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Nov 23 2012

Judson Phillips Thinks Romney Can Still Win

You gotta hand it to Judson Phillips, the absolutely deranged leader of Tea Party Nation. If he’s going down, he’s going down with a fight. Hell, he still thinks Romney can be sworn in as president in January. And he has a delightfully cockamamie plan for making that happen. And he’s publishing it, naturally, at the Worldnutdaily.

Barack Obama has not yet been re-elected president.

Yes, the election is over – but remember, a presidential election in America is not by popular vote. We vote for the candidate, but what we are really doing is voting for the electors who will meet on the Monday after the second Wednesday in December…

And the best part – this is totally constitutional.

The 12th Amendment of the Constitution as well as Article II of the Constitution govern the Electoral College.

According to the 12th Amendment, for the Electoral College to be able to select the president, it must have a quorum of two-thirds of the states voting. If enough states refuse to participate, the Electoral College will not have a quorum. If the Electoral College does not have a quorum or otherwise cannot vote or decide, then the responsibility for selecting the president and vice president devolves to the Congress.

The House of Representatives selects the president and the Senate selects the vice president.

Since the Republicans hold a majority in the House, presumably they would vote for Mitt Romney, and the Democrats in the Senate would vote for Joe Biden for vice president.

Can this work?

Sure it can.

Uh, no. It can’t. The 12th amendment doesn’t say that there must be a quorum in the electoral college, it says there must be a quorum in the House of Representatives:

The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice.

But Judson has it all figured out despite his inability to read:

Mitt Romney carried 24 states. We need to have conservative activists from all over the nation contact the electors, the Republican Party and the secretary of state in all of these states and tell them not to participate in the Electoral College when it meets on Dec. 17.

If we can get 17 of those states (just over one-third) to refuse to participate, the Electoral College will have no quorum. Then, as the Constitution directs, the election goes to the House of Representatives.

That is how we can still pull this election out and make Mitt Romney president in January.

We need this concept shared with every tea party, liberty and patriotic group throughout the country. We have time to act, but we must pressure Republicans to do the right thing.

Well of course. Because they love the Constitution and they love democracy, so obviously they prove that by trying to prevent the outcome of a legally valid election from being certified so their guy can win instead. How patriotic!

Update: Looks like even the folks at the Worldnutdaily figured out that Phillips was talking out his ass. They’ve updated the post with this:

Editor’s note, Nov. 20, 2012: Since this column was posted it has been discovered that the premise presented about the Electoral College and the Constitution is in error. According to the 12th Amendment, a two-thirds quorum is required in the House of Representatives, not the Electoral College.

No kidding.

37 comments

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  1. 1
    composer99

    Wow, a distortion of fact too far-out even for WND.

  2. 2
    rolfboettger

    What’s even nuttier than the article are the comments. Those are a special kind of crazy.

  3. 3
    lancifer

    You know it has to be total lunacy when the WND editors feel the need to post a correction. One wonders what inspired them to correct this nonsense and not the other 99% of idiotic crap they publish?

  4. 4
    Gregory in Seattle

    What’s kind of scarey is that WND failed to stop the stupid before it was published.

    They might want to read the Wikipedia article on faithless electors; lots of good stuff.

  5. 5
    Michael Heath

    WND:

    Since this column was posted it has been discovered that the premise presented about the Electoral College and the Constitution is in error.

    I think the most shocking thing I’ve encountered today is that one person at the WND is aware of the existence of the word ‘premise’ and its definition. Of course it’d far more shocking if the WND consistently prevented any false premises from being published. That’d be both bad for business and in direct contradiction to what it means to be a conservative Christian.

  6. 6
    Trebuchet

    Snopes has a good article on this.

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/ballot/electoral.asp

    Perhaps the Democrats should tuck this one away in case an election does get tossed into the House.

  7. 7
    footface

    I don’t understand the rationale behind the electoral college, but I’m willing to accept, for the sake of argument, that there is one.

    But why on earth do we (still?) need actual electors to cast these votes? Why can’t we just say if you win the popular vote in, say, Washington, you are automatically awarded 12 electoral votes, with no need for actual humans to perform their part of the ceremony? (Or go rogue and cast their electors’ votes for whoever they want?)

  8. 8
    John Pieret

    Oh, heck … if reality is going to start intruding on WingNutDaily it could totally lose its entertainment value.

  9. 9
    AsqJames

    in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote

    That’s rather interesting. Back before the election when 90% of the political experts in the media were still pretending the race could go either way, I noticed several people considered the possibility of a 270/270 tie in the electoral college. One may even have been Ed. As far as i can remember, every one said in that case Romney would be President because the Republicans were certain to have a majority in the HoR.

    Not one that I saw explained that each state delegation would only get one vote (as my reading of the above quote implies). I can’t be bothered to check, but isn’t it possible for the party with a majority in the House to have those seats so concentrated in certain states that the vote could go against them?

    Further, can you imagine the explosion of outrage the employment of this constitutional rule would provoke in the constitution loving right-wingers? The left would probably be almost as extreme, but my own biases would prevent me from finding them entertaining in the context.

  10. 10
    AsqJames

    Ooh, hang on a minute…

    If “the representation from each state” having a vote each means what I think it means, that’s really not much of a tie-breaker for the electoral college. I mean, there’s an even number of states plus DC (which as it isn’t a state presumably wouldn’t get a say). So you might end up with a tie in the tie-breaker. What happens then? Do you toss a coin?

  11. 11
    Valde

    Dont know where to post this, so I’ll just do it here

    Incoming! Obama won b/c the dems are using the mentally disabled to vote!

    http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/david-horowitz-mentally-disabled/2012/11/23/id/465148

  12. 12
    Aratina Cage

    This is about as silly as the argument that if only Romney had ridden that roller coaster before the election, he would have won. Yeah, right. :P

  13. 13
    democommie

    “One wonders what inspired them to correct this nonsense and not the other 99% of idiotic crap they publish?”

    Your hearts in the right place but your math is off by about three orders of magnitude. WND’s accuracy rate is in the range of 1/1000 of a percent, which would account for them usually getting the date of publication right.

  14. 14
    jakc

    @ foot face

    Electors are supposed to exercise judgement (like the cardinals who elect the pope). The system doesn’t work as intended but problems such as the “faithless elector” aren’t problems but are the point of the system.

    @ Asqjames

    DC doesn’t get a vote. In the case of a tie, some congressman gets a lot of stuff for his or her district by breaking the tie

  15. 15
    sylwyn

    As I Recall, Jake (#14) is correct, and if so perhaps Mr Phillips could pin his hopes upon some sort of intercession changing the hearts of a little over 100 of the electoral representatives and convincing them to cast their vote for Romney.

  16. 16
    Ed Brayton

    AsqJames wrote:

    Not one that I saw explained that each state delegation would only get one vote (as my reading of the above quote implies). I can’t be bothered to check, but isn’t it possible for the party with a majority in the House to have those seats so concentrated in certain states that the vote could go against them?

    Yes, but not in this case. The Republicans control the majority of the state delegations, not just the majority of the House. And that was mentioned by several people who discussed it (I don’t remember if I spelled that out or not).

  17. 17
    Midnight Rambler

    Yes, but not in this case. The Republicans control the majority of the state delegations, not just the majority of the House. And that was mentioned by several people who discussed it (I don’t remember if I spelled that out or not).

    Moreover, IIRC the Republicans controlled a majority of state delegations even when they have been in the minority for the last few elections.

  18. 18
    footface

    @jakc:

    You lost me. The point of the system is that 538 individuals could, theoretically, elect whoever they want?

    How would we be worse off if we skipped that step?

  19. 19
    AsqJames

    Ed Brayton wrote:

    that was mentioned by several people who discussed it

    Fair enough, I probably read it but didn’t take it in at the time. Apart from anything else the EC tie seemed like a real outside bet.

    jakc wrote:

    DC doesn’t get a vote. In the case of a tie, some congressman gets a lot of stuff for his or her district by breaking the tie

    I’m sure right, but the idea that a tie-breaking mechanism could yet result in a tie still amuses me. Credit goes to the Founding Fathers, divinely inspired by “Traditional American” Jesus naturally.

  20. 20
    Christoph Burschka

    This will be an entertaining four years.

  21. 21
    jakc

    Footface

    You’re right. The founders didn’t envision the kind of nationwide vote we have with most adults eligible to vote. Senators were not directly elected either. Electors were envisioned as a group of wise men to act as a check on the popular vote (otherwise they would have used the system you suggested). The Electoral College has never worked as it was supposed to work, and now most people have no idea how what its purpose was. It isn’t about the rights of states per se; the fact that the electors could select someone who did not win the popular vote is the point of the system. The founders didn’t want to be England, but they didn’t have a lot of other examples of how to pick a chief executive.

  22. 22
    tomh

    footface wrote:
    Why can’t we just say if you win the popular vote in, say, Washington, you are automatically awarded 12 electoral votes

    States are not required to award electoral votes on a winner take all basis. Two states, Maine and Nebraska, use the “district system”, where two votes are awarded to the statewide winner, and the rest go by Congressional district, with the candidate who receives the most votes in each district receiving that electoral vote.

  23. 23
    pacal

    democommie said:

    “Your hearts in the right place but your math is off by about three orders of magnitude. WND’s accuracy rate is in the range of 1/1000 of a percent, which would account for them usually getting the date of publication right.”

    WIN!

  24. 24
    Francisco Bacopa

    If the Electoral Collage doesn’t elect Obama ss both the state votes and popular votes command, there will totally be the riots the wingnuts predicted.

    I was at #D12 Houston, the most effective “Occupy the Ports” protest outside of Oakland. I know how to fuck shit up. I think the now underground Occupy Houston could finally gain the support of the mostly Hispanic Good Jobs, Great Houston SEIU movement and the support of Quanell X and the New Black Panther Party. We tried to build this coalition, but failed.

    Screw around with the Electoral College and we will shut the Port down. Not just the Old Gates and the bridge like last time. The Gates, Battleground Road, and even Bayport. Y’all up north get no gasoline if we hit Battleground.

  25. 25
    Valde

    #24 “I know how to fuck shit up”

    Fan of Citizen Radio? :P

  26. 26
    dan4

    @12: What are you talking about?

  27. 27
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @12.Aratina Cage :

    This is about as silly as the argument that if only Romney had ridden that roller coaster before the election, he would have won. Yeah, right. :P

    Actually, it was NOT appearing on the Letterman show that blew it for Mittens I think!

    PS. Like dan4, I’ve no idea what you’re talking about there.

  28. 28
    dan4

    @27: StevoR: I have no idea what “that roller coaster” is in reference to.

  29. 29
    Christoph Burschka

    Come to think of it, if this rule actually existed it would have been glaringly obvious for the past 250 years. No president would have ever been elected without either a two-thirds majority in the electoral college or control of the house. Writing this kind of loophole into the constitution would have required immense stupidity.

    Snopes has a good article on this.

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/ballot/electoral.asp

    Perhaps the Democrats should tuck this one away in case an election does get tossed into the House.

    If I read the text right, then this same trick could indeed block the House, in which case the sitting Vice President becomes President. The new Vice President would be still picked by the electors (or, alternatively, the Senate).

  30. 30
    Christoph Burschka

    *er, the past 220. I can’t arithmetic.

  31. 31
    khms

    Writing this kind of loophole into the constitution would have required immense stupidity.

    Remember, these were the same people who thought they could avoid having political parties by just not talking about them in their constitution.

    They may not have been stupid, exactly, but their political wisdom is certainly not glaringly obvious.

    And, not being an American, it is not obvious to me where the idea originated of electing judges, attorneys or sheriffs, but that seems to me to be another rather obviously bad idea. These are people whose main interest is supposed to be enforcing the law, not bolstering their popularity.

    Oh well. It’s not my problem to solve.

  32. 32
    harold

    Okay, the article is “funny”, but let’s look at the things that are not funny.

    1) He’s a blatant anti-democracy, anti-republic authoritarian. He’ll scream about “liberty” when it suits his purpose, but if an election doesn’t go his way, his reaction is to plot to prevent the elected president from taking office. President Obama won both the popular and EC votes by comfortable margins, so this is as blatantly anti-democracy as you can get. There’s no razor thin margin or “wrong winner” popular vote/EC split here to provide a fig leaf for this.

    2) Think of the downstream implications. What would the public reaction be if, by some mechanism, the US public were told that the results of the election were cancelled and Romney was being installed as president? There’s a pretty strong implication that he wouldn’t mind the Syrian model, with Romney as Assad, as long as his guy is the one in power.

    3) The gatekeeper mainstream corporate media will still endow him with “legitimate part of the debate” status. Media venues, and not just Fox News, that would not give free access to actual elected representatives like Dennis Kucinich or Barry Sanders, could easily still include him as part of a “panel”, with “the opposite extreme” being represented by some timid center-right Democrat. (It’s true that some figures who are associated with WND don’t get this treatment, but that’s because of their personal characteristics, not because of their views. You probably won’t see a mainstream network putting Victoria Jackson, or even Chuck Norris, in as “the conservative side”, but the views of Victoria Jackson and Chuck Norris are touted as “mainstream”; they just don’t want Victoria Jackson, as an individual, being the one presenting them.)

  33. 33
    iangould

    The Republican Party is not what it once was (republicans let us recall provided the votes to pass the civil Rights Act of 1963)even so I strongly suspect that sufficient Republican Representatives would oppose a blatant attempt at stealing the election to frustrate this scheme even if it were cnstitutionally possible.

    So has any wingnut called on the US military to step in and annul the election yet? I ask because there were people advocating that back in december 2008/January 2009.

  34. 34
    d.c.wilson

    I posted this on this World Nut Daily article the other day:

    “When you start seeing things like democracy and the will of the voters as problems to be worked around, maybe it’s time to rethink your priorities.”

    And this is what makes Philips such a raging hypocrite. He screams about freedom and democracy, but only when it suits him. Like Allen West, he only believes in democracy when his side wins.

    He also bleats about his love of the Constitution, but he doesn’t bother to read the document he claims to revere. You know, like the way fundies treat the babble.

    As for the Electoral College, it’s a relic that needs to go. Even the arguments used to defend it don’t hold water. One of the most frequently cited ones is that the small population states would be ignored without the Electoral College, but the fact is, they’re already being ignored. Hell, given the current split, every state that isn’t named “Ohio” or “Florida” gets ignored in the end. Today, it’s not worth the effort for a democrat to chase votes in Wyoming or for republican in Rhode Island. If we went by popular vote, every vote would count equally, instead of votes in certain states counting more.

    The other argument is that rural areas would be ignored in favor of the more densely populated cities. Again, it’s bull. Votes are votes, no matter where they’re cast. Candidates will chase them wherever they can find them.

  35. 35
    martinc

    Francisco Bacopa @ 24:

    If the Electoral Collage doesn’t elect Obama

    I do like the concept of the ‘Electoral Collage’. Presumably a group of 538 electors journey to Washington DC and arrange themselves on the White House lawn so that from a distance it spells out ‘OBAMA’.

  36. 36
    gratch

    Not to worry that was just Plan “A”. Plan “B” is for all Real Americans to close their eyes, clap their hands, and wish real hard. Becase, “Teacher says every time a Christian Nation claps its hands a Mormon gets his presidency!”

  37. 37
    bradleybetts

    “That is how we can still pull this election out and make Mitt Romney president in January.”

    By cheating an denying the will of the people. Class act.

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