“[N]ext Tuesday night is likely gonna be the emotional equivalent of riding the Cyclone at Coney Island: a nerve-jangling, empty-out-the-liquor-cabinet-and-stash-box sort of affair.”—John Heilemann, “The Zombie Election: Four Ways the Campaign May Be Undead on November 7,” New York Magazine, November 5, 2012
Heilemann spells out four nightmare scenarios this Tuesday:
1) The Romney Squeaker Scenario, in which the GOP candidate takes the Electoral College vote with a razor-thin 271-276 total, raising all kinds of suspicions among the left (already going on, even) about voter-suppression schemes in close states;
2) The Reverse Gore Scenario (i.e., this time the Republican wins the popular vote and the Democrat, the Electoral College);
3) The Recount (or Recounts) Scenario, in which the lawyered-up campaigns take each other to court—at just the time when the federal government will be facing “the fiscal cliff,” expiration of the Bush tax cuts, and another squabble over the debt ceiling; and
4) The Tie-Goes-to-the-Romney Scenario, in which, astonishingly, the Electoral College vote ends up tied, throwing the election into the House of Representatives, where state delegations are given a single vote—and Romney wins.
Heilemann doesn’t mention what might be the most insane scenario of them all, voiced by NBC’s Chuck Todd: that failure to win an Electoral College vote throws the election into the hands of Congress, where the Republican-controlled House of Representatives elects Romney President, but the Democratic-controlled Senate re-elects Joe Biden V-P, thereby giving full employment for stand-up comics in the next four years in the form of a gaffe-prone President and Vice-President, from opposing parties. (I'm not sure this is what people had in mind by "bipartisanship"!)
On Facebook over the last several days, I’ve seen more than a few posts of liquor bottles used by friends unnerved by, or celebrating the end of, Hurricane Sandy. We all might need this multiplied if any of the above comes to pass.
(The political caricature accompanying this post comes from DonkeyHotey.)