I was the risk manager for a major corporation. One of the challenges of that position is the failure of most people to understand risk. For a lot of people, if they didn’t see something on color TV, it didn’t happen. The first color television broadcast was broadcast in 1951, but the colors were not quite true to life. CBS because airing the first color television series, the World is Yours, on June 27, 1951. The first major show broadcast was Dragnet in 1953. However, color TV did not really catch on until the 1960s. That is because color TV sets were expensive, they weren’t very good and only a few shows were broadcast in color. They were still selling more black and white TV sets than color TV sets in the early 70s.
Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color was broadcast in September 1961 and that changed everything. Suddenly, color TVs began to make sense. Prior to that most TVs were black and white, and most shows were broadcast in black and white. Younger people do not realize that live broadcast of the Kennedy Assassination, in November 1963, was broadcast in black and white.
The point is that color TV has not been around all that long and a lot of things that happened before color TV can and will happen again. Risk managers know this. Floods, for example, occur on 50-year, 100-year and 200-year cycles. Most people have never seen a 200-year flood, but they have happened in the past and they will happen in the future.
Presidential elections have all been resolved the same way for a long time. There is a vote. Then, as a result of this vote electors are chosen based on which candidate won that state. The electors meet on the 14th of December and vote for President. But the electors don’t elect the president. It is just that this has happened exactly this way for so long that few people know how it really works. The president is elected when and only when congress approves the vote of the electoral college. All it would take is one Congressional Representative and one Senator to vote no, and then congress must decide who is the next president. Even if this happens, one expects congress to vote the same way as the electoral college. But they are not required to do that.
It is hard to imagine congress rejecting the vote of the electoral college, but a lot of things about 2020 are hard to imagine. Imagine that the Trump campaign finds smoking gun undeniable evidence of systemic voter fraud, after the states certify their votes, but before the electoral college votes. What if the evidence was impossible to ignore? Even some Democrats would be likely to be seriously concerned about that.
There are other things that could happen that would also create an interesting dilemma. Just imagine, for example, a special prosecutor is appointed to investigate Joe Biden regarding corruption. There is more than enough evidence already to justify that.That may actually be more likely than not. John Durham has yet to release his report on the origins of the Russian investigation. Guess who was a key participant in that? You guessed it, Joe Biden. What if Joe Biden starts showing increasing signs of senility? What if he is clearly not up to the job of president? What if he failed a cognitive test? What if he caught COVID-19? What if he had a stroke? What if he died? Don’t assume that congress would automatically vote for Kamala Harris to become President of the United States.
I am predicting none of this. Odds are the states will certify the vote, the electoral college will vote, and congress will vote to accept. It has happened exactly that way for longer than anyone can imagine. But that is not what the constitution says. Like I said, nothing about 2020 would be beyond imagining.
But the good news is whatever happens, we will watch it on color TV.