Vantage point

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Another Prediction

A reader wrote in an reminded me of something even I had forgotten. He pointed out that what I wrote in this post two years ago, starting with "One can't help but wonder which infinite-optimism-inducing drug is responsible for the almost-finalised decision of Tata Motors to set up a car plant in West Bengal" has been vindicated with the Tatas' decision to pull out of Singur. Of course, in that post, I talked about union troubles, and finally it was land acquisition issues that caused the Tata exit. Nevertheless I will gloat happily.

So I can't resist making another prediction. Yesterday, one of experts on one of the news channels said that the real battleground states in the US Presidential election are Colorado, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia. According to him, all the traditional red and blue states will stay red or blue. Among the other swing states, the current polls show a clear trend one way or the other which will be difficult to overturn, so he assumed their results (for example, Obama wins Pennsylvania, McCain wins Florida, etc.) It all comes down to the 4 states which are too close to call as of today.

Let's say he is right. And let's say, Obama wins Colorado, and McCain wins NH, Ohio and Virginia. In that case, both candidates will be tied at 269 electoral college votes. I have always wondered why the electoral college has an even number of votes, making a tie mathematically possible. This time it is a distinct possibility. So I am going to stick my neck out and say there could be a tie.

What happens next? Well, according to the constitution, in such a scenario, the decision goes to the Congress. The Congress currently is, and will most like be, even after the elections, Democrat-dominated. So Obama could become President on their vote.

What will make it even more interesting is, if despite the tie, McCain wins the popular vote. For the last 8 years, Dems have been whining about how Bush was awarded the Presidency in 2000 in spite of a whole host of other problems, one of which is that Gore won the popular vote. In a tie scenario, the Democrats could end up doing the same thing - giving the Presidency to a guy who lost the popular vote. And much acrimony will ensue.

So that's my prediction. Tie in electoral college. McCain wins popular vote. Congress makes Obama President. And there are all sorts of fights in the media and in the Supreme Court.

This is how the tie scenario map would look