As you know, President Trump has said that “there was a mad theory” that if the election results are not known by January 20, then Nancy Pelosi would be President. As usually, the MSM has labeled this as false or misleading. It is, of course, correct — mostly.
Let’s start with what happens if the Electoral College cannot certify presidential election results by January 20 and let’s use the Congressional Research Service (a part of the Library of Congress) as our source:
Under the Twentieth Amendment, the incumbent President’s term ends at noon on January 20th. There are no provisions of law permitting a President to stay in office after this date, even in the event of a national emergency, short of the ratification of a new constitutional amendment. If none of the other avenues for selecting a new President have been successful, the vacancy would be filled according to the prescribed rules of succession. If there is neither a President nor Vice President to discharge the powers and duties of the office of President, then the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall act as President. If there is no Speaker, or if the Speaker otherwise fails to qualify as Acting President, then the President pro tempore of the Senate shall act as President.
Let’s be clear on the main point which is that if Electoral College has not certified a new president by January 20, 2021, there will be an Acting President. It will either be the Speaker of the House or President pro tempore of the Senate. It will not be Donald Trump . . . period.
Will it be Nancy Pelosi? Maybe and this is because her own election may not have been certified at that point either. Should that be the case, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) as President pro tempore of the United States Senate would be the Acting President. The permutations here aren’t interesting so let’s just go with “mad theory.”
Marco Rubio has introduced legislation to help mitigate part of the problem which involves extending some dates for the Electoral College. These dates were set long ago before the age of the Internet. His bill would extend the date when Electoral College members cast their votes to January 2, 2021 instead of December 14. This simple change would go a long ways to mitigating concerns about a large number of mail-in ballots being counted in time.
On the other hand, demagoguing against the USPS is a lot more fun than actually solving problems.