Prop Zero
The Starting Point for Commentary and Coverage of California Politics

How Both Romney and Obama Could Lose the White House

A really close vote could mean the Electoral College picks its own candidate. President Leon Panetta?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Okay...here it goes. You won't find this prediction anywhere else. It comes from my brother, who has served as a county election official and political party activist.

    It is a long shot but considering how close this vote count may be not entirely without foundation. And if it happens it will require a national civics lesson. Quick.

    Let us say that the battleground states split the way we think they will with President Obama winning Ohio. But Iowa and Nevada go to Romney. We have now set the stage for an electoral college tie at 269 apiece (270 is needed for victory)

    By this time most people have figured out that the Constitution sends the election to the House of Representatives (the Senate picks the Vice President). Since it appears the House will remain in GOP control everyone assumes this will result in a President Romney. But wait. The House vote is by state. Victory requires one of the two candidates to win a majority of state delegations.

    There will be a number of states that won't count because their congressional delegations are evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. That means it is quite possible neither candidate will get to the magic number of 26.

    Now it gets really interesting. Under the Constitution the lower chamber of Congress can consider a third candidate. All it takes is one of the Romney or Obama electors to decide to vote for someone else and that third person now becomes the compromise candidate.

    At this point the pressure to find a President will be overwhelming. Neither party will agree to a President who will run for re-election in four years and none will agree to someone viewed as overwhelmingly partisan. Kerry, HRC and Condi Rice are all out.

    So... who do they pick?

    At that point a phone call is made either to the Pentagon or a ranch house in Carmel Valley.

    The compromise is a former Republican, who once worked for Richard Nixon, now a Democrat who has be in charge of everything from the White House, the Office of Management and Budget, the CIA and now the Department of Defense. Oh... and he was also a Congressman.

    President Leon Panetta of California. America's first Italian-American Chief Executive.

    Remember. You heard it here first.