I know … you’ve heard this all before. And, if you’re a reader of this website, you probably have absorbed this statement deep into your DNA. But I want to share a couple of thoughts with you to, in turn, share with friends here and in other parts of the country who may not yet “get it.”
In 2008, the GOP lost countywide races in Harris County, including most of the judicial races that year, for the first time in over a decade. Those losses had consequences, and still are having consequences in our county government and our courthouses, which must be reversed in this election cycle. But many of those races were decided by a just a few hundred votes because tens of thousands of Republican and conservative voters did not vote straight ticket, and did not vote all the way to the end of the ballot. This phenomenon is called the “undervote.” Even in 2010, when we won all of the countywide and statewide races on the Harris County ballot except for Governor, the margins of victory at the bottom of the ballot (where the judicial races are listed) were close because of the undervote in those races.
Friends, you get the local government you don’t vote for. This year, as you go to the polls remember that, and vote—either straight ticket or all the way down the ballot. If there is a specific race in which you don’t want to vote for the GOP candidate, or don’t want to vote for either candidate, you can always go through the list after you’ve voted straight ticket, but before you confirm your vote, and remove or change your vote in that specific race—it’s that easy with electronic voting. But don’t just stop with the races at the top of the ticket. Remember, if conservatives really believe in a limited federal government and returning power to individuals and communities, then we have to reassert responsibility over our local government—and that starts with voting in the races for local offices.
And that point leads to my last point on the local ballot, and another reason to vote all the way down to the end of the ballot: there are important referendums at the very end of the ballot that affect HISD, HCC, and Metro. Please vote in these races, and vote “no” or “against” the bond referendums, and “yes” or “for” the Metro referendum (because of the wording of the Metro referendum, a vote for the referendum will stop Metro from diverting funds away from county and local mobility projects to continue funding expansion of the misguided light-rail project). Don’t let the undervote decide these referendums!
The National Election
We all are focusing on the national election, but we here in Texas know that the fate of the Presidential election is really out of our hands now. Unless a political earthquake suddenly hits the state that no one foresees, Romney will win this state, Ted Cruz will win the Senate race, both houses of our state legislature and our statewide courts and agencies will remain under Republican control, as will our Congressional delegation. The only concern I have about Texas in this cycle is whether all of the Electors that we chose at our state convention will vote for Romney when the time comes.
And I am concerned about the Electors because my larger concern now is about how close this election may be, both on the Presidential level and at the Congressional level. Currently, Republicans not only control the House of Representatives, but we hold the majority of 33 state delegations within House. The control of some of these delegations, like Illinois, is razor thin. We cannot afford to lose a majority of these delegations, even as we may retain control of the House as a whole. Here’s why—it is not inconceivable that this race could end up as the third race in our history to be decided by the House of Representatives; and if so, the House votes by state delegation, with each delegation casting one vote (see Article II, Section 1 and the 12th Amendment, of the U.S. Constitution). Given the lateness of the date when the Electoral College meets in each state to vote, and depending on how the word “immediately” in the 12th Amendment would be construed and applied, the Congress that may decide this election may be the new Congress we elect on November 6th. The party that controls the majority of the delegations will control that vote and decide who becomes President.
Given the current polls, it is not inconceivable that Obama and Romney could tie at 269 Electoral Votes—one less than the majority needed to win the election. This could happen if Romney were to win all of the states that have been shown as in his column, and he wins North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and Iowa; while Obama wins all of the states that have been shown as in his column, and he wins Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. A tie would put the election into the House.
The election also could be thrown into the House if Romney were to win all of the states plus New Hampshire (or loses Iowa and New Hampshire, but wins Wisconsin), giving him 273 Electoral Votes; but then four or more of the GOP-selected Electors choose to vote for some third person rather than Romney.
I hope that neither of these scenarios comes to pass, and that Romney wins decisively, and that the Electors we chose vote as we have entrusted them to vote. But, we must be prepared for all potential outcomes, including the scenario that the Presidential election could be thrown into the lap of the new Congress that takes office after New Year’s Day but before Inauguration Day. Therefore, please encourage your friends across the country to vote not only for Romney and their GOP Senate candidates (because the Senate will vote for the Vice-President if neither ticket wins a majority of the Electoral Vote), but also for their Republican candidates for Congress as if the Presidency will depend on it—it just may. We must retain control of at least 26 delegations to assure a Romney Presidency if the election goes to the House (and we need 51 Senators to assure Ryan is elected as Vice-President).
As for those of you who are GOP Electors in states where your vote is not automatically bound by state law to the winner of the popular vote, don’t breach our trust. Vote for Romney when he wins your state—the Presidency and our children’s future depend on your fidelity to those who entrusted you with this honor and responsibility. And those of you who are friends of persons who have been entrusted with this duty, please do all you can to ensure that your friend fulfills his or her duty correctly.