And, if successful in elevating Scholten, Biden’s trip could serve as a backstop for his own presidential bid.
A Scholten victory would likely give Democrats eight of Michigan’s 14 seats in the House, helping House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s newly stated goal of blocking Trump from a last-gasp effort to remain in the White House if he does not win the November election.
It’s all very complicated, but there is a remote chance that neither Trump nor Biden will be a clear winner in the electoral college.
In such a scenario, deciding the presidency falls to the House of Representatives, but in a rare twist mandated by the 12th Amendment after the contested 1800 election, each state’s delegation counts as one vote. So Montana and Alaska, with just one at-large representative, count the same as California with its 53 members and Texas with 36 members.
The victor must receive at least 26 votes, a clear majority. Trump, in recent days, has proclaimed he is ready to fight in courts if he should lose the race, and that he is ready to force the matter all the way to the House.
“I don’t want to go back to Congress, even though we have an advantage if we go back to Congress,” Trump told supporters at a rally Saturday in central Pennsylvania. “Does everyone understand that? I think it’s 26 to 22 or something.”
That is true — for now. Republicans have the delegation majority in 26 states, Democrats have 22 states, while Pennsylvania and Michigan are essentially tied. But, as Pelosi (D-Calif.) noted in a memo to her caucus Sunday, the new Congress sworn in the first week of January would cast those votes early next year ahead of the scheduled Jan. 20 inauguration.
With an already huge cash advantage over House Republicans, Pelosi has pleaded with her caucus and her donors to open their checkbooks to help flip those majorities to Democrats and cut off Trump’s path to a second term.
“What we hope to accomplish is to send a very clear message on Election Day to the president: There ain’t no light at [the end of] the tunnel for you in the House of Representatives,” Pelosi said Thursday at her weekly news conference. “That isn’t going to work. So don’t cause chaos because you think it will lead to a light at the end of the tunnel, because that light at the end of the tunnel in the House is going to be a train coming right at your plans.”
That message has landed in a select group of about 15 districts across six states, where already competitive races for the House now carry an even greater weight.
“The future of the presidency hangs in your race? No pressure there,” Scholten joked Thursday in a Zoom call with other Democratic candidates. “Right? We are certainly aware of the discussions around this.”
Michigan landed at an even seven-seven split after Democratic gains in the 2018 midterm elections. Then, Rep. Justin Amash