Yesterday, election day, I read the book Common Ground by Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel. I highly recommend it, if for no other reason than its brief, excellent summary of modern-era American politics. Its subtitle and core message – How to stop the partisan war that is destroying America – is my own personal mantra, so I obviously endorse the rest of the book as well.
In addition to reading the book, while waiting for the polls to close I also did some research on the American electoral process. During that research I stumbled across the following interesting tidbit in a Q&A section on MSNBC.com:
Q: Has a president-elect ever died before taking the oath of office and, if so, how was that situation handled?
A: No, that has never happened. The closest it has come to happening was on Feb. 13, 1933, when a former bricklayer and transient Giuseppe Zangara fired shots at President-elect Franklin Roosevelt just after he finished giving a speech in Miami.
Zangara missed Roosevelt, but one of his shots hit Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak, who subsequently died from his wounds.
If the president-elect died, the national committee of the president-elect’s political party would meet and choose a new nominee, and thus a new president-elect.
The electors, when they meet in the various state capitals on Dec. 15, are free to choose whomever they want, but in all likelihood would go along with the choice made by the national party committee.
If the president-elect died after Congress met on Jan. 6, 2009 to count the votes of the electors, then the vice president-elect would become president on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20.
Note the following: If the president-elect died, the national committee of the president-elect’s political party would meet and choose a new nominee, and thus a new president-elect.
Aside from my friends who are insiders in the Democratic party, how many of you can name the members of the Democratic National Committee?
And who do you suppose those members would choose as the new president-elect? Would they choose the vice-President elect, Joe Biden, who finished back in the pack during the primaries? Or, perhaps, would they choose the last contending candidate to drop out of the Democratic primaries?
We could still see the resurrection of the Candidate of the Borg.
Resistance is Futile.
(For those of you who are non-trekkies, the Borg were the nemesis of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the starship Enterprise in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. The tag line, or motto, of the Borg was "Resistance is Futile.")