Pelosi’s Post-Election Plot

Posted on Fri 10/02/2020 by


The House speaker knows state delegations may well determine the outcome.  ~

Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to her caucus over the weekend. She warned of the possibility that the results of the presidential election could be seriously contested and that the Electoral College may not be able to determine a winner.

If that happens, and it last happened in 1876, the election would be decided by the House of Representatives. Under this unusual scenario, each state gets one vote, which is determined by a majority vote of the state’s House delegation.

For example, Florida has 27 seats in the House of Representatives. Its delegation is currently split 13 Democrats to 14 Republicans. If all members vote based on their party affiliation, then the state of Florida would cast one vote for Donald Trump.

Here’s the kicker: Even though Democrats currently control the majority in the House, they DO NOT control a majority of state delegations. Republicans currently control 26 state delegations, while Democrats control 22. (Two states are tied, and tied delegations are not counted.)

But it is not THIS House majority that would vote. It is the next House majority — the one determined by the November elections and seated in January — that would decide a contested presidential election.

Suddenly, this year’s political calculus is far more complicated.

In other words, it doesn’t do Democrats any good to win more House seats in California or New York, where they already dominate those state delegations. It doesn’t do Republicans any good to win more House seats in Texas, although both parties certainly want to win wherever they can.

But any House race that could potentially flip a state delegation’s majority is much, much more important given that the result could determine the next president of the United States.

Two races getting the most attention in this scenario are the at-large House seats in Alaska and Montana, currently held by Republicans.

If Republicans can retake seats lost in 2018 in Michigan and Pennsylvania, they could flip those state delegations. Likewise, Democrats are hoping to defeat a vulnerable Florida Republican.

If Republicans can capture contested seats in Maine and New Hampshire, they could deadlock those state delegations and take their votes out of the Democrat column.