Some political prognosticators are now predicting that the 2020 presidential race won’t be over on Election Day. Or the next day. Or the next week.
Or maybe — just maybe — by Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2021.
So, what happens then? What happens if the president and vice president are still not officially elected?
Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano laid out a likely scenario — it’d be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“President Trump’s term ends at precisely noon on Jan. 20, 2021. If the Electoral College has not yet named a successor, presumably either Donald Trump or Joe Biden, then whoever is the speaker of the House would become the acting president of the United States,” the judge said last week on Fox News.
“If the Democrats retain their majority in the House, and it appears likely that they will, but if they do, and if they choose Mrs. Pelosi, knowing at that point that they’re choosing the president of the United States, then it would be she.”
“Stated simply, whoever is the sitting speaker of the United States, would become president at noon on Jan. 20, 2021, if the Electoral College has failed to elect someone,” he said. The House speaker is second in the line of succession, after the vice president.
But her tenure might be short-lived. Under a process laid out in the Constitution, if the Electoral College does not cast ballots on who won a presidential election, the matter is decided in the House of Representatives. But it’s not a straight vote by all 435 lawmakers. Instead, each state casts a unified ballot — one state, one vote.
Twenty-seven states have a majority of Republican representatives, 22 have a majority of Democrats, with one state tied. That means that Pelosi might be a temporary president, but if there is never an official outcome, Republicans in the House would eventually pick their candidate: Donald Trump.
“That has happened,” Napolitano said of that scenario. “That’s how Thomas Jefferson was elected the first time around in 1800.”
The 2020 election could well be tossed into flux, in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of Americans may also end up voting my mail, delaying the results.
“A top Democratic data and analytics firm told ‘Axios on HBO’ it’s highly likely that President Trump will appear to have won — potentially in a landslide — on election night, even if he ultimately loses when all the votes are counted,” Axios reported.
Way more Democrats will vote by mail than Republicans, due to fears of the coronavirus, and it will take days if not weeks to tally these. This means Trump, thanks to Republicans doing almost all of their voting in person, could hold big electoral college and popular vote leads on election night….
That is what this group, Hawkfish, which is funded by Michael Bloomberg and also does work for the Democratic National Committee and pro-Biden Super PACs, is warning is a very real, if not foreordained, outcome.
“We are sounding an alarm and saying that this is a very real possibility, that the data is going to show on election night an incredible victory for Donald Trump,” Hawkfish CEO Josh Mendelsohn told Axios.