This website has long maintained that there is very little ideological difference between U.S. President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the GOP nominee-in-waiting.  There’s plenty of rhetorical differences, mind you, but when you actually break down the records of the two candidates you’ll discover that they have a shared affinity for big spending, tax hikes, corporate cronyism and socialized medicine.

Which means our country is screwed no matter which candidate it picks …

But what happens if come November America picks both Romney and Obama?  In other words, what if after all the ballots are counted both Romney and Obama wind up with 269 electoral votes (one short of what they need to win)?

CNN’s Peter Hamby has an interesting story up this week that delves into this possibility – which we admit we’ve never even stopped to consider.  In fact Hamby lays out this “startlingly real” prospect via eight different possible scenarios … including one in which Romney takes Florida, Iowa New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio while Obama wins Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Add up those numbers and you’ve got Obama 269, Romney 269.

Of course assuming that scenario – or one of the other 269-269 scenarios Hamby explores  – were to actually play out, would a tie really result in a tie?

Remember, we’re assuming that 538 politicos (having just been endowed with unprecedented power) are all going to do as they are supposed to do more than a month after the fact – in which case the U.S. House of Representatives would vote to break the tie in January.

As Hamby notes, this has happened before – following the election of 1824 in which none of the four candidates running received a majority of Electoral College votes (forcing the U.S. House to settle the issue).

So … we know such a scenario playing out is possible, but is it plausible?

We’ll find out soon enough … in the meantime, though, we believe that this is yet another example of the need to do away with the Electoral College and institute a national popular vote to determine the winner of the White House each year.

Under the current system, candidates are basically running to be president of a handful of swing states – not a nation.  That’s terrible for democracy, and it partially disenfranchises millions of voters on the basis of geography.

Candidates should sell their ideas to all Americans … and those voters should be empowered with real options, not the lesser of two mainstream media selected evils.