Lose Too Many Elections? Change the Rules!

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.

As David Weigel at Slate noted, we have five Republican-led states that have brought up changing to this type of system this year. (And one that has already acted on it.)

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.


Related Posts:

Wisconsin Proposes Big Changes to Electoral College Votes

Pennsylvania GOP Try for Permanent Electoral College Majority

Redistricting: The Easiest Way to Steal an Election


Image credit: Tobyotter


Kimberlee W.
Kimberlee W5 years ago

Personally, I think dividing up the electoral votes is a great idea whose time is overdue.

But I have a caveat to that -
All the districts HAVE to be redrawn in a grid, only extending lines when needed to cover an equal NUMBER of people.

Otherwise, - - - what? You kiddin' me?

Stephen S.
Stephen L5 years ago

Sharon speaks for me, Rose. She is quite right in what she says about you.

Mary L.
Mary L5 years ago

Not surprising and not unexpected. I think the whole country should be divide in squares. of X number of actual voters. That would surely get more people to vot.

The heck with the lines on a map they don't always make a whole lot of sense and most of the time you can't tell where one state ends and another begins without a water feature.

Grace Adams
Grace Adams5 years ago

Cool it everybody, We desperately need to green our energy supply, capture and store carbon, and adapt to the part of climate change that we can't avoid. For it to be politically feasible, we need to do it in such a way that the fat cats in the fossil fuel part of the energy industry can make EVEN MORE money cooperating with the needed changes than with business as usual. That means BUYING AT FULL PRICE all fossil fuel displaced by all changes in national energy po0licy. First off we need a stiff tax first on greenhouse gas emissions and later on all energy regardless of source (phased in slowly enough to result in only a 10% increase in energy prices each year). The prohibitive tariff effect alone can price almost a third of demand before the tax out of the market once the tax is fully phased in. Over half of tax revenue needs to be spent BUYING the fossil fuel displaced by the tax (to be kept underground as reserves) and it is highly regressive which the fat cats GOP should love. What is left of the revenue can be invested in greening the energy supply. Part of the greening of the energy supply can come from diverting military pork--the Military Industrial Complex should not mind that as long as the contracts for greening the energy supply are at least as profitable to them as the military pork they replace. Part will have to come from printing press money. All horribly expensive but a lesser evil that losing farming to climate catastrophe.

Rose L.
Rose L5 years ago

part cut off:

And YOU, Sharon, can refrain in the future from making false claims about what you think you know. Which is nothing much, apparently.

Rose L.
Rose L5 years ago

@ Sharon H: "@Rose L...you never fail to disappoint any of us as we all know what you'll say. We know you hate Obama, Democrats, blacks, gays, Hispanics, women, liberals...did I leave anyone out? Oh yes I did...anyone who is not the 1%."

While you claim I "never fail to disappoint any of us", I suggest, Sharon, that you should speak for yourself.

Sharon, you also claim to KNOW that I "hate Obama, Democrats, blacks, gays, Hispanics, women, liberals...did I leave anyone out?"

Yeah, well perhaps you left your brain out!

It is interesting that you are so SURE of what I hate, but perhaps you should let all of us know what and who it is that you hate. I do not hate Obama the man; I hate the politician's tactics that have divided this country along the lines of race, gender, and class. I do not hate Democrats; I have a son that is a Democrat, a sibling that is a Democrat, a boss that is a Democrat, and friends that are Democrats. But I do not like Democrat politics or tactics. I do not hate blacks, gays, Hispanics, or women. My son is gay, my grandson is half white/half black & my best friend is a Hispanic that is THIS close to getting her citizenship. And I am a woman. I do not hate my own gender.

You would be right about one thing I that I do hate: far left liberal ideology that has taken root like errant weeds in the Democrat party. What happened to the moderates? Because without them, your party is a crappy idea of a joke!

And YOU, Sharon, can refrain in t

Lori Ann Hone
Lori Hone5 years ago

You go Diana B, what she said!

Lori Ann Hone
Lori Hone5 years ago

Electoral College and our voting process are so out of date. The Electoral voting process was setup when it would have taken days by Pony Express to get the voting results back to Washington. With modern technology, i.e computers where immediate results can be had, there is no need for electoral voting. Our political system is long over due to be redone.

Diana Bair
Diana Bair5 years ago

Republicians are total......HYPOCRITES, Maybe a lot of people are seeing them as they really ..ARE!!!!!!, They really just WANT TO TO BE IN OFFICE .....FOR THEMSELVES...NOT THE PEOPLE!!!!!!!. They are rich before elected, then become richer while in office, because they make laws to ...HELP ONLY THEM AND PEOPLE LIKE...THEM!!!!!. And a lot of people vote because of ignorance,hate,misunderstanding,,etc!!!!!!!. republicians used to be just the opp. of what they are...NOW!!!!!!, They used to care about the people they were supposed to ...SERVE and ...REPRESENT!!!!!!!, NOW ALL THEY SERVE ARE....THEMSELVES!!!!!!. I have ...SAID over and over .....THESE ARE NOT TRUE REPUBLICIANS!!!!!!!....WHO LISTENS???????? This is a ...HATE PARTY.Diana.

Patty B.
Patty B5 years ago

and the gerrymandering has already started ..by the Repubs of course.