Et Tu, Kamala?

By Dr. Harold A. Black

It is not inconceivable that the “winner” of the presidential election in November might not become president. The Founding Fathers were fearful of the tyranny of the majority and established the Electoral College. One of the purposes of the College was, along with the Senate, to keep smaller states relevant in the political process. Each state would have two senators regardless of population and the president would be elected by the Electoral College and not by popular vote. The number of electors would be determined by the number of representatives and senators for each state.

I would bet that 99.9 percent of the American population have no idea what the January 6 “insurrection” was all about. Perhaps they think that it was an organized plot to overturn the results of the election of Joe Biden. But how could the results be overturned? Indeed, Donald Trump had been alleging all along that the election was stolen and he has been investigated for inciting the storming of the Capitol on January 6. Because civics is seldom taught in our schools, few realize that the president is not elected in the November election. Rather, the voters vote for electors and the electors vote for the president. The electors form the Electoral College and cast their votes for the president and vice president on the first Monday after the second week in December. The results are sent to the president of the US Senate – who is the vice president of the United States – along with the Archivist of the United States. The “insurrection” took place on January 6 because, on that date, Congress met to certify the winner of the election. Each state announces its votes. Again, the number of votes in each state is equal to the number in its congressional delegation. The vice president as president of the Senate presides over the proceedings. After the vice president announces the results, any member of Congress can object to the results. The Democrats in the House tried unsuccessfully to block the election of George W. Bush in 2001. Democrats also objected in 2005 and 2017 and failed again to overturn the votes of the Electoral College. I don’t recall any of the Democrats being indicted for trying to overturn these elections. Recall that Trump did not want Vice President Pence to certify the results? If Pence had not, then the House and the Senate would vote on whether the objection were valid.

Let us suppose that Trump – like before – loses the popular vote but wins in the Electoral College. When the results go to Congress let us suppose just like in 2001, 2005 and 2017 the Democrats object and call for a vote in Congress and Kamala Harris refuses to certify the results of the Electoral College. What happens next? Here both the House and the Senate will vote as to whether the objection is valid. If they vote differently, the objection fails. But if they both agree that the objection is valid then the House will vote for the president with each representative getting one vote. The Republicans have a very slim majority in the House but the Democrats have the majority in the Senate. It is not inconceivable that the Republicans who squabble amongst themselves more than they govern, might have a few deflections and elect Biden. There would be no doubt that the Democrats would be united in voting for Harris for vice president. On the other hand, if the Republicans hold firm and elect Trump, the Senate might still elect Harris! Can you imagine that? Donald Trump as president with Kamala Harris as his vice president? Some small part of me would love to see it.