WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) is rallying Democrats in the event that neither current President Donald Trump nor challenger Joe Biden wins the 2020 presidential election outright on the basis of Electoral College votes, leaving the task of appointing the nation’s Commander-in-Chief to Congress if the outcome of the election is not decided by January 6, 2021.
Pelosi is informing Democrats that they not only must maintain – or even increase – their majority of Congress, but that they also must win a majority of each state’s delegation, all of which get a single vote to decide the presidential election. Each state’s delegation decides its single vote based upon the internal votes of each member of said delegation.
Currently, Democrats only control 22 state delegations, as opposed to the 26 that are controlled by Republicans. Of the two remaining states not included in those numbers, Pennsylvania’s delegation has a Democrat/Republican tie and Michigan has a one Democrat lead, but with an additional wild card in the form of a single independent who could go either way.
Pelosi has called upon Democrats to increase campaign funding in hotly-contested states, telling members of her party that they “cannot leave anything to chance.”
The idea of Congress being forced to decide a presidential election is fairly obscure; the last time the House was called upon to do so was in 1876. But even President Trump has stated publicly at a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday that he wants to win the election decisively as opposed to having third parties call the outcome, despite the obvious advantage he would have if the current make-up of state delegations remains the same after November 3.
“And I don’t want to end up in the Supreme Court and I don’t want to go back to Congress either, even though we have an advantage if we go back to Congress…does everyone understand that?” Trump said. “I think it’s 26 to 22 or something because it’s counted one vote per state, so we actually have an advantage. Oh, they’re going to be thrilled to hear that.”
Additional factors that could result in Congress being forced to call the race are the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that could lead to mass mail-in votes that could take an excessive amount of time to tally, and Trump’s apparent unwillingness to agree to a peaceful transfer of power should he not win.