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By David Ganezer
Observer Staff Writer 

How Gary Johnson Becomes President in 2017. Or Paul Ryan

A plausible scenario of Libertarian success, puts the 2016 election into the House of Representatives


August 18, 2016

Is former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johsnon, the Moses who will lead us out of the wilderness of Trump or Clinton in 2016?

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have duked it out for so long in the national consciousness, that they have entered our subconscious. It's an open secret that no one is excited with our choices, except perhaps fans of The Apprentice ("You're fired.")

The Great Excommunicator will probably continue stumbling along, saying stuff that outrages the press and offends the groups that compose the Democratic party. Meanwhile, Clinton will continue to stumble along, with questions about her role in the Obama administration (not everybody loves you, Barry). She will also stumble while walking up stairs, causing legitimate questions about her health.

The former First Lady is probably just too frail to be President, but that's the subject of another article. The point is, the American public are by and large really, really tired of both candidates and looking for alternatives. That's why polls show record unpopularity rankings for both candidates.

In order to put the election into the House of Representatives, we have to assume that the Libertarians will win at least some entire states. This is because the US Presidential Election is really 50 separate elections, with the winner taking all the Electors for the ... wait for it ... Electoral College.

The United States Electoral College is the only current example of a system in which an executive president is indirectly elected, with electors representing the 50 states and the federal district.

Each state has a number of electors equal to its Congressional representation (in both houses), with the non-state District of Columbia receiving three electors and other non-state territories having no electors. The electors generally cast their votes for the winner of the popular vote in their respective states. However, there are several states where this is not required by law. In the United States, 270 electoral votes are currently required to win the presidential election.

What happens if no presidential candidate gets 270 Electoral votes?

If no candidate receives a majority of Electoral votes, the House of Representatives elects the President from the 3 Presidential candidates who received the most Electoral votes. Each state delegation has one vote. The Senate would elect the Vice President from the 2 Vice Presidential candidates with the most Electoral votes. Each Senator would cast one vote for Vice President. If the House of Representatives fails to elect a President by Inauguration Day, the Vice-President Elect serves as acting President until the deadlock is resolved in the House. This from a US Government website,

So can Gary Johnson win entire states? Many election watchers think so. Politico thinks so: The rise of Gary Johnson is the latest plot twist in the most unpredictable presidential election in decades. Almost accidentally, the candidate has become 2016's last bearer of a whole set of modern conservative ideals, from free trade to entitlement reform; some top Republicans wary of Trump have already declared for him and many more are leaning toward doing so.

At the same time, Johnson's anti-war foreign policy and liberal stances on social issues have resonated among Bernie Sanders stragglers. And lastly, his message of bipartisanship-or, rather, tripartisanship-is attracting independents frustrated with an increasingly dysfunctional two-party system. To capitalize on this perfect storm, Johnson's campaign has a game plan, a clearly targeted set of states to nail down that-if all the chips fall their way-could upend the election and, in their vision, land Johnson and Weld in the White House.

So Gary Johnson's plan is to poll 15% and take part in the debates against Clinton and Trump. Ok then. Which states could he turn? Johnson claims to be polling 12 to 16% in some states. Johnson, and his campaign manager Ron Neilson, figure the Libertarian cannot outspend the major party candidates in large states such as Ohio, California, Texas, New York; nor in swing states like Florida Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Instead, Johnson could outspend Trump and Clinton in Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and the Dakotas; states considered firmly Republican. As for blue States, the Libertarians could outspend Clinton and Trump in New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and possibly Oregon. Need we remind you that Marijuana is legal in these states, and Johnson has actually run a pot distribution company? That should play in Peoria, Denver, Little Rock, Portland, and other pot capitols. But I digress.

"Their battleground states," Nielson says of Clinton and Trump, "are not our battleground states."

So there you have it. Johnson polls his way into the debates with Trump and Clinton. The public increasingly turns to the former Republican governor of New Mexico and his running mate, the former Republican Gov. of Mass, Bill Weld. He wins entire states. Don't they have to vote for one of the top 3 candidates as president?

Yes, on the first few ballots. The constitution frees them to vote for anyone on subsequent ballots, and "Mr. Clean" Paul Ryan, has managed to have himself elected Speaker of the House. Ryan will represent a more palatable alternative than Clinton, Trump or Johnson as they try to break the impasse.

How many times has the Vice President been chosen by the U.S. Senate?

Red and blue states in 2012. In 2016, Libertarians will focus on small states mostly in the West, such asUtah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, North Dakota, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Oregon

Once. In the Presidential election of 1836, the election for Vice President was decided in the Senate. Martin Van Buren's running mate, Richard M. Johnson, fell one vote short of a majority in the Electoral College. Vice Presidential candidates Francis Granger and Johnson had a "run-off" in the Senate under the 12th Amendment, where Johnson was elected 33 votes to 17.

Update: Kirk Hilliard writes: "You appear to be conflating our Constitution's Twelfth Amendment with the RNC delegate binding rules. Per the 12th Amendment, the house chooses only from the three top delegate winners (Ms. Clinton, Mr. Johnson, and Mr. Trump in your scenario). The selection does not open up after a certain number of ballots, but if the House fails to elect a President, then the Vice President-elect becomes acting President. (Here, the 12th Amendment is modified slightly by the 20th Amendment.)

The Vice President-elect in your scenario would be chosen by the Senate from the top two candidates, and only if they fail to chose a Vice President would the Speaker of the House (newly chosen or reaffirmed, as you pointed out) become the President."


Reader Comments

Ethan writes:

The former First Lady is probably just too frail to be President. My god that has to be some of the dumbest political commentary I've seen this election cycle, and for this election that certainly is an achievement. Being the President is essentially a office position not the Olympics, there is no physical requirement. FDR had polio and was in a wheelchair for christ sake and was able to do it almost twice as long as anyone else. I think by 'frail' you mean female.

InisMagrath writes:

HEADLINE: How Gary Johnson Becomes President in 2017. Or Paul Ryan First, David Ganezer takes LSD and becomes completely unhinged from reality. Then, Genezer spins a series of events that have no possibility of happening. Then, *poof* Johnson becomes president.


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