ABC News reported yesterday that the presidential election in November could result in a tie. They called this possibility the "doomsday scenario." (cue scary music here)
"Given how close it's been in the last couple years, there are some reasonable scenarios that you could get to a tie," said John Fortier, a political scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author of "After the People Vote: A Guide to the Electoral College." "It's not the most likely scenario, but the states can add up that way where you have nobody getting to 270."
Under the sometimes wild and woolly American system of democracy, a presidential candidate must achieve at least 270 votes in the 538-member electoral college to win the White House.
If, for example, Obama wins all the states Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., won in 2004, and picks up Iowa, Nevada and New Mexico, McCain and Obama would each win 269 electoral college votes -- locking the presidential election in a tie.
Yes, that's the frightening scenario that has put ABC News into a tizzy, declaring that it would be Doomsday. Why, we would have to--gasp!--look at the Constitution to see what to do next.
Under the 12th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, if one candidate does not get 270 votes, the decision gets kicked to the House of Representatives, where each state gets a vote -- a formula that would likely guarantee an Obama victory.
So why is ABC News so upset? Their guy would win. They should be hoping for a tie.
The only Doomsday I can see is if the House can't get its act together and ends up in a tie, and then the Senate can't get its act together to select the Vice President, then the normal succession would kick in and put in Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as acting President until either the House or Senate or both figure out how to break the tie.
Which would be the worse Doomsday, Barack Obama or Nancy Pelosi in charge of the country? I can't decide.