Policy Buzz: What if Election Goes to House of Reps?

lavarr policy insightsWho Would the House Pick? Contested Republican and Democratic conventions in July in Cleveland and Philadelphia would be fascinating to watch. But even wilder and crazier would be the election finally being decided by the U.S. House of Representatives.

It is likely that the 2016 presidential election will be decided by voters in November, and then finalized by the electoral college, as usual.

But some people beg to differ. I went to lunch with my smart neighbor and friend Devin Thorpe last Friday, and he laid out a scenario I hadn’t thought likely. Let’s assume Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton narrowly win the nominations in tumultuous conventions that leave a lot of people unhappy and angry.

What if Mitt Romney, who has been on a crusade to prevent Donald Trump from becoming president, then announces he will run as an independent candidate with Ted Cruz or John Kasich as his running mate. They carefully select a handful of states where they can get on the ballot and win. They win Ohio, perhaps Texas, Utah, and a few other states – enough to prevent Trump or Clinton from getting the 270 electoral votes needed to win.

The election is then thrown to the House of Representatives where each state gets only one vote. The House delegations are required to vote for one of the top-three vote-getters in the electoral college. It’s hard to predict what would happen then, but it would be insane. There would be talk of a constitutional crisis. Various aggrieved parties would be in open rebellion.

This might not be likely, but it’s not unprecedented. The House picked the president in 1800 and 1825 – admittedly a long time ago. It would be a fitting end to the most turbulent election in many decades.

Here’s another reason to be a proud Utahn. Of the top-five anti-Donald Trump counties in the United States, three are in Utah. Way to go Utah!

The Wall Street Journal did a lengthy story about Buchanan County, Virginia, where Donald Trump won 70 percent of the vote, his best showing of any county in America. Along with the story, the Journal published a chart showing Trump’s five best and five worst counties so far in the election. Of Trump’s five worst counties, three are in Utah: Utah County (9.1% for Trump), Cache County (10.4% for Trump) and Davis County (11.3 percent for Trump).  Madison County, Idaho, is Trump’s worst county in the country, giving him only 7.6% of the vote.

News Media Escapades. If you’re interested in the future of the news media, check out this NY Times story. And, I admit it, I clicked on the link to Buzzfeed and watched the watermelon blow up. (Hint: fast-forward to the end.)