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The latest Republican effort to silence you

by: ScottyUrb

Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 14:38:43 PM EST

When you can't win, you have to rig the game.

Already, two states -- Maine and  Nebraska -- award an electoral vote to the winner of each congressional  district. The candidate who wins the most votes statewide takes the  final two at-large electoral votes. Only once, when President Obama won a  congressional district based in Omaha in 2008, has either of those  states actually split their vote.

But if more reliably blue states like Michigan, Pennsylvania,  and Wisconsin were to award their electoral votes proportionally,  Republicans would be able to eat into what has become a deep Democratic  advantage.

All three states have given the Democratic nominee  their electoral votes in each of the last six presidential elections.  Now, senior Republicans in Washington are overseeing legislation in all  three states to end the winner-take-all system.

Had these states enacted similar plans in time for 2012, Obama would have won only 306 electoral votes instead of 332.

By the way:

The proposals, the senior GOP official said, are likely to come up in  each state's legislative session in 2013. Bills have been drafted, and  legislators are talking to party bosses to craft strategy. Saul Anuzis,  the former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, has briefed  Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Chief of Staff  Jeff Larson on his state's proposal. The proposal "is not being met  with the 'We can't do that' answer. It's being met with 'I've already  got a bill started,' " the official said.

UPDATE: I just learned via Twitter that Pete Lund will introduce such a measure next year.

ScottyUrb :: The latest Republican effort to silence you
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Of course it's coming in 2013
This is, of course, an utterly horrible idea on multiple levels ranging from basic fairness to the Constitutional role of the states. it's made even worse thanks to gerrymandering.

So naturally the Republicans are all over it. It might even help explain why they were in such a gawdawful rush to pass as many pernicious and insidious bills as possible during the "inflamed duck" session (h/t to Eclectablog).

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

Does anyone think they have enough votes in the next session to get something this contentious through?  You'd think they'd have done this this month with all the rest of the bullsh%t they passed.  I don't see this as being as clearly partisan as some do, which is why I think we'll be able to peel off enough (five) Republican votes to stop it in the next session.

I'm not sure
I believe the Reps have given up on carrying MI for their Prez candidate anytime soon, so they figure this is a way to "win" the state despite losing the popular vote. Absent another result like '08, right now you can pencil in the MI allocation of EVs for '16 and '20 as 7D/9R.

I see this as clearly partisan, and the Rep legislators are nothing if not partisan Reps. They lose a few votes on issues such as RTW from legislators worried about keeping their seats, but they all seem to hang together on purely partisan votes.

To the average voter, this will seem like just another process issue that's not worth worrying about. I'd guess it's not something that any legislator will lose his/her seat over. Ergo, if it comes to the floor it will pass.

[ Parent ]
Why I said this wasn't partisan is that Dems - including myself - were screaming about dividing up electoral votes during the Bush years, and then I grew up and saw the folly.  I could totally see some GOP folks seeing how this could be bad for them down the road, though, it is tempting for Republicans in Michigan knowing it's a blue state, like you said.

I don't know, I'm not dreading having this argument, because I don't think it's clear-cut enough where it couldn't be stopped in the new House with the right kind of campaign by the community.

[ Parent ]
National Popular Vote
This is a better way to use the electoral college and a good idea in my book.  http://www.fairvote.org/nation...

It would greatly harm a President's ability to govern
Think back to 1992. If Bill Clinton's sole claim to the Presidency was his 43% showing at the polls, there's basically zero chance he could have been an effective leader, with Republicans attacking his legitimacy in the harshest of terms.

Not that Clinton didn't suffer innumerable attacks anyway, up to and including impeachment in his second term (when he only picked up 49%)...but at no time did Republicans claim he hadn't been properly elected, given the number of STATES and Electoral College votes he won compared to Bush 41 and Perot.

The way the EC normally works is as an amplifier: It turns a close election into something akin to a mandate...and a not-so-close one (1972, 1984) into epic landslides. When there are multiple candidates -- in which the winner gets a PLURALITY, not a MAJORITY, such as 1992, 1968 or 1948 -- the EC tally becomes really important in establishing a President-elect's authority.

[Another example: In '68, Nixon only beat Humphrey by < 1%, but overall the DEMOCRATIC total was far greater, once the Wallace votes are added (of course, nowadays Wallace voters would be considered reliable Republicans, but back then they were breakaway Dems). Nixon's victory was cemented by that 301-191-46 win in the Electoral College.]

In that regard, 2000 was an anomaly, where the popular vote and the EC vote were nearly equal, only with different winners. By comparison, 2008 and 2012 were revisions to the classic norm for relatively close elections, in which President Obama's popular vote victories were amplified by the EC margin to the point where only the most brain-dead Kool-Aid drinking wingnuts could argue that Obama wasn't legitimately elected based on the results (which are separate from to doubting his legitimacy based on where he was born).

The EC was also designed to emphasize the role of the States in The United STATES of America, and to make sure that the smallest states still had a voice because of the  formula (House seats + 2 Senators = minimum of 3 votes).

Lacking that formula, smaller states (not to mention all rural areas) would get even LESS attention than they do now, while California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania and Florida -- or, more properly, their vast urban centers -- would wield more power to decide the Presidency.

It's a tradeoff -- some of the absolute fairness of true "one man-one vote" democracy for the STABILITY of federalism and Presidents with more solid claims to victory than we'd otherwise have. But it's one I accept.

Of course, changing the winner-take-all rules at the state level subverts the whole deal. Turning the race for the Presidency into 436 separate mini-elections (including D.C.) is a nightmare scenario that also all-but-guarantees that whichever Party controls the House of Representatives would also control the White House (assuming the 102 votes representing the Senate (plus D.C.) would rarely if ever give one side more than 58-60) -- making the President more of a puppet to the Legislative branch than the true Executive.

But then, Republicans haven't really thought that far ahead. What's good for Michigan and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania would somehow be impossibly divisive (and a partisan Democratic power-grab!) were it applied to, say, Texas and Georgia and Oklahoma. As always, IOKIYAR.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

[ Parent ]

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