A Dangerous Vacancy

Today’s is one of my nerdy/what if articles. It centers around Section 2 of the 25th Amendment and the current political environment in America.

During the Trump administration there was much talk about invoking the 25th Amendment but it centered on Section 4 which deals with removing an incompetent president from office. Section 2 deals with filing a vacancy in the Vice Presidency between elections. It reads, “Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take the office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both House of Congress.”

My concern is if such a vacancy should occur after January 3, 2023 but prior to January 20, 2025. This could happen in any of several ways, which I will not bore my readers with today. Remember, in the next Congress the Republicans will have the votes to name the next Speaker of the House which if the Vice Presidency were vacant would be next in line to the president. Unless they shoot themselves in the political foot the next Speaker will be a Republican. As of this writing the most likely (but far from a sure thing) pick is Kevin McCarthy with Donald Trump pulling the stings by remote control.

In such a scenario do you really expect the House Republicans would confirm a Biden or Harris pick? There is not much history along these lines to go on (the 25th Amendment was only ratified in 1967) but I’d expect a rather innocuous pick. Say, a veteran House member from a safe Democratic district who could make the Veep spot their swan song. Someone like Steny Hoyer or James Clyburn. Not a lot of controversy there.

Especially if Trump, or someone like him, was making the call from behind the scenes I doubt any Democratic pick could get the confirmed in the House. That would leave the spot vacant and the Speaker next in line. It’s a real off chance that in a two year period both Biden and Harris would have to leave office but what were the odds of Mitch McConnell’s play to prevent Merrick Garland from getting a hearing, let alone confirmed, would result in Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court? Keep in mind the Republicans don’t have to get “their pick” in the Vice President’s spot; they already have the top succession spot in this scenario.

If you thought it couldn’t get worse consider this: as of this writing it appears the Republicans have insisted that the new Speaker reinstate the rule that banished both John Boehner and Paul Ryan. The caucus would have the ability to replace their leader at any point in time. So if McCarthy suddenly became next in line a “puppeteer” (think Trump) could bring about his replacement with someone more loyal to the “puppeteer” say a Marjorie Taylor Green or Elise Stefanik.

Elections have consequences and it’s stuff like this that keeps me up at night. I hope I don’t do the same to you.

This article was written well ahead of publishing in order to accommodate my year end hiatus and is the property of tellthetruthonthem.com. Its content may not be used without citing the source. It may not be reproduced without the permission of Larry Marciniak.

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