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Pennsylvania GOP Try For Permanent Electoral College Majority

Pennsylvania GOP Try For Permanent Electoral College Majority

 

The Republican war on voting is not just a war on individual voting rights (though that is a significant front to be sure), but it is also a war on the process of ensuring representation that the federal level reflects the structural compromises necessary to actually govern. At the federal level we see this in the bizarre campaign to repeal the 17th Amendment, embraced by GOP Presidential front-runner Rick Perry, for example.

At the state level, a new strategy has emerged thanks to Republicans in Pennsylvania. There the GOP leadership is proposing an end to the winner-take-all system of apportioning the state’s electoral votes and replacing it with one that would do so by congressional district.

That may not sound like such a controversial idea, until you place it in the context of the overall redistricting battle taking place across the country. One impact of the November 2010 elections ushering in a hard-right conservative class is a concerted effort to gerrymander congressional districts into permanent Republican majorities. With those new districts set, it stands to reason that as those congressional districts remain permanently Republican, so too would the electoral college votes.

So it is no surprise then that this kind of proposal surfaces in a politically purple state during a redistricting year. In 2012, after redistricting, Pennsylvania will have 20 electoral votes and 18 congressional districts. Under the Republican proposal each of the districts would elect one presidential elector; the other two would be apportioned on the basis of the popular vote.

Now, if this was a change adopted by every state at the same time and divorced from the gerrymandering currently afoot, then it could be an interesting springboard to re-evaluate how the electoral college functions in our modern elections. But it’s not, which is our first clue as to what is really driving this purported “reform.”

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Photo from hjl via flickr.

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24 comments

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1:34AM PDT on Sep 19, 2011

If the Republicans are so sure they will win, why are they trying so hard to cheat? The way they did it last time should have been good enough! SHAME ON YOU,Republicans!

1:43AM PDT on Sep 17, 2011

Thanks for the article.

2:10PM PDT on Sep 16, 2011

This is precisely why some things should not be left up to the States.

10:30PM PDT on Sep 15, 2011

Gayle R. Nothing new about cheating to win in politics or anywhere else. Been going on since the caves.

1:44PM PDT on Sep 15, 2011

They WOULD. They'll pull anything to keep their foot in the door. so they can go about their itinerary of killing off the citizens of this country. Stop the rotters, and for God's sake watch those voting machines!

12:20PM PDT on Sep 15, 2011

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Every vote, everywhere would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Elections wouldn’t be about winning states or districts. Every vote, everywhere would be counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast. States have the responsibility and power to make their voters relevant in every presidential election. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in the current handful of swing states or districts.

In the 2012 election, pundits and campaign operatives already agree that, at most, only 14 states and their voters will matter under the current winner-take-all laws (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each state) used by 48 of the 50 states. Candidates will not care about at least 72% of the voters- voters-in 19 of the 22 lowest population and medium-small states, and 17 medium and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX. 2012 campaigning would be even more obscenely exclusive than 2008 and 2004. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as polici

11:41AM PDT on Sep 15, 2011

What a slap in the face to the soldiers over in Iraq and Afghanistan who are there to spread democracy while the GOP is trying to kill our democracy. They should be ashamed of themselves.

11:00AM PDT on Sep 15, 2011

the Electoral College should be abolished

10:58AM PDT on Sep 15, 2011

they can't win a fair fight so they cheat and their good at it

10:47AM PDT on Sep 15, 2011

Of course they have to do this ! They can't win a fair fight and have no platform other than god !

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