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Larry Sabato guest blogger: GOP election rigging scheme undemocratic

by: Eric B.

Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 16:31:11 PM EST


We've moved from the merely odd to the surreal world of where life almost identically resembles an older episode of The Simpsons with the GOP's plan to win the presidency by rigging the election. The latest today is at Larry Sabato's blog, written by a guest writer.

The current method of allocating electoral votes, based on a winner-take-all rule in every state except Maine and Nebraska, actually serves to closely approximate the ideal method of choosing the president in a democracy: direct popular election. Under the current system, there is a very close relationship between the outcome of the popular vote and the outcome of the electoral vote. Only once since 1888 has a president won the electoral vote while losing the popular vote. That happened in 2000, but a very strong case can be made that the 2000 “misfire” was less a result of the Electoral College itself than of serious flaws in the voting process in Florida.

If we can’t have direct popular election of the president — the method that would clearly be the most democratic and the method that polls have consistently found that the large majority of Americans favor — then the next best method of choosing the president is probably the current one of awarding electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis. The current system appears to minimize the chances of an electoral vote misfire in which the winner of the popular vote loses the electoral vote. In contrast, the congressional district method would greatly increase the chances of such a misfire.

Under current circumstances, the congressional district system could well result in a Republican victory even if the Democratic candidate were to win the popular vote by a substantial margin. Such a situation would undoubtedly lead to widespread questioning of the legitimacy of the election and, potentially, a public backlash against the victorious Republican candidate and the GOP itself. Before engaging in a cynical attempt to rig the electoral system, Republican leaders and strategists should consider the potential harm that their actions could do to our democratic form of government and to their own party.

It's not really about legitimate government, of course. To a substantial portion of the Republican Party, it's simply about obtaining and maintaining power.

Eric B. :: Larry Sabato guest blogger: GOP election rigging scheme undemocratic
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