Remember last year when we in the U.S. exercised our most precious franchise and reelected Barack Obama? Yeah, that was a good day. But it could have easily gone the other way.
There is a plan floating around out there that would give epically gerrymandered congressional districts even more potency: allocate electoral votes by district instead of the state as a whole. This may not sound like much, but it could be a big deal. For example, if Pennsylvania had this system in place for the 2008, instead of Obama taking all 21 electoral votes, he would have received 11, despite having won the state by 10 points. And it has the endorsement of Reince Priebus.
Republicans are in a unique position to make headway with such a plan nationally because Wisconsin and other key states that have gone to the Democratic presidential candidate in recent elections are currently controlled by Republicans at the state level. The change would give Republicans a chance to claim some of those states’ electoral votes.
“I think it’s something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at,” Priebus said of the plan to change how electoral votes are granted.
Such a system “gives more local control” to the states, he argued.
Local control my eye! This is a power grab, plain and simple. This type of system is used by both Maine and Nebraska, so it’s not unheard of or inherently bad. But the cynicism is palpable. And gross.
Look, I know politics will be politics and a lot of people look upon it as a game. A game that can make a few people very rich and powerful, but a game all the same. The problem is that it isn’t game. It’s real life to millions of people. Elections matter. In another time the recent presidential election losses by the GOP would prompt some soul-searching. Like, maybe winning white people isn’t enough anymore. Maybe you should stop speaking about women like we are endowed with cryptic female choice. Maybe steps toward ensuring universal access to health care isn’t the sign of the apocalypse. Maybe it’s time to compromise. Maybe.
I’m not going to pretend that I don’t have a stake in this fight. (I’ve already admitted that I’m totes happy about Obama’s reelection.) However, this move is unseemly no matter what party you talk about. It’s not better when you replace Republicans with Democrats. It’s shifty and underhanded, and it betrays the real goal of elections. Win at all costs. We deserve better than that.
Image credit: Tobyotter