The Corner

Politics & Policy

A Boon For The McMullin Scenario?

So if you asked me yesterday what I thought the chances were of Evan McMullin would end up being the next president, I would have said somewhere between .0001 and .01 percent. I think as of right now the odds are closer to between .1 and 1. 

I still think most gamblers would bet that Hillary wins, despite today’s bombshell. But who knows? The polls were already tightening, more news keeps coming out, and, as I note below, Hillary doesn’t thrive in the limelight. Certainly, it’s not unreasonable to think this makes it more likely she doesn’t win in the landslide we saw coming last week. Or maybe, just maybe she falls just enough and Trump rises just enough that neither gets to 270, particularly after McMullin takes Utah off the map. 

As I explained in my column earlier this week, that’s the only remotely plausible way McMullin can be the next president. If the election ends without either candidate getting to the 270 votes necessary to win (and if the electors don’t go rogue), it goes to the House. The GOP will probably still control the House but with fewer seats. Each state votes as a delegation, which means you just need a majority of congressmen from each state to go the right way. And then, vanilla logic kicks in. As I explained in my column:

Here, the vanilla rule might apply. Vanilla is one of the most popular flavors in America not because it’s everyone’s favorite, but because it is the least objectionable to the greatest number of people. There are probably no Democrats who wouldn’t prefer McMullin to Trump. There are almost certainly no Republicans who wouldn’t prefer McMullin to Clinton. Picking the least objectionable option is often the essence of statesmanship. If 26 state delegations pick the least-bad option, McMullin becomes the first Mormon president. 

 

If every Republican delegation refuses to pick Clinton and every Democratic delegation refuses to pick Trump, then all that’s left is McMullin, the most acceptable alternative to the worst case scenario for both sides. Again it’s super, duper, looper, unlikely. But (as I write in today’s G-File) unlikely crap keeps happening. I call to your attention this October 13 item from 538.com:

It would take a fascinating scenario — in which much of the technical detail of how we select presidents comes into play — for McMullin to be sworn in as the 45th president, but the chances of its happening are slim, not none. Indeed, his chances of at least making things very interesting may be as high as 1 to 3 percent — about the same as the odds of the Cubs’ coming back to beat the Giants on Monday.

I’m no Baseball Crank, but I’m pretty sure the Cubs are in the World Series. 

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, will be released on April 24.

Most Popular

Culture

Let Alfie Evans Go to Rome

Alfie Evans, 23 months old, is hospitalized with a rare neurodegenerative disorder. Against his parents’ wishes, his doctors at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool removed him from life support on Monday evening, maintaining that further treatment would be futile. Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital in Rome has ... Read More
Education

Is Journalism School Worth It?

Clarence Darrow dropped out of law school after just a year, figuring that he would learn what he needed to know about legal practice faster if he were actually doing it than sitting in classrooms. (Today, that wouldn't be possible, thanks to licensing requirements.) The same thing is true in other fields -- ... Read More
Culture

Wednesday Links

Today is ANZAC Day, the anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli: Here's some history, a documentary, and a Lego re-enactment. How DNA Can Lead to Wrongful Convictions: Labs today can identify people with DNA from just a handful of cells, but a handful of cells can easily migrate. The 19th-century art of ... Read More
World

Microscopic Dots. Let’s Look at Them.

Stuart E. Eizenstat has written a big book on the Carter presidency. (Eizenstat was Carter’s chief domestic-policy adviser. He also had a substantial hand in foreign affairs.) I have reviewed the book for the forthcoming NR. Eizenstat tells the story of a meeting between President Carter and Andrei Gromyko, the ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Alfie and Haleigh and Charlie and Jahi

When British hospital officials tried to pull the plug on 23-month-old toddler Alfie Evans on Monday night in arrogant defiance of his parents' wishes, many Americans took to Twitter to count their blessings that they live in a country that would not allow such tyranny. "Stories like Alfie Evans make me ... Read More