By Mike Ridgway – Guest Columnist for Utah Standard News – Nov 8,2016 updated 5:30PM
Now, about the second part of our story: How a McMullin win in Utah could make Tim Kaine Donald Trump’s vice president for the next four years.
Instead of giving you all of the background information and tying every single claim to a reliable source to remove your doubts about the veracity of what I’m saying, let’s just be quick and dirty for now and lay it out as briefly as I can. Otherwise,this article won’t get published in time to matter. (The probabilities below are from FiveThirtyEight.com
1. McMullin has a non-insignificant chance of carrying Utah on election day, about a 17% chance.
2. If he pulls that off, there is about a 1 in 20 chance that his win will deadlock the race, sending the final determination to the US House and Senate.
This we will call the “McMullin Miracle.” FiveThirtyEight literally says that there is about a 0.9% chance that it happens.
3. There is about a 45% chance that the Democrats will carry the Senate.
Here’s a copy of the projection map visible at RealClearPolitics. (Notice that eight states are too close to call.)
There is a 16% chance that the two parties will split the Senate evenly 50-50.
There is only a 38% chance that the Republicans will win the Senate.
If no vice presidential candidate gets to 270, then only the top two vote getters in the electoral college will be eligible for consideration when the Senate votes to pick one of the two candidates as our next vice president. So neither of Evan McMullin’s vice presidential running mates, Nathan Johnson (in Utah) or Mindy Finn (in some other states) can possibly make their way into second place. So that leaves Pence, the Republican and Kaine, the Democrat.
So in the event that Utah’s McMullin voters get their wish – a “brokered election” then the VP race will go to the Senate, where it’s not hard to predict what will happen next.
If the Democrats have 51 or greater votes, Tim Kaine will be sworn in as Vice President.
If the Republicans have 51 or greater votes, Mike Pence will be sworn in as Vice President.
If it’s a 50-50 tie, and if Democrats decide not to just graciously cast votes for Trump’s running mate Mike Pence to give him the majority of votes required for election, the position of Vice President could remain vacant, with, potentially, no one to cast tie-breaker votes in the Senate, absent a balance-shifting midterm vacancy or affiliation switch on the part of one of the senators, for a full two years. (If I’m missing something here, please tweet with corrective information, address below.)
So let’s put this is a big text box suitable for redistribution in social media as a meme, shall we?
HERE’S THE MORAL OF THE STORY:
If Utahns deadlock the presidential race by giving their six electoral votes to Evan McMullin, then it’s more likely than not that Tim Kaine becomes the Vice President (even if the House makes Trump or some other Republican the President on the same day.)
In conclusion, you’re a Utah Republican who’s going along with your friends and family members in showing that you reject Donald Trump because of the things that he’s bragged about doing in the past that you, I, and every Mormon finds offensive. I get that. But are you willing to cast a vote that can’t possibly make Evan McMullin president, but which could easily make Tim Kaine the guy who casts deciding votes should the Senate tie on a vote to enhance the rights of the unborn, or to strengthen the family, or to uphold the 2nd Amendment, etc., etc., etc. such that those bills never become law because a Democratic vice president, with his one, single, tie-breaking vote killed the bill before it could make it to Donald Trump for his approval? Do you really want to own that in the unlikely chance that you get your wish, and the McMullin Miracle really does happen.
Because if we get to there, we’re just one toss of a coin from triggering the “Kaine Miracle.” And then we’re just one heart attack or one assassin away from a Tim Kaine succeeding to office of the president of the United States.
Shall we go look up just what the odds of a president dying in office are? They’re a lot higher than you’d think.
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