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July 14, 2015

By: Jerry H. Goldfeder

It seems as if there is a new presidential candidate every week, leaving us bemused, perplexed, concerned, or a little bit of each.   So let’s take a few minutes off.   In the great tradition of Preston Sturges’ Sullivan’s Travels, I invite you to muse about the process by tuning into HBO’s wildly popular show, Veep.

At the end of Season 4 last month, the wacky and irrepressible TV President Selina Meyer (aka Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is on the verge of being elected president in her own right. For those who are new to the series, here is a thumbnail:  Selina ran for President in Season 1, tanked in the polls and joined the ticket as Vice President; the incumbent resigned in Season 3 and she unexpectedly became President; in Season 4, Selina runs for the top job.  Season 4′s finale was Election Night.  Spoiler alert: Selina and her opponent tie!  Each has 269 electoral college votes, just missing the magic number of 270.  No one wins.

Sound far-fetched?  Some in the commentariat thought the Obama-Romney race might wind up this way.  TV, of course, easily makes the improbable happen, and viewers undoubtedly went racing for their US constitutions to figure out what would happen next.  I immediately regressed into “constitutional crisis mode,” the episode reminding me of the Bush-Gore fiasco in 2000 when a full 36 days elapsed before anyone knew who was elected president.

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