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What happens if there’s a tie in 2012?

In 2012 there will be a US presidential election using a new distribution of the electoral college. This will use the population data of the current US census. After last night’s elections, there has been a dramatic change in what happens if the Democrat and Republican candidates end up with a tie (for example 269 votes each).

Short answer is that, assuming the politicians stick to their party, the Republicans win the presidency, but the Senate would pick a Democrat for Vice President. Details at my election blog.

[Update: correction made from comments, thanks Lone Ranger!]

23 comments to What happens if there’s a tie in 2012?

  • A Merkin

    Many state houses went Republican. Redistricting begins next year. So by 2012 Republicans could possibly increase their gains in the Senate. So a newly seated Senate in Jan 2013 could be run by Republicans.

  • Curmudgeon Geographer

    Redistricting doesn’t affect the Senate in the least. Each state gets two senators. Period. Redistricting affects where the boundaries of each House district runs. Some states use the corruptable “design-by-politicians-in-power” method, when those states have a majority in the state legislature at the decade-redrawing based on the Census, then the political party controlling that state’s legislature gets to draw the lines for its advantage. We get grotesquely arranged gerrymandered districts.

    Far more of those states now have GOP majority legislatures than in past redistricting.

    To reduce the corrupting influence, I prefer states to have the districts drawn without the influence of those who are advantaged directly. But it is what it is so best use it as it is until it can be changed.

  • JC

    And redistricting helps a party win Senate seats how? 🙂


  • Lone Ranger

    You need to reword your article by mentioning that – in the proposed scenario – the Democrats pick the VICE PRESIDENT. You forgot to include the name of the office.

  • Laird

    Redistricting doesn’t affect the selection of Senators, as has already been commented upon. However, it can (and probably will) result in an increase in the number of Republican Representatives, since after Tuesday’s elections Republicans will control more of the state mechanisms for drawing the new congressional district lines. Moreover (and, I think, more importantly), after the 2010 census the allocation of Representatives among the states will be adjusted, and in all probability the overall mix will shift away from liberal states (which are losing population) and toward more conservative states. This will increase the influence of those conservative states, and since most states use a “winner-take-all” method of casting their electoral college votes it will reduce the possibility of a tie in the electoral college. Frankly, that’s not an outcome I’m planning to lose any sleep over.

  • Nuke Gray

    Actually, hung Parliaments can be fun! We have such a Parliament now. We had some Independents in the House of Reps, and they eventually sided with the Labor Party, probably so we could have our first female Prime minister. And our first Redhead Prime Minister!
    You can bet on the outcome, and everything! I won a freddo bar!!!

  • Paul Marks

    There will not be a tie in 2012.

    The Republicans will win the Presidential election by a landslide.

    The House will be more (not less) Republican than it is now.

    And the Senate will be overwhelmingly Republican.

    It will all be by bigger margins than 1952 – 1954.

    Having made these predictions (and they are my settled convictions – I have been thinking about this for quite some time) I will now make an medical appointment for a CAT scan and so on.

    Such radical optimism (from me) is a possible indication of a brain tumor.

  • the overall mix will shift away from liberal states (which are losing population) and toward more conservative states

    What about Californication?

    A (somewhat) OT question: has anyone seen a comparison between voter-participation figures in these elections and in the previous mid-term? I am wondering because of this analysis.

  • John B

    I wonder. The sad thing about Joe Public is what an elastic mind he has.
    Truth seems to be mainly irrelevant to most people (until such times that the pain of socialist hell, or other deception, begin to bite), their minds comfortably fed by their favourite media.
    We are all very brain-washable as I see it from my own experience.
    The only effective way to resist it is to take bearings every so often, and see how much I have drifted.
    Further taking into account that my initial point of reference is usually obscured by MSM, popular opinion, etc, that that point never actually happened, or if it did, it’s different to what I think I remember.
    It’s that ever-changing meta-context.
    The impact of this election will be lost in two years time.
    Hopefully truth will still be in the ascendency.
    But one thing one cannot accuse the opposition of, is bad timing.
    They fight to win at those difficult, decisive moments of history. Not to just sound encouraging in the slack moments.

  • Thanks for the comments.

    Paul, you *do* need an MRI scan if you think you can get one in time… Lol.

    Lone Ranger, thanks for correction.

    ‘Californication’ exactly: no kids. In fact, this could be the first time California LOSES electoral college votes. Texas, meanwhile, could pick up FOUR extra (as many as Maine or Hawaii have). Only guesses for now but Florida could overtake New York state etc.

    Thanks for the link: looking into it.

    Thanks everyone who cleared up the Senate point.

  • Paul: Two years is a long time. You do not know what is going to happen between now and then.

  • Antoine, on Californication: the no-kids factor is a real one, but not between now and 2012 – it is much more long-term than that. What I’m talking about is what Sunfish, for example, knows of all too well: residents of liberal states (such as CA) moving to conservative states (such as CO) to escape the direct and unavoidable economic consequences of their own liberal voting. As opposed to the procreation factor, this one is sure to be felt in two-years time – in fact, I think it is being felt already.

  • Oh, and if anyone is interested, I seem to have found the answer to my OT question. So far it looks like this election turnout is mostly similar to the previous mid-term, which adds validity to the WSJO article I linked to.

  • Paul Marks has the right of it, and also a clear head.
    The soundtrack of the Progressive Era is all disco.
    The presence of the internet means that small amounts of pointy-headed people will have diminishing opportunity to micro-manage the lives of others.
    Notwithstanding the excellent Daniel Hannan, the girls in Brussels need to grok this truth.

  • Owinok

    Paul, have you considered the probability of all your forecasts coming true? However, good luck to the brave forecasters. Who knew two years ago that there would even be something called a Tea Party? if you knew then, I will take your prediction very seriously.

  • Kim du Toit

    “residents of liberal states (such as CA) moving to conservative states (such as CO) to escape the direct and unavoidable economic consequences of their own liberal voting.”

    The problem is not that Californians escape California — the problem is that when they settle in their new state, they start voting in precisely the same manner as they used to, thus allowing the same cancer to take place in their new domicile.

    It’s not just Californians, either: New Hamphire is almost Massachusetts Lite, and Virginia and N. Carolina are becoming New York Lite.

  • EvilDave

    Sadly true Kim. Shame we can’t restrict immigration from these contagion states.
    With the modern electoral college voting it is impossible to get a tie (in the Constitutional sense).
    FL in 2000 was a tie. But it was not a tie of the Electoral College. It was a state level tie, and they had no way to break that tie.
    Instead of getting tossed to the Congress (as an Elec’ Col’ tie would have) the state tie had to be broken ad hoc by the courts (with the FL Supreme State court trying to piss the SCOTUS off as much as possible.)

  • Paul Marks

    “You do not know what we will happen between now and then” – two years is a long time.

    Yes I do.

    California is going to go down the toilet for a start (which will mean that it will be a dreadful example – and even the brainwashed products of its schools and universities will start to have second thoughts).

    Ditto New York State and (very sweet) Barack’s Illinois.

    Meanwhile the Federal Reseve’s latest money bubble will fail – it will be a total cluster f****.

    And Federal government entitlement program spending will continue to run out of control.

    And the unions will go bankrupt – they have spent the money that should have gone to the pension funds on political campaigns.

    And the MSM will continue to collapse – indeed the collapse will speed up.

    And General Moters will be exposed as a vast fraud (dishonest accounting, Chevy Volt a fake – just another hybrid, and so on).

    Anything else you want to know?

    I am afraid I can not tell you who will win the Kentucky Derby, but the economics and politics is plain.

    The United States economy (especially in certain States) is going to go down the plughole – and FOR ONCE the statists are going to get the blame.

    The unions are in no position to save them – and neither are the media.

    There are even plans to deal with academia (including teacher training). “It is not your collectivist politics, but the taxpayers are very hard hit in these harsh times and they can not afford to fund you as lavishly as in the past”.

    The words may only be being spoken in Texas for now – but they are soon going to be spoken in many States. The academics are going to be made to crawl.

    Payback against those children of Plato would be wonderful indeed.

  • Kim du Toit

    Paul, if Plato could see these pampered princes of education who claim to be his descendants, he’d call for them to be scourged.

  • kennycan

    If I were the Republican President who had a Dem VP forced on me I would make sure he spent the whole 4 years in the most uncomfortable “undisclosed location” I could dream up. Or else send him on lots of diplomatic missions to Vladivostok, especially in February.

  • Kim du Toit said:

    It’s not just Californians, either: New Hampshire is almost Massachusetts Lite

    What, the New Hampshire where the GOP swept the federal races and the Executive Council, and got veto-proof majorities in both houses of the General Court?

    There are fortunately enough smart ex-Bay Staters coming North to help offset the Massholes, for now…

  • Apropos the original topic, when the House votes to break a tie in the Electoral College [1], they vote as states as per the 12th amendment. That is, each state’s delegation gets one vote, the vote being cast for the candidate who gains a plurality from the congressmen of that state. California thus counts the same as North Dakota in this instance. I suspect this would generally help the GOP, though given the new House majority I doubt it makes much difference

    Senators vote individually for the Vice President.

    [1] The 12th amendment requires a majority in the Electoral College, so if a candidate only had a plurality the Congress would be called in. That’s how John Quincy Adams became President in 1824 despite not having a plurality in the college – Andrew Jackson got more electoral votes than him.