How a “write-in Bernie” movement could hand the GOP the election

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The following blog posts contains hypothetical electoral college maps that I created at the 270ToWin website. Since, at the time I wrote the initial draft of this blog post, Donald Trump had not yet clinched the Republican presidential nomination, the label for the Republican candidate on the electoral college maps simply reads “Republican” instead of “Trump”. The label for the Democratic candidate on the electoral college maps reads “Clinton”, because the initial draft of the blog post was written as a hypothetical scenario of Hillary Clinton winning the Democratic presidential nomination.


Let me state clearly that, barring extraordinary circumstances, I will vote for the Democratic presidential and vice-presidential ticket in the general election. Hillary Clinton is expected to be elected Democratic presidential nominee at next month’s Democratic National Convention, and she has not picked a vice-presidential candidate at this time, although her campaign appears to be vetting Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for the role. In any case, delegates to the DNC have the final say over who the Democratic presidential and vice-presidential tickets are.

However, in eight states (Iowa, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont), voters can write in the name of anyone who is not on the ballot for their state’s presidential or vice-presidential electoral votes. This means that, although I would be strongly opposed to such an effort, voters in the states named above could write-in Bernie Sanders for president in the general election against the Democratic ticket of Hillary and whoever is her running mate. This is despite the fact that Bernie has zero intention of actually running against our party’s ticket.

I’m going to present two scenarios, both of which are at least theoretically possible, now that Hillary is the Democratic nominee, but are highly unlikely.

The first scenario involves Trump and whoever Republicans nominate for Vice President getting an electoral college majority due to a “write-in Bernie” campaign being run completely against Bernie’s will, and this is exactly why I strongly oppose any “write-in Bernie” movement:


The second scenario involves Bernie winning Vermont’s three (3) electoral votes due to enough Vermont voters writing his name in for president against Bernie’s will, and the rest of the states voting in such a manner that Vermont’s electoral votes throws the presidential election into the U.S. House of Representatives:


Since Vermont has a state law that prohibits that state’s electoral college members from voting for anybody other than the candidate or ticket that received the most votes in the presidential election in Vermont, Bernie could not broker the presidential election for one of the major-party nominees in the second scenario, unless Vermont state law were to be changed. As a result, the U.S. House would be asked to elect a new president, and they would likely elect Trump to the White House.

My advice is simple: vote for the Democratic ticket in the general election for president and vice president, and do not write in Bernie’s name for president or any other office.

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