Let the House choose the next president

Why not deny 270 electoral votes to both Clinton and Trump?

After two grueling weeks, we have two candidates who are not favored by approximately two-thirds of the electorate. It has been over 75 years since I studied history and civics in school and I understand from my grandchildren that today neither is taught in the fashion to which I was once accustomed so permit me to relate some of what, I believe, I remember from my elementary school days and apply some reasoning to this year's presidential voting dilemma ("In first post-conventions poll, Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump, 46-39," Aug. 1).

When our Founding Fathers formulated the U.S. Constitution, they did so by designing the government to be comparable to that of England. Namely, the Senate would be like the House of Lords and the House of Representatives like the House of Commons. Since we had no monarch, House and Senate would make the laws with the president having veto power. George Washington was elected by the states when the Electoral College met and the people's elected representatives voted for the president. Those representatives were chosen by state legislators with input from the people. Washington was a Federalist and his opponents in the first two elections were anti-Federalists and Democratic-Republicans.

The election of 1800 was known as the "Revolution Election" with a intense smear campaign among four candidates resulting in a nearly four-way tie among all of the candidates with Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr leading. In accordance with the Constitution, since no candidate had a majority of the total electoral votes, the selection of the president went to the House of Representatives. The same happened in 1824. That process has not been used since.

However, 2016 is the year when it should be used again to solve our present problem with the two candidates who have been elected by their respective conventions. Permit me to say, again in my opinion, that this year's election is the most important election since 1860! Anyone who doesn't think that we are on the brink of another civil war hasn't been paying attention.

How do we do it? Well, obviously, no one person can do it. I cannot make a difference with my vote in Maryland with my intention to vote for the Libertarian candidate, since whatever I do will have no effect in Maryland's electoral votes going to the Democratic candidate. But Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas voters could! Let Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush in Florida, Chris Christie (wake up, Chris) in New Jersey, Gov. John Kasich in Ohio, Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania or Sen. Ted Cruz all wake up and get their states behind the Libertarian candidates, and we might be able to push the election to the House.

Those states would total 119 electoral votes, leaving 419 available for the undeserving. If the Republican candidate wins 150 of them which he likely will, no candidate would receive the necessary total of 270!

Our next most important challenge would be to elect House members who would strictly embrace the Constitution. It is only through legislation that laws are passed and amendments formulated and enacted — not by presidential edict.

I have been fortunate to have lived over 80 years in this great country and I am so sad for my children, grandchildren and, soon to arrive, my great-grandson for what is happening to our nation. It sickens me.

Rowland E. King, Towson

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