Could President Mitt Romney and Vice President Joe Biden serve in the White House together?
While the possibility is still extremely slim, Canisius College Political Science Professors Michael V. Haselswerdt, PhD (a Democrat) and Kevin R. Hardwick, PhD (a Republican) believe there is a greater chance this election year than ever before that the presidential candidates could split the electoral votes evenly (269-269). The chance is increased because the presidential race is so tight – too close to call, most major polls show.
“If that happens, the House of Representatives, which I believe will retain the Republican majority, will decide the president,” says Hardwick. “The Senate, which should retain the Democratic majority, will decide the vice president. That means that Joe Biden would be vice president for the next four years under President Mitt Romney. We would have the ‘Odd Couple on steroids,” he says with a laugh.
The House has decided the president only three times in history. In 1800, it broke an electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr (Jefferson won). In 1824 it decided a four-way race that ultimately elected John Quincy Adams. And in 1876, it decided the infamous Samuel J. Tilden/Rutherford B. Hayes race (Hayes won).
“It’s more possible this time than it has been in a long time,” adds Haselswerdt, who says that electors would have until December 17 to meet and vote in their respective states. Congress would vote on its first day back in session (On or around January 6). “To think that Congress would have to make that decision, when its approval rating is now inching into the double digits, is pretty wild.”
However, the more likely scenario, Hardwick forecasts, is that Romney will garner the majority of the popular votes but Obama will take the edge in electoral votes and be re-elected to his second term.
If you would like to talk with Professors Haselswerdt and/or Hardwick, contact the Canisius College Office of Public Relations at 716-888-2790.