Last night’s final presidential debate left no clear winner or loser—each side claimed that its candidate carried the night. If the same division persists in the Electoral College on November 6, what will be the result?
A scenario being discussed with greater frequency these days is a tie, with 269 votes for each candidate. Since it takes 270 Electoral College votes to win, what happens then? The House of Representatives would choose the president—since the House is likely to be under Republican control, Mr. Romney would be designated the Chief Executive. The Senate would then choose the vice-president—since it is likely to be under Democratic control, Mr. Biden would be chosen for this office. In the case of a tie in the Senate, Mr. Biden could cast the deciding vote to elect himself.
Last week I heard James Carville and Mary Matalin discuss the presidential campaign. Carville is a long-time Democratic strategist; Matalin is a long-time Republican political consultant. The fact that they are married adds to the uniqueness of their views. When asked who would win, Carville said that he frankly didn’t know. This race is as close as any he has seen, and he has seen many.
What does the state of the election say about our culture?
Some facts are obvious: fewer straight-line party voters and more independents leads to greater volatility. We’re struggling to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression, with challenges and chaos abroad—voters are clearly split on the best solutions to our problems. But I think a deeper trend is at work.
For a generation we’ve been taught that truth is personal and ethics are subjective. “You have no right to impose your morals on me” is the mantra of our day. So long as we’re sincere in our beliefs and tolerant of others we’ll all get along, or so we’re told. As a result, we’ve lost what scholars call our “meta-narrative”—an overarching vision for our nation. Ask three Americans what our country should stand for and you’ll get three answers. We’re split on the election because we don’t have an objective purpose by which to measure the candidates.
The good news is that democracy is working—we’re two weeks from a very close election, but civility still rules our society. But what about the foundations of our democracy? President Washington called “religion and morality” the “indispensible supports” of political prosperity—are they growing stronger or weaker?
To strengthen our democracy, we need a King. Not a candidate we elect but a Savior we serve. How would our nation be blessed if we were to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33)? What will you do today to show the way?