Congressional elections are more important than race for White House


Andrew Tapp

Andrew Tapp, Reporter

As I sit here on March 1st watching Super Tuesday results come in, I see my party turning their back on the establishment and getting behind Donald Trump, the embodiment of everything I despise in this world. Earlier, it came out on CNN that Republican Party leaders are discussing running a third-party candidate against Trump, should he win the party’s nomination in July at the convention in Ohio. As I’m writing these words, GOP leaders are on conference calls with big donors trying to get money to take down Trump and raise their own candidate, presumably Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz to possible run against Trump at either the convention or in the general election.

However, with all of the news being on the Presidential election, not much attention is being paid towards Congress and the pivotal elections coming up there in November. All 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives will be up for reelection along with 34 seats in the U.S. Senate. According to Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia, Republicans seem poised to win both chambers of Congress, albeit barely in the Senate. With predictions putting the Senate 50-47 with three seats still undecided, it is possible that we could see a 50-50 split between the two major parties of the United States.

Well, why does that matter if Washington doesn’t seem to do anything anyway (even though they do, but that’s for a different discussion on a different day)?

Here’s why. Go and find yourself a copy of the Constitution. Open it up to Article 1. You can read all about Congress, but go ahead and flip to Section 3. The Senate. Now go to Clause 4. See what it says? “The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but have no vote, unless they (the votes) be equally divided.”

Do you see what I’m saying? With partisan politics plaguing our country, we could be left with having one man make a lot of decisions for our country. Heck, even if the Senate goes 51-49 or 52-48, the Vice President could actually have to do something, which would be a shock coming from the past eight years under Joe Biden.

Also, here’s another biggie for Congress. Please once again open the Constitution and find the 12th Amendment. Ah yes, the big “what if” amendment. One that has been debated and only used once for its biggest job. You heard me. Once.  In 1824.It’s been almost 200 years since, but we might see history made once again.

You see, the reason I made such a big deal about the possibility of the GOP getting behind a third guy was because of what it means for the Electoral College. Come Election Day, all presidential candidates are going to vie for each state’s electoral college votes. They only need 270 of them to win. That’s it. 270 out of 538 electoral college votes broken out over the states. Here’s the thing though. It is possible, should a strong third party candidate rise from the ashes, that the all hallowed 270 majority might not be achieved. Well what then?

Here’s where the 12th amendment comes in to save the day. The U.S. House of Representatives gets to choose out of the top three candidates that did the best in the Electoral College who they want to be President of the United States. Also, here’s another kicker for you. Each state gets one vote, not each representative. Anyone see an issue with this? If there’s a third party candidate that really likes the small states and they like them in return, they could totally throw off the election. The 26 smallest states, which would be half plus one to make a majority in the vote, only represent seventeen percent of the population of the U.S. So we could end up with a president that only seventeen percent of us like. Also, the Senate picks the Vice President. They don’t come as a package deal. So we could end up with a president and vice president from two different parties.

Here’s my real beef with the 12th amendment though. Let’s travel back to 2012. Mitt Romney (R) is up against Barack Obama (D). We all know that Obama won, but hypothetically speaking, what if a third-party candidate had pulled enough votes to not give either one of them a majority? Well, it would go to the House where surely Obama would win since he won a majority of the votes, but hold on. Not so fast. Look at the 113th Congress as it was sitting. Who’s in control of the House of Representatives? That’s right, the Republicans, and who are they going to pick? Romney, naturally. The past four years of our lives could have been drastically changed had one person been able to swing some votes. Just think about that.

All of that to say this. Between the vice president breaking ties in the Senate and the House possibly deciding the president, these Congressional elections will be extremely influential when determining America’s future. Who knows, maybe this will get their approval numbers above, a very laughable, twelve percent.