Even after Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips’ scheme to elect Mitt Romney president through the electoral college was debunked, the idea continues to gain traction with some reality challenged tea partiers.
On November 19, Phillips wrote,
Is there a way to stop this?
Yes, there is.
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.
Actually, it can’t. Phillips misread the 12th Amendment. The quorum rule only applies to the House of Representatives, not the Electoral College. World Net Daily updated the Philips post with the correct information. People wrote it, and then everyone went about their Thanksgiving business under the assumption that this crazy, stupid, and incorrect reading of the 12 Amendment was over and done with.
However, Philips’ incorrect reading of the 12th Amendment has found new life in the dark subculture of right wing chain emails. One of these chain emails found their way into the inbox of Idaho state Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, who is urging states to boycott the Electoral College, so that Romney can win the presidency. When Nuxoll was told that Philips had it all wrong, and the scheme to boycott the Electoral College won’t work, she said, “Well, I guess that’s one lawyer. She later went on to tell the Idaho Statesman that, “I think it is very, very sad that we elected our current president, because he is definitely not following (the) Constitution. He is depriving us of our freedoms by all the agencies, and so … what I’m thinking is the states are going to have to stand up for our individual rights and for our collective rights.”
Susan Nuxoll is a perfect example of why the talk among Republican leadership about the need to move the party to the middle is destined to fail. Even when confronted with facts such as Obama’s reelection victory and that Mitt Romney can’t be elected president through an Electoral College boycott, they still refuse to acknowledge reality.
Tea partiers are still rejecting reality, and they will reject any candidate who tries to deliver reality to them. Pragmatic and clear minded Republicans are facing the Herculean task of bringing people like Sheryl Nuxoll back to reality.
The tea party mindset is the reason why congressional Republicans are saying they won’t raise taxes while demanding that Obamacare be on the table in the fiscal cliff negotiations. These people are existing in their own reality in an alternate universe. Until they join the rest of back on earth, any negotiations with them will fail and the Republican Party will continue to flounder.
To tea partiers President Romney is coming in the second week of December, and what the constitution says is just one man’s opinion. The tea party isn’t going anywhere, and that’s bad news for fans of compromise and reality everywhere.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association