Trump nearing a dead end on 5th Avenue
“We are going to be counting ballots for the next two years,” Trump warned at a recent Pennsylvania rally, noting “we have an advantage if we go back to Congress. I think it’s 26 to 22 or something. It’s counted one vote per state. So we actually have an advantage.”
He was referring to the 12th Amendment to the Constitution, which provides that if state electors deadlock or can’t agree on a president, the decision goes to the House. There, each of the nation’s 50 states gets one vote.
That means small Republican-dominated states such as Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming (each with one House member, who’s a Republican) would have the same clout as large Democratic states like California (with 52 House members, 44 of whom are Democrats).
Trump does have the advantage right now: 26 state congressional delegations in the House are now controlled by Republicans, and 22 by Democrats. Two — Pennsylvania and Michigan — are essentially tied.
But he won’t necessarily retain that advantage. The decision would be made by lawmakers elected in November, who will be sworn in on Jan. 3 — three days before they’ll convene to decide the winner of the election.
Which is why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is focusing on races that could tip the balance of state delegations — not just in Pennsylvania and Michigan but any others within reach.
“It’s sad we have to have to plan this way,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to colleagues last month, “but it’s what we must do to ensure the election is not stolen.”
Trump’s 5th Avenue principle has kept him in power despite levels of deprivation, desperation and death that would have doomed the presidencies of anyone else. But as a former New Yorker, he should know that 5th Avenue ends at the Harlem River at 142nd Street, and the end is near.
(Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, is professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of “The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It.”)
© 2020 BY ROBERT REICH; DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.