Here's how Frank Underwood's outlandish scheme to rig the election in House Of Cards season 5 actually worked. Netflix's House Of Cards is an adaptation of the BBC series of the same name, which starred Ian Richardson as immoral politician Francis Urquhart. The show followed Urquhart's rise to power and he frequently broke the fourth wall to address viewers directly. The original series proved so popular it received two sequels - To Play The King and The Final Cut, which ended with Urquhart's death.
Netflix's House Of Cards remake moved to the action to Washington D.C., where a Congressman named Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and his wife Claire (Robin Wright) scheme, betray, cheat and murder their way to political power. The series also made use of the original show's breaking of the fourth wall, with Underwood delivering chilling monologues to the audience as he outlines his evil schemes. The show was acclaimed for its writing and the performances of the cast, but following several allegations of sexual misconduct against Kevin Spacey, he was fired from the show and the final season focused on Claire Underwood instead.
House Of Cards season 5 would prove to be Frank Underwood's final season, which focused on his crafty scheme to win re-election against all odds. The Underwoods plan to use fear of attack from terrorist group ICO to turn the tide in his favor against Republican rival Will Conway, who is the clear favorite. After his attempts to keep voters away from polling stations manned by the military fails to bring him the results he needs, Underwood decides to get even more underhanded.
To prevent Conway from winning, Frank Underwood targets polling stations in Ohio and Tennessee so neither he nor his rival can receive the required number of electoral college votes. In a theatrical show, Frank even calls Conway to concede the election to make himself look innocent amid the chaos. Two months after this failed election the Twelfth Amendment is invoked, meaning the House Of Representatives must choose a President while the Senate decide a Vice President.
Underwood and Conway - who is showing signs of stress from the never-ending election - split the House vote, but Claire Underwood is chosen as VP. This makes her acting President, so she calls for a special election in Ohio and Tennessee. Luckily for the Underwoods, leaked audio of Conway having a meltdown and other leaks turn the result in their favor, and Frank and Claire are sworn in as President and Vice President.
It's was a complex, borderline outlandish storyline, but House Of Cards season 5 managed to make it feel somewhat plausible at the same time. Of course, Frank doesn't hold on to the Presidency for very long either as he crafts another scheme to pass the role to Claire for his own benefit. This ended up not working in his favor, as the final season revealed.