"The election of the President and Vice President of the United States is an indirect vote in which citizens cast ballots for a set of members of the U.S. Electoral College. These electors then cast direct votes for the President and Vice President. If both votes result in an absolute majority, the election is over. If a majority of electors do not vote for President, the House of Representatives chooses the President; if a majority of electors do not vote for Vice President, the Senate votes." wiki
The 50 states run the popular elections that more or less guide the state governments in selecting members of the US Electoral College. This is a very indirect system of elections and IMO it reflects the distrust felt by the framers of the US Constitution for what they would have thought of as the "mob." Every four years there are arguments for amendment of the constitution to make the presidential and vice-presidential elections more direct. Such arguments never go anywhere.
If no candidate has a majority of electoral college votes the election goes to the congress to decide the outcome. In 1824 and 1876 the presidential election process arrived in the House of Representatives. John Quincy Adams (1824) and Rutherford B Hayes. (1876) were then elected in a politically "bloody" process.
Could we end up with something like that again?
Consider a scenario in which Cruz wins the republication nomination, Trump then runs an independent campaign, HC gains the Democratic nomination and Bernie's Children's Crusade runs a massive country-wide write-in effort.
Could we be sure that one of these would be given enough electors by the states to have a majority in the real Electoral College election?
This could be a very, very interesting year. pl