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Grand Theft Election

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- 2123 days ago -
How Republicans Plan to Rig the Electoral College and Steal the White House


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Mari 's (1356)
Friday January 25, 2013, 2:41 pm
Grand Theft Election

How Republicans Plan to Rig the Electoral College and Steal the White House

Workers walk on a giant presidential election map of the United States made of ice in the skating rink at Rockefeller Center, Tuesday, November 2, 2004, in New York.

By Ian Millhiser | January 24, 2013

Endnotes and citations are available in the PDF version of this issue brief.

President Barack Obama won a commanding victory in this November’s elections, defeating Republican candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by nearly 4 percentage points in the popular vote. In doing so, President Obama became the first president to twice win more than 51 percent of the popular vote since President Dwight D. Eisenhower did so in 1956.

If a Republican plan to rig the Electoral College had been in effect in 2012, however, it is reasonably likely that President Romney would be the one meeting with his new cabinet officials in the Oval Office. Under current law, most states allocate all of their electoral votes to the winner of the state as a whole. This Republican Plan to rig future elections, however, would change this in several blue states where Democrats are likely to carry the state’s full slate of electors. Texas, South Carolina, and other safe red states would therefore continue to deliver every single one of their electoral votes to the Republican candidate, while blue states such as Pennsylvania or Michigan would have to give away half or more of theirs to the Republican ticket. The result is a giant thumb on the scale for Republicans, enabling them to take the White House even when the electorate strongly prefers the Democratic candidate.

How the Republican election-rigging plan works

This Republican Plan would reallocate electoral votes so that a maximum of two electoral votes would go to the overall winner of several key blue states. The lion’s share of the state’s electors would then be allocated one by one to the presidential candidate who won each individual congressional district. (see Figure 1) Thus, in a blue state such as Michigan—which President Obama won by nearly 10 points in 2012—Gov. Romney would have received 9 of the state’s 16 electoral votes because he received more votes than the president did in nine of the state’s congressional districts. In other words, the Republican candidate would receive more than half of the state’s electoral votes despite being overwhelmingly defeated in the state as a whole.


Mari 's (1356)
Friday January 25, 2013, 2:42 pm

Cashing in on gerrymandering

The Republican Plan does not just apply one set of rules in red states and another set of rules in blue states—it also takes advantage of profoundly gerrymandered congressional maps in order to stack the deck even more for Republican presidential candidates. In 2012 Democratic House candidates received nearly 1.4 million more votes than their Republican counterparts. Yet Republican candidates currently hold a 33-seat majority in the House, due in large part to the fact that Republican state legislatures controlled the redistricting process in several key states. Indeed, Republicans were so successful in their efforts to lock in their control of the House of Representatives through gerrymandering that Democratic House candidates would have needed to win the national popular vote by more than 7 percentage points in order to receive the barest majority in the House. Republicans aren’t particularly shy about touting the success of their gerrymanders either: The Republican State Leadership Committee released an extensive memo boasting about how they used gerrymanders to lock down GOP majorities in the House.

The impact of the current congressional maps is most profound in six key states. As explained above, President Obama did win Michigan by nearly 10 points, but Democratic candidates won only 5 of the state’s 14 congressional seats. Likewise, President Obama won Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin—in some cases by comfortable margins—but Republicans dominate the congressional delegations from these states.

Mari 's (1356)
Friday January 25, 2013, 2:43 pm

Notably, all six of these states are currently controlled by Republican governors and legislatures, meaning that all six of them could implement the Republican election-rigging plan before the 2016 election.
Why the Republican Plan is a real threat

Lest there be any doubt, the Republican Plan is not some speculative proposal with no support outside of conservative think tanks and the pages of the National Review. It is widely endorsed by many leading Republicans.

The Republican Plan was first proposed by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) and Republican State Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi in 2011. Later that year a Wisconsin lawmaker circulated a copycat plan to his fellow Republicans, which Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) called an “interesting idea.” Ohio’s top elections official, Republican Secretary of State John Husted, endorsed the plan during a post-election conference, although he later backed off that endorsement following significant criticism. A version of the election-rigging plan is currently pending in the Virginia State Senate, and it was recently reintroduced in the Pennsylvania House.

Perhaps most ominously of all, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus endorsed the plan, and he did not even hide his intention to implement it only in blue states, where it will help the Republican presidential candidate and hurt the Democratic candidate. In Priebus’s words, “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.”

Mari 's (1356)
Friday January 25, 2013, 2:43 pm


When voters gave Republicans temporary control of several state legislatures in 2010, they did not sign away their right to elect different leaders in future elections. Yet Republicans have already wielded their short-lived mandate to draw legislative maps that lock in the GOP’s gains, and many Republicans are poised to implement a new plan that would make it virtually impossible for a Democrat to win the presidency. If the Republican Party can’t win elections fair and square, then their backup plan appears to be nothing more than cheating.

Ian Millhiser is a Senior Constitutional Policy Analyst with the Center for American Progress Action Fund and the Editor of ThinkProgress Justice.

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Past Member (0)
Friday January 25, 2013, 2:52 pm
Democratic states are gerrymandering, too. Where's your outrage there?

Past Member (0)
Friday January 25, 2013, 2:54 pm
Coming off of last year’s midterms, Democrats wearily eyed Illinois as the only state where they could achieve wide redistricting victories. The only question was whether the state’s leadership, which had contributed to a string of recent political failures, would impose lines that could impact the national balance of power. The plan released late last week and already passed through the legislature indicates that state Democrats are prepared to do just that.
Related stories

Democrats' last line of defense against GOP gerrymandering: the Voting Rights Act
Democrats, don't panic over post-Census redistricting
Beyond gerrymandering and Texas posses: US electoral reform
Opinion: Democrats, don't panic over post-Census redistricting
The Monitor's View: California, Florida wisely reject gerrymandering of voting districts
Drawing battle lines in California: Who will be in charge of redistricting?

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If passed into law, Speaker Michael Madigan’s map could turn half a dozen red seats blue, provide an enormous boon to congressional Democrats as they seek to retake the House, and would represent Democrats’ most bold redistricting play in decades.

Democrats in 2010 were denied control of congressional map-drawing in virtually every big state. The passage of Proposition 20 in California stripped the legislature of redistricting power just as the party had finally won back the governorship. Similarly, the Republicans’ recapturing of the New York Senate deprived Empire State Democrats of a long-awaited bonanza.

RELATED: Redistricting 101: Eight facts about redrawing the US political map

there's more here about Illinois:

Maybe you should've picked another topic. Gerrymandering spares no political party.

Past Member (0)
Friday January 25, 2013, 2:55 pm
Sorry about not editing out the ads....

jo M. (3)
Friday January 25, 2013, 11:59 pm
4 percentage points is a commanding victory? I wonder what the proper term would be for Nixon and Reagan's enormous wins. A near complete rout? Frankly I don't think the Republicans need to rig the election, Obama will rig it for them by the time his term is up.

Past Member (0)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 2:50 am
Never underestimate Barack Obama and his Chicago political skills.

Dale Husband (123)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 9:59 am
"Democratic states are gerrymandering, too. Where's your outrage there?"

Are you a Libertarian, Diane? Or a supporter of some other third party that could someday overthrow the Republicans as well as the Democrats? Because if not, you would be part of the problem too. Get busy and help the Libertarians win in 2014 and 2016! No more Republicans!

Mari 's (1356)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 3:10 pm
The real solution that America needs is to ban all political parties period. Every candidate should have to stand on their own. Each representative should only represent the interests of their constituents and the interest of the country as a whole. We don't need this party system that has control over so many of our politicians.

People should be voting for candidates that support their interests, not for candidates that have a specific letter after their name.

Past Member (0)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 4:01 am
Dale, I'm a moderate republican. Although I like parts of the Libertarian platform, I don't agree with all of it. I'm not about to throw my party under the bus to make room for radical ideas. We have a two party system for a reason. It's important to note that the states that are doing well fiscally are run by republican governors. It's also important to note that "gerrymandering" spares no political party. It is also important to note, Dale, that 47% of Americans did not vote for Barack Obama for a second term.

The republican party needs to stay the course on smaller government, lower taxes and fiscal responsibility. President Obama is very high on his own power but I believe the 2014 election will, once again, showcase those Americans who delivered a tsunami vote in 2010 to remove the spending democrats in congress.

I believe in the American people will unanimously vote to uphold our Constitution, get Americans back to work instead of putting them on the government handouts, and restore our reputation around the world as a strong country both fiscally and militarily. Too far left and too far right is too far for Americans. Never underestimate the power of the American voters. You saw what happened in 2012. It can happen again especially with Obama coming out of the closet as a far left wing liberal. Liberals have been calling Obama a "centrist" for five years. Now they have to change that title based on Obama's own words in his inaugural address. You have elected a president who is not even slightly interested in paying down our debt. He is, in fact, asking for more and more money without cuts to our runaway spending.

Obamacare costs have already gone up. They will continue to go up because the plan was wrong from the beginning. The $860 billion failed stimulus showed us in wasted taxpayer dollar terms that Obama was never competent enough to handle a deep recession. Every single one of his green companies went belly up. There's nothing to indicate that Obama will be any different in making poor choices for our country during his next four years.

I'll stay with my party.
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