Political truth might be stranger than fiction this year.
It's hard to believe that we're just six days from Election 2016 coming to a close. Or, if you're me, it's difficult to imagine why this isn't over already. I'd like to institute a Constitutional Amendment stipulating that presidential contests cannot begin, nor be discussed on any news outlet, prior to the 6 months immediately preceding Election Day.
But as Nov. 8 does creep up, there is the distant possibility that things will not be resolved by the time Nov. 9 rolls around. For one, the election could be too close to call in key states like Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, or Nevada, where polls have been tightening and both Clinton and Trump have at least a reasonable shot at winning.
Potentially more problematic is what happens if neither Clinton or Trump reach the necessary 270 electoral college votes to clinch the presidency. This could happen in a legitimate tie, a la the Season 4 finale of Veep.
Perhaps more likely (though still a distant possibility) is if independent candidate, Evan McMullin, wins Utah. McMullin has been campaigning hard there, where his generally conservative principles and persona make him a much better fit for the large population of Mormon voters. They're not in love with Clinton's liberal policies, and definitely not cool with the liberal amount of filth regularly spewing from the mouth of Trump. Currently, McMullin is in a 3-way-tie with Clinton and Trump, and thus has a legitimate chance of winning Utah.
If that happened, the electoral map could end up looking like this (and check out the map generator at 270 To Win. It's fun):
You'll notice that McMullin winning Utah's six electoral votes denies both Clinton and Trump from getting to the necessary 270. This has become enough of a possibility that Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight actually wrote about the statistical possibilities, so if you really want to get down and geeky with it, read on here.
In this scenario, the House of Representatives would decide the president, with each state getting one vote. Clinton, McMullin, or Trump would once again need to achieve a majority, which seems (oddly, or not, depending on how you've decided to accept the surreal qualities of this election) like a pretty heavy lift. Republicans control the House, but are divided over Trump. Some would choose him, but others would almost certainly vote for McMullin. Democrats probably won't have enough political capital to pull any Republicans over to Clinton's side, so guess what?
The Senate would then vote, but not between Clinton, Trump, and/or McMullin. They would get to choose between the vice presidential candidates, Tim Kaine and Mike Pence.
Could it be President Kaine or President Pence come January? Odds are low, but that's why I said this was one CRAZY way the election could go.
Image Credit: Elvert Barnes / Flickr