Could Congress Choose the Next President?

So now that Ted Cruz and Kasich have both suspended their campaigns, and Donald Trump is now a little more than 100 delegates from securing the nomination, the next step is the General Election. In other news, Gary Johnson has been gaining a lot of traction as the Libertarian Candidate. In addition, the Republican Party is also possible considering running a third party GOP candidate in an effort to stop a potential Trump Presidency. So what effect would a third party GOP candidate have on this year’s election? Potentially a lot more than you might think. In each general election year, the Electoral College elects a new President. For a candidate to be elected into the White House, they must receive a minimum of 270 electoral votes. In a situation where no candidate receives the needed 270 electoral votes to become President, then Congress immediately goes into session and they will choose the next President.

One instance where Congress elected the President was in 1824. There were four candidates and two front runners. John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson were in the lead, but there were two other candidates running for the Presidency, William Crawford and Henry Clay. Due to the fact that there were four candidates, Adams and Jackson did not secure enough electoral votes to be elected President. In this situation, the Congress elected the new President, John Quincy Adams. However, the most recent occurrence of Congress picking a President was in 1976, when President Richard Nixon resigned. In this instance, Gerald Ford was voted into office by Congress, with Nelsen Rockefeller as his Vice President.

Some people ask, why does this matter, as this will likely never happen. In a previous article I wrote how the GOP might consider running a third party candidate to stop a Trump presidency. And we also know that Gary Johnson is running for the Libertarian Party. In a possible situation where this happens, it could cause a potential 4-way electoral vote split in the general election this November. This means that there is a small possibility that none of the candidates would be able to reach the needed 270 electoral votes to secure the presidency. If this happens, Congress would choose the next President, and since Congress is currently controlled by the GOP, the new President would be a Republican. On top of all that, the new President would likely not be Donald Trump, but would be the third party option chosen by the GOP. Although this does not seem like the likely scenario, but definitely not outside the realm of possibility, especially with the way the Primary elections have gone so far.

While we may not have a Congressionally elected president this election year, it is likely there will be another one at some point in the future. This will especially be the case as the American people are getting tired of the two party political system and may decide to vote for a third party. This could revolutionize politics as we know it.



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