Associate Justice Antonin Scalia is found dead Saturday morning in Texas. Before his body is cold, President Obama announces he will nominate someone soon. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the nomination should be left to the next president.
The nomination will be a bruising fight and will undoubtedly have implications for the presidential primaries and general election.
President Obama recognizes the difficulty he will have nominating a liberal judge. He also recognizes that the two leading candidates to represent the Democrat party may have significant problems winning the election against the remaining Republican candidates. Knowing his legacy as president depends on winning a third term through a Democrat successor, he therefore embarks on the following political strategy.
Obama nominates Al Gore for the position of Associate Supreme Court Justice saying, “It’s only fair since the Supreme Court stole the presidency from Gore. It’s payback time.” The conservative wing of the Republican Party is apoplectic.
Ted Cruz, while being interviewed live on Fox News, has a seizure while discussing someone like Gore on the Supreme Court.
The news coverage of the nomination dwarfs the candidates’ campaigns for President. No one is gaining traction in the primaries. As the Supreme Court concludes its last decision on June 30, 2016 (most decisions being tied 4-4), Obama announces that for the sake of the Union he is withdrawing Gore as the nominee. On July 4th, Obama announces he will nominate himself for the position, following Taft from White House to the high court. As soon as he is confirmed, he promises to step down as President and Joe Biden will take his place. Simultaneously, Joe Biden announces he will also run for president representing the Democrat Party.
Ted Cruz, while being interviewed live on Fox News, has a grand mal seizure while discussing someone like Obama on the Supreme Court.
Republicans in the Senate are caught flat-footed and they are unable to stop Obama’s self nomination. As one of the youngest justices on the court he will be able to continue his liberal agenda well past the end of his presidency. At the Democratic National Convention, Sanders and Clinton are unable to stop the Biden wave. All the super delegates choose Biden in the first ballot and no candidate wins a majority. On the second ballot Sanders and Clinton release their delegates to vote for Biden, who selects Michelle Obama as his running mate.
Ted Cruz, while being interviewed live on Fox News, has a stroke while discussing someone like Michelle Obama as Vice President.
Biden, running as a sitting president, wins easily.
While being interviewed live on Fox News, Ted Cruz’s head explodes.
This is just my opinion. I may be wrong.
My expected outcome from the election is more from my heart than my head. I am part sentimentalist, part strict constructionist, and part anarchist.
First, the sentimentalist
Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination and chooses Tipper Gore as her running mate.
Her national campaign slogan is, “It’s the Women’s Turn Now.” She runs on the plank that if elected President she will tirelessly help “women who have been assaulted or sexually groped in public.” She runs TV commercials in swing states showing Tipper Gore being manhandled by Al Gore at the 2000 Democratic National Convention. Most voters either did not watch the convention, or do not remember Al Gore and think the event happened last week.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz retains her position as DNC chair as she can show savings exceeding $100 million simply by reusing the Clinton-Gore bumper stickers and lawn signs from the 1992 and 1996 campaigns.
Hillary Clinton, through the Clinton Foundation, negotiates a deal with MSNBC allowing Rachel Maddow to retain her one-hour show, and for the remaining 23 hours of air time, MSNBC replays the I Love Lucy episode, “Job Switching.” The Foundation buys the rights to the episode and places it in the public domain, reducing MSNBC’s costs to almost zero.
This episode is considered one of the best from the series. In it, Lucy and Ethel take jobs at a chocolate factory. Small chocolates emerge from a machine on a conveyor belt and must be dipped in liquid chocolate. The speed of the conveyor belt increases, causing mayhem. No one can stop laughing. Meanwhile, Ricky and Fred are at home wearing aprons, doing the laundry and cooking. While ironing, they burn holes through the clothes and the kitchen becomes a mess.
MSNBC viewership finally reaches six digits for 23 hours each day; however, Rachel Maddow falls to last place of all cable news shows. It appears MSNBC viewers use her time slot for their bathroom breaks. MSNBC is profitable for the first time since its inception. The FEC rules the Lucy episode is not a violation of any campaign-finance laws or equal time requirements, as the program is in the public domain.
Polls show Hillary Clinton slightly ahead after four weeks of this barrage.
After a bruising Republican convention, Marco Rubio wins the nomination. Lacking the financing and infrastructure to win the general election, he chooses Jeb Bush as his running mate. Jeb Bush accepts realizing it would be better to follow the path his father took to become President (VP first) than the path his brother took. Since both Rubio and Bush are from Florida, this has the making of a constitutional disaster. Let’s hope so.
I am not going to describe the details of the campaigns; not a pretty sight. The FCC forces the campaigns to issue letter warnings on all TV commercials so children are spared seeing the horrors.
Meanwhile, back in Washington, D.C., on Election Day and completely ignored by the media, Vice President Biden and Supreme Court Justice Kennedy join a group of Revenant re-enactors and head out to a remote area of Appalachia. They are not heard from again.
And now, the strict constructionist
The election results are in. Rubio has 269 electoral votes and Clinton 268. How? It doesn’t matter. Say one district in Maine is tied.¹ Or that same Maine district votes for a third party. (Perot, seeing Obama has won twice feels large ears are now a plus for a candidate and runs a third-party campaign that wins this one electoral vote) Again, it doesn’t matter how. What’s important is that no one obtains the minimum 270 to win.
(My fallback position is that Rubio wins in electoral votes, but the Florida electors are prohibited by the Constitution from also electing Bush as VP. This is not as much fun as the scenario I am going with. But it would also be a hoot.)²
The country must now be spoon-fed a civics lesson on how the Constitution prescribes a winner when no candidate has a majority from the electoral college.
The House of Representatives is asked to determine the President. The current members of the House (2015-2016 term) caucus within each state.³ Each state has one vote. Even though some state delegations have equal representation and cannot agree on one candidate, enough Republican-majority states vote in Rubio and he is declared President. The Clinton Foundation makes a valiant lobbying effort promising to put all Dukes of Hazzard reruns in the public domain if Republicans vote for Hillary, but that effort fails.
And finally, the anarchist
The Senate is now asked to determine who will be Vice President. The new members of the Senate (2017-2018 term) each have one vote. The 2016 election resulted in a net gain of four seats for the Democrats. The Senate is deadlocked.
The potential tiebreaker, VP Biden, cannot be found. Jeb Bush files suit against his opponent, Tipper Gore. The case is labeled Bush v. Gore. The media panic. What should it call this lawsuit so as to distinguish it from the previous Bush v. Gore lawsuit? Oh, the humanity. Scholars are brought in to deal with the ensuing “Labeling Crisis.”
First there were two George Bushes. George Herbert Walker Bush v. George Walker Bush; Bush I v. Bush II; Bush 41 v. Bush 43; and Bush v. W.
Then there were ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State, and Daesh.
Now we have two Bush v. Gore lawsuits. Will it be Bush v. Gore I and II? Or Bush v. Gore 2000 and 2016? Scientists are brought in to clone William Safire to write a New York Times editorial to determine the appropriate label. MSNBC provides 24-hour coverage of the cloning process. Although it is just test tubes under incubating lights, their viewership is the highest ever.
The lawsuit is immediately moved to the Supreme Court. The court is split along party lines 4-4. The potential tiebreaker, Kennedy, cannot be found.
Again, this is just my opinion. I may be wrong.
¹ Maine and Nebraska are not “winner take all” states, rather one Elector is chosen from each congressional district and two Electors are chosen from the statewide vote totals.
² Electors cannot vote for a President and Vice President from the state they represent. Therefore, Florida electors would be unable to vote for Rubio and Bush for those two positions. From the 12th Amendment: “The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves”
³ Whether or not the current House and Senate or newly elected House and Senate vote is not exactly set in stone. The only time something like this has happened since the adoption of the 12th Amendment is 1824, when neither J.Q. Adams or Andrew Jackson obtained a majority of Electoral Votes. At that time, the lame-duck congress stayed in session until early March, and they voted Adams President in early February. Today, the new congress is sworn in on January 3rd (20th Amendment), just two weeks after the Electoral College officially votes. That would leave the lame-duck chambers two weeks to vote on the new President and Vice President. The Senate requires a two-thirds quorum to vote, and the Democrats (currently in the Senate minority) could take a two-week vacation to Hawaii. In 1824 at the end of the Era of Good Feelings and one party rule, both Adams and Jackson accepted Calhoun as their Vice President, so the Senate never needed to vote. The Republican House just requires a quorum of a single representative from each state with half the states represented, and would probably be able to quickly pick the next President despite Democratic opposition. It would be the constitutional crisis of the century. It would be every bit as messy as 2000, except this time it would be in the hands of congress.