Building on my post from Friday, Hurricane Sandy threatens an unprecedented disruption of a U.S. Presidential election in modern times.
Think about it. Even before Sandy, we had the potential for a razor-thin election outcome, with the potential for disputed returns from one or more states. Already, Palm Beach County, Florida, is having to convert early returns from flawed absentee ballots.
Veteran observers had already come up with scenarios for a tied 269--269 Electoral College result, with the Republican-dominated House of Representatives deciding such a squeaker. If the outcome even got to the House, because doubtless we'd see a mind-numbing number of election challenges, attempts to flip electors, etc. Or, a split election where one candidate (Romney) potentially wins the popular vote, but the other candidate (Obama) potentially prevails in the Electoral College. Plus, in that most pivotal Buckeye State - where record numbers of provisional ballots may have been cast - we may not have a firm result Election Night, because the provisional ballots aren't immediately counted, to my understanding.
Now, Sandy intervenes, forcing both the Romney and Obama Campaigns to scuttle campaign stops. President Obama and his advisers face a painful balancing act between being a candidate and a President working 24/7 on a national emergency. Indeed, an argument could be made that Mr. Obama would help his country and his campaign by simply retiring from the campaign trail. (The White House this morning announced the cancellation of a Presidential campaign event in Orlando in favor of the President remaining at The White House to monitor Sandy-related developments.) But, the President would still face incredible pitfalls: When to visit a devastated area, for example, considering that the ensuing security might actually disrupt emergency rescue operations, coming back to haunt the President.
Virginia, one of the pivotal swing states, could very well be one of the states to be hit by week-long failures. Remember the slow recovery efforts from the derecho which struck the D.C. area this past June?
Even here in Delaware, we could see disruption. With Route One already closed between Dewey and Bethany at the time I'm posting this blog (7 a.m.) - and we're just experiencing the early stages of this storm - it's easy to see how life in some parts of Delaware could be anything but normal come Election Day. I'm told Delaware's election machines have battery back-up, but if a number of voters are waterlogged, unable to get to the polls...
Delaware footnote: DelDOT urged candidates' campaigns to take down campaign sides along major roads, lest they become missiles in the high winds. It was interesting to see WHICH campaigns seemed to be methodically taking down their signs this past weekend. Perhaps a correlation between the size and efficacy of one's campaign organization and the ability to take down one's signs quickly?
You can bet both political parties have assembled legal teams to contest election results in several states. Indeed, the political devastation could parallel the physical devastation from Sandy. Potential economic devastation as well, both literally from Sandy, and from the "fiscal cliff" negotiations, numbed by an uncertain national election outcome. (Some Congressional races could remain hanging on the cliff as well.)
Now the ultimate irony: Let's say this Presidential election ended-up in the House. Delaware has the same clout as California or Texas, because each state gets ONE vote. Under just about any scenario, the Republicans would still control the whopping majority of state delegations, so Mitt Romney wins, right? But presuming the Democrats retain their majority in the U.S. Senate, Vice President Joe Biden would get a second term as Veep. In a deadlocked Senate, the Vice President could cast a vote for himself. (That's the time the Veep serves a legislative rather than executive role - for breaking ties in the Senate - something conservatives say the Vice President muffed in his debate with Sarah Palin!)
So imagine this: President Romney and Vice President Biden!
Thank our Founding Fathers -- plus an enormously polarized U.S. electorate -- and perhaps the chaos from Sandy...
From POLITICO, "5 Political questions" emerging from the hurricane...
I think the main concern we have with Sandy is the potential for flooding. I doubt it will have a profound effect on the outcome of the election - it just may take a little longer to determine the outcome, except in Maryland where most everybody voted this past Saturday.
By the way, I predicted the World Series would be Giants in 4, and that's exactly what happened.
Mon, Oct 29, 2012 11:28am
President Obama should just visit Hurricane devastated areas to show his concern. This would be tantamount to campaigning and would give him the pre-election bump that he needs. Don't forget the "killing bin Laden" movie comes out two days before the election.
Tue, Oct 30, 2012 4:45pm
President Obama will visit some stricken areas of New Jersey tomorrow, joining Governor Chris Christie.
Governor Christie has already had some kind things to say about President Obama's involvement, saying the President deserves "great credit" for the Feds' storm response.
Add your comment: Attention: In an attempt to promote a level of civility and personal
responsibility in blog discussions, we now require you to be a member of
the WDEL Members Only Group in order to post a comment. Your Members
Only Group username and password are required to process your post.
You can join the WDEL Members Only Group for free by clicking here.
If you are already a member but have forgotten your username or password, please
Please register your post with your WDEL Members Only Group username and password below.