No Labels Leader Floats Insane “Contingent Election” Scenario

Just wow via NYT:

No Labels, the group that for months has pledged to run a centrist presidential ticket in the event of a rematch between President Biden and former President Donald J. Trump, is running out of time to recruit a standard-bearer after a string of rejections.

With a number of prominent prospective candidates saying no thanks in recent months, some No Labels members and leaders have grown frustrated with the failure to advance a ticket, according to two people involved with the group and notes provided to The New York Times from a recent video meeting of No Labels delegates.

Still, the group’s leadership continues to hold out hope for November, even as the possibility of outright defeating both Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump seems increasingly remote. Leaders have promoted a far-fetched scenario in which the group could play the role of power broker in the general election if neither major-party candidate reaches an outright majority.

As the group charts a path forward, deadlines to get on state ballots are approaching….

Later in Tuesday’s video conference, Mr. Davis walked the group through a scenario in which a No Labels ticket could win several states in the general election, depriving Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump of the 270 electoral college votes required to win.

Such an outcome would prompt a contingent election — a constitutional provision by which the president is chosen by the House of Representatives, and the vice president by the Senate. Such a scenario has not occurred since the 1800s.

In Mr. Davis’s telling, representatives of a major party might opt for the No Labels candidate over the other party’s candidate. In the interview, Mr. Davis said he had discussed the matter on the call to address concerns among delegates about the possibility. He also said Mr. Biden was inviting such a scenario by, in Mr. Davis’s view, framing his campaign as an effort purely to stop Mr. Trump.

“It seems to me Biden is more interested in stopping Trump than anything else,” Mr. Davis said. “Funny things happen. That’s all I can say.”

A contingent election would be a “mind-boggling disaster,” said William Ewald, a constitutional legal scholar at Carey Law School at the University of Pennsylvania. “In an election in the present political climate, whoever won, there would be people rioting in the streets, and not figuratively.”

On Tuesday’s video conference, Mr. Davis — once a fixture of the moderate Republican establishment that has been exiled by the forces aligned behind Mr. Trump — described how No Labels might intervene before the matter even made it to Congress.

In his scenario, so-called faithless electors from any number of states might trade their support for “policy concessions” brokered by No Labels.

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