Tuesday, November 8, 2016 is election day in the United States. By November 9, 2016, we should know who will be sworn in as our 45th President on January 20, 2017. Who the President-elect will be depends on the combined votes of every eligible voter in the country. If you are eligible to vote and fail to do so, I don’t want to hear your complaints until a few months after the Inauguration. 100 days in office seems like a good test for a new President.
I italicized “should” in the paragraph above because I haven’t forgotten the 2000 Presidential election. We didn’t know who won until December 12th. Settling that election took a 5-4 Supreme Court decision that stopped the Florida vote recount. (That might not work this time. In our current 8 member Court, a 4-4 decision is more likely than a 5-3 decision.)
Many of us will be voting against a candidate rather than for his or her opponent. There’s nothing wrong with such a vote. (I’ve found myself forced to vote for the “least-worst” candidate in at least 3 previous elections.) The only practical vote is for someone who’s running. (If you have several million social media friends/followers who are willing to join you in a write-in campaign, you’re welcome to give it a shot … but, I doubt that you’ll succeed in electing your candidate. If you feel compelled to orchestrate such a write-in campaign, I suggest you write-in “None of the above“.)
I am not sanguine with the concept of a third-party or write-in candidate “protest vote“. It is extremely likely that Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will win the 2016 Presidential Election. Not voting for one of the two will almost certainly benefit the other. Pick one. Hold your nose and grit your teeth if you must, but pick the one who you believe will do the least damage for the next 4 years.
There is one scenario wherein neither Donald nor Hillary will win … if neither gets more than half of the 538 votes in the Electoral College. If neither candidate gets 270 (or more) electoral votes, the 12th Amendment to the Constitution throws the choice to the House of Representatives. The House must choose from among the top 3 candidates with electoral votes. The Republican Party controls the House. If the 2 major candidates split the Electoral College 269-269, Donald (probably) wins. But what if a third candidate gets even 1 electoral vote? There may be enough members of the House who hate both Hillary and Donald enough to give the election to that third candidate (although I doubt they’d choose “None of the above”).
There’s a reason to “get in line” to vote that goes beyond the presidential contest. There are 34 Senate seats (more than a third of the Senate) and, as is true every 2 years, all of the House seats in contention this year. The Republicans will probably retain control of the House, but the Democrats could regain the Senate majority.
Voting is your democratic right and civic duty. If you don’t know where to vote, this Polling Place Locator will show you. By the end of the day on Tuesday, November 8th, be able to proudly say, “I voted today”.