Editorials: The electoral train wreck scenario | Martin Frost/Politico.com

Train wrecks don’t happen often in American politics. But there could be one in this presidential election. And if it occurs, it will be big. Consider. The Constitution has a specific provision regarding an Electoral College deadlock. The bottom line is that if no candidate receives a majority — 270 — of the 538 electoral votes, then the next president will be chosen by the House of Representatives, with each state having one vote. It has happened twice in our history — the election of 1800 and then 1824. But given Congress’s current low repute — 9 percent approval rating in one poll — all hell would break loose if the House wound up selecting the next president. This scenario can happen only if there is a viable third-party candidate who wins at least some electoral votes. Most states still decide their electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis, so the third-party candidate would need to win a state or two, and the election would otherwise need to be close.

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