poll after poll are presented in an attempt to sway people’s opinions to their candidate. People want to vote for a winner – not a loser. It makes sense except that the polls are so skewed and biased, that it is difficult – if not impossible – to really determine who’s ahead. Take this poll for example: “The study posited that voters, when interviewed by pollsters via telephone, are reluctant to admit their support for a controversial candidate whose critics have painted him as racist. In self-administered online interviews, on the other hand, they will be more likely to admit their support. And that will more likely reflect their eventual decision in the privacy of a voting booth…. Overall, the study found that Trump performs about six percentage points better in online surveys compared with those conducted by phone. In a sample of nearly 3,000 Republican voters, the Morning Consult study found that Trump garnered 38% support with online respondents, 36% with respondents who were robo-called, and 32% among live-interviewed voters.” http://finance.yahoo.com/news/theory-going-around-donald-trump-001457776.html And this was not even an attempt to intentionally misrepresent a poll!
I labeled this article the Fantasy Election for a reason. I’m going to advance a scenario – just for the fun of it! The idea occurred to me when I read this article: “Donald Trump may have eased some Republican fears Tuesday night when he declared his intention to stay inside the party. But if their angst has been temporarily eased at the prospect of what he would do if he loses, they still face a far more troubling, and increasingly plausible, question. What happens to the party if he wins? …This is not the usual rhetoric of intraparty battles, the kind of thing that gets resolved in handshakes under the convention banners. These are stake-in-the-ground positions, strongly suggesting that a Trump nomination would create a fissure within the party as deep and indivisible as any in American political history, driven both by ideology and by questions of personal character. Indeed, it would be a fissure so deep that, if the operatives I talked with are right, Trump running as a Republican could well face a third-party run—from the Republicans themselves.” http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/12/donald-trump-2016-third-party-bid-213449 Can you fathom the arrogance of this action after all of the hoopla surrounding making Trump give a promise that he would not run as a third-party candidate? Unbelievable.
Now, let’s look at the Democratic side of the aisle. What was first thought to be a runaway nomination for Hillary Clinton now looks as if Bernie may not only catch her, but he might beat her! For example: “Did you know that there’s a Democratic presidential primary too? Sure, Hillary Clinton maintains a big lead in national polls and has all the endorsements. Sure, she’s almost certainly going to win the nomination. But if I were running the Clinton campaign, I’d still be a little nervous. Clinton’s lead in Iowa isn’t safe; Bernie Sanders could win the caucuses. And with expectations for her as high as they are, a Clinton loss in Iowa (or even an underwhelming win) would cause her campaign a lot of heartache.” http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/bernie-sanders-can-still-catch-hillary-clinton-in-iowa/
All of the aforementioned was a very small fingernail sketch so that I could present my main theme. What if, on November 8, 2016, the ballot looked like this: Republican Party: Donald Trump; Republican Party, third party candidate: Marco Rubio; Democratic Party: Hillary Clinton; Democratic Party, third-party candidate: Bernie Sanders. Assuming all of the normal constitutional processes have been met, all candidates are registered in every state, etc., what if this became the selection for the American people and what would it mean?
Almost assuredly it would go to the U. S. House of Representatives: “The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President. Your state’s entitled allotment of electors equals the number of members in its Congressional delegation….Most states have a ‘winner-take-all’ system that awards all electors to the winning presidential candidate….After the presidential election, your governor prepares a ‘Certificate of Ascertainment’ listing all of the candidates who ran for President in your state along with the names of their respective electors. The Certificate of Ascertainment also declares the winning presidential candidate in your state and shows which electors will represent your state at the meeting of the electors in December of the election year.” http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/about.html
Now the big question: “What happens if no presidential candidate gets 270 Electoral votes? If no candidate receives a majority of Electoral votes, the House of Representatives elects the President from the 3 Presidential candidates who received the most Electoral votes. Each state delegation has one vote. The Senate would elect the Vice President from the 2 Vice Presidential candidates with the most Electoral votes. Each Senator would cast one vote for Vice President. If the House of Representatives fails to elect a President by Inauguration Day, the Vice-President Elect serves as acting President until the deadlock is resolved in the House.” http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/faq.html#no270
I have called this a Fantasy Election because Bernie Sanders will probably not run as a third-party candidate. What a shame – this could have been a very interesting race! (p.s., I won’t even discuss the possibility of a split-ticket for the vice president!)
Donald G. Mutersbaugh, Sr. earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland and his Master of Business Administration degree from Mary Washington College. He is the former Associate Administrator of Information Resources for the U.S House of Representatives under Speaker Newt Gingrich.