If you’re a cynical, sourly non-partisan journalist, nothing can delight you more than the prospect of what New York Magazine’s John Heilemann calls a “zombie election.”
Zombie scenarios include:
-Obama wins popular vote, Romney wins electoral vote, or vice versa. A replay of 2000, which would be especially juicy if the Dems were the ones to profit from our peculiar system of electing presidents.
-One or more states go all Florida on us, delaying the election’s outcome for months as lawyers and politicians wangle over a few hundred disputed ballots, drawing the courts into the fray and eventually putting the whole mess into the lap of the Supreme Court. The lame-duck government drifts along ineffectually, the stock market tanks and former President Carter speaks once again of our “national malaise.” (although, come to think of it, he never actually said those words.)
-Electoral votes tied, sending the election to the House of Representatives. Our founders decreed that every state will have a single vote in this grotesquely rigged “election”, giving Wyoming and North Dakota as much power as California and New York. Given that a substantial majority of states have Republican-controlled delegations, Romney’s a lock. That’s fine if our favorite silver-maned, silver-tongued debater receives a popular majority, not so fine if it’s the other way around.
-And here’s the ultimate Zombie scenario: Romney and Obama are virtually tied. Whomever wins Colorado’s electoral votes will prevail. There’s a recount. At issue: 600 disputed votes in El Paso County. Our intrepid and staunchly Republican County Clerk, Wayne Williams, is at the center of a national firestorm, accused by Democrats of deliberately manipulating the election process to favor his co-religionist Mitt Romney. The amiable Williams, appearing more harried and frazzled every day, suddenly moves to Canada to raise trophy ducks. Absent Williams, no decision can be reached. The situation is finally resolved when Gov. John Hickenlooper and Mayor Steve Bach privately meet with both candidates, and persuade the candidates to settle it with a coin flip. But there’s a twist – the loser has to accept the vice-presidency. Both refuse. The result: President Biden, Vice President Ryan.