Ohio: The (Electoral) Heart of It All

In an October 12 entry at the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog, Philip Klein showed readers a map containing a prospective electoral vote outcome for this year’s presidential race between incumbent Democrat Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney which would result in a 269-269 tie.

As I see it, that map–which shows Romney taking every important swing state save one–represents where things really stood that day and where they remained as of when this column was submitted. If there’s an exception, it’s that it shows Obama winning Ohio.

Klein accurately explains that Romney would more than likely have the upper hand if the Electoral College ends up in a tie:

Under the U.S. Constitution … the presidential race is turned over to the House of Representatives (assuming no unexpected defections when the electors formally vote in December).

And here’s the twist: each state would get just one vote, based on what the majority of its own delegation decides. A candidate would thus need 26 votes to win.

By our estimates, Romney should have at least 26 states safely.

While it’s nice that Republicans will, barring a congressional sea change almost no one except Nancy Pelosi is predicting, control a majority of the state delegations in the House in January 2013, Klein’s parenthetical is far more than theoretical.

Just one “faithless elector” withholding his or her vote or voting for someone other than the person to whom he or she is pledged would prevent the tie just described. The operative word appears to be “would,” not “could.” Faithless, accidental (I’m not kidding), or withheld electoral votes have occurred in eight of the past 14 presidential elections and as recently as 2004. Those gambits have apparently stood either unchallenged or not successfully challenged.

This year, in a potentially catastrophic development, Ron Paul loyalists in Nevada and Texas have threatened in advance that they might withhold their votes if Mitt Romney carries their states. A Paul-supporting Iowa elector who promised she would do the same has resigned and been replaced.

There is also the far from small possibility that an Electoral College tie could occur while President Obama receives more popular votes. The best-case scenario if that transpires is that Romney would have to endure at least two years of being cast as “illegitimate” by the left and the press. There are potentially many other very unpleasant and dangerous worst-case scenarios.

All of this explains why Mitt Romney must win Ohio if he wishes to become our 45th president.

I believe, despite Rasmussen’s October 11 estimate of a slight Obama edge, that Romney is barely ahead in the Buckeye State, and that his lead is on track to grow in the remaining weeks of the campaign for a variety of reasons. A few of them include his stellar October 3 debate performance paired with Obama’s virtual no-show; the administration’s lethal security laxness in Benghazi followed by the administration’s thoroughly exposed dishonesty about the true cause and circumstances surrounding the murders of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans; and Obama’s war on coal, where closed coal mines and the Obama campaign’s lying attacks on miners’ credibility appear to have moved the southern and eastern portions of the state from reliably Democratic to perhaps 50-50.

That Romney has the momentum in Ohio is undeniable. The crowds at recent Romney and Ryan appearances have been so large that even chief Obama bootlicker Steve Peoples and his bosses at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, appear to have decided for the sake of whatever remains of their credibility to report them instead of lying about them. A Friday Columbus Dispatch editorial ruthlessly ripped the Obama administration’s handling of the entire Benghazi debacle. It also appears that more voters are figuring out that the Buckeye State has economically outperformed most of the rest of the nation, not because of the “Obama saved the auto industry” myth, but because of the fiscally conservative, mostly growth-oriented policies pursued by GOP Governor John Kasich since he took office in January 2011. Before that–and though much improvement is still needed–Ohio was a pathetic economic laggard.

That the Obama campaign has become very concerned about Ohio is equally undeniable. Team Obama is sending two of the left’s allegedly brightest stars, Bill Clinton and Bruce Springsteen, who originally “said he wouldn’t campaign for Obama” earlier this year, into the state for a joint appearance on October 18.

Springsteen’s official website quotes Obama campaign apparatchik Jim Messina as follows: “Bruce Springsteen’s values echo what the president and vice president stand for: hard work, fairness, integrity.” Exactly how Messina or “The Boss” can reconcile those alleged positive traits with 100-plus rounds of golf, unprecedented cronyism, and enough lies to keep Michael Ramirez at Investor’s Business Daily busy presenting ten each day between now and Election Day if he so chooses–leaving plenty still unnamed–is a complete mystery.

I find it quite interesting that the campaign finds the values of the president to be in harmony, so to speak, with those of a multimillionaire member of the “one percent” who still saw fit to give his unequivocal support to the anachronistic anarchists of the Occupy movement.

It reminds us at a very useful time that Obama and many fellow party members also supported Occupy, and have never retracted their support.

Though he appears well-situated to prevail, there can be no letup by Team Romney in the Buckeye State between now and when the polls close at 7:30 p.m. on Election Day. Ohio truly is the heart of it all this time around.

More: Romney Widens Gallup Lead, Pulls Ahead at RCP

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