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On January 15, 2013, Rachel Maddow spent ten minutes (video) warning her audience about the GOP's plan to change how some states might change the way some states select their Presidential Electors. Under the GOP plan, some states would stop selecting electors using the predominant winner take all model and award electors by US House districts. The latter model is used currently by Maine and Nebraska. This could pose serious problems for us in 2016 if GOP legislatures change the rules in reliably blue states. See this rec listed diary. However, there are some things to keep in mind.

First, changing the rules could backfire in some states. According to Maddow, the states most likely to change their rules are Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. These are states that Obama won where the GOP controls the political branches of state government. Granted, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are generally blue states, and if the rules change in those states, it will drag down on our 2016 nominee. However, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia are swing states. Moreover, in 2012, FL and VA were tilted toward the GOP in Nate Silver's probability analysis. We had a big advantage last year because Obama is a consummate politician like Clinton and Dub-ya; Romney was worse than Bob Dole and John McCain in 2008. If the GOP candidate gets the highest vote total in FL in 2016, the House district plan costs him (and it will be a "him") electors in the greater Miami area and maybe in the I-4 corridor.

Second, if the GOP pushes for changes in blue states only, then it becomes a blatant, unfair power grab. This would be a potent line of attack with moderate voters because it violates basic notions of little-d democratic fairness. Our line of attack is, "Why not change the rules in Georgia, Texas, and other southern states? Simply, they want to silence the votes of Democrats living in big cities while increasing the power of those living in deep red areas." Indeed, we can point out the Nebraska Legislature thought about adopting a winner take all system for 2012 to prevent Obama from winning an elector in Omaha as he did in 2008.

Third, if the rules change, campaign strategies will also change. Campaigns will shift their focus away from winning statewide races to winning House districts and states that still use winner take all. This could be bad for GOP representatives living in swing districts who would face battles on two fronts. Indeed, the PA GOP thought about adopting a congressional district plan before 2012. However, GOP House freshmen didn't want to campaign against their House opponent and President Obama.

Fourth, we have a great counterplan: the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. If that plan is adopted, every vote counts equally. Votes by Democrats in red states and Republicans in blue states will count for something. The parties cannot gerrymander their way to victory. Yes, the Democrats would have an advantage by focusing on big cities, but Republicans would be able to focus on suburbs and exurbs. Adopting the compact would be very difficult to implement by the end of 2015; however, it would point the way forward to a better system. It would compare favorably to the Maine/Nebraska system.

In conclusion, we have great arguments against the GOP scheme to rig the 2016 election. Moreover, adopting the Maine plan is not a slam dunk for the GOP so we many even be able to convince Republican state legislators to reject it. In the short term, that's our best hope to prevent the proposed changes.

NOTE: So, this entry did not make the rec list; however, I did get a some love from the Rachel Maddow Show (from Jan 25 show; see time index 08:20) even if she did completely ignore the substance of the post. In the video, she comments that of the six states considering the Maine/Nebraska plan, only Michigan is now seriously considering moving ahead. Since this story has gained traction nationally, key government leaders in Florida and Virginia have rejected the Maine/Nebraska plan. Officials in Ohio and Pennsylvania are now cool to it. No word yet on what Scott Walker is thinking. However, Michigan has been a solid blue state since 1990 (Bush 41 won in 1988, Clinton in 1992), and Michigan will have 16 electoral votes in 2016 and 2020.

Also, take a look at journal entitled Electoral college Redmap strategy is detrimental to the Republican Reps.


What system do you support for electing the President?

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| 113 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Regarding the NPVIC ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It would be very difficult to implement NPVIC over Republican objections. The GOP's public reason for opposing NPVIC is that voter fraud would become rampent in states with the weakest voter suppression laws. That state would become the weakest link. The compact does not take effect until the total EVs of states that sign on is greater than 269. Here's the state of play in the states:

    Approved (132 EV): CA, DC, HI, IL, MA, MD, NJ, VT, WA

    Full DEM control of political branches (41 EV): CO, CT, DE, MN, OR, WV

    Possible full DEM control in 2015 (74 EV): ME, NV, NH, NM, IA, NY

    Referendum states that are not bright red (34 EV): MI, OH

    Total EV for all listed states is 281.

    Also, CO, ME, NV, OR are referendum states. Also, note that NY is Gov. Andrew Cuomo's home state. If he wants to run for President in 2016, he has a personal interest in stopping the GOP's scheming.

    •  Current System Maximizes Fraud Opps & Incentives (0+ / 0-)

      The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud, coercion, intimidation, confusion, and voter suppression. A very few people can change the national outcome by adding, changing, or suppressing a small number of votes in one closely divided battleground state. With the current system all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state. The sheer magnitude of the national popular vote number, compared to individual state vote totals, is much more robust against manipulation.

      National Popular Vote would limit the benefits to be gained by fraud or voter suppression.  One suppressed vote would be one less vote. One fraudulent vote would only win one vote in the return. In the current electoral system, one fraudulent vote could mean 55 electoral votes, or just enough electoral votes to win the presidency without having the most popular votes in the country.

      The closest popular-vote election in American history (in 1960), had a nationwide margin of more than 100,000 popular votes.  The closest electoral-vote election in American history (in 2000) was determined by 537 votes, all in one state, when there was a lead of 537,179 (1,000 times more) popular votes nationwide.

      For a national popular vote election to be as easy to switch as 2000, it would have to be two hundred times closer than the 1960 election--and, in popular-vote terms, forty times closer than 2000 itself.

      Which system offers vote suppressors or fraudulent voters a better shot at success for a smaller effort?

  •  No, (0+ / 0-)

    I think our best plan is to defeat Democratic legislatures and governors in blue states.  The swing states will take care of themselves.  I can't imagine the republicans giving up the opportunity to take all the electoral votes in Florida and Virginia.  Especially since we know that NY and California aren't going to.

  •  They've tried this in CA and failed. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    janmtairy, here4tehbeer, exterris

    If Democrats put enough investment into educating the voters as to what they would be voting on, the GOP won't win any of those initiatives.  Now, for those states where the GOP has the ability to force through such a measure via the legislative process, that presents a bigger challenge. The best response is to put a lot of money into state races and beat the GOP.  

    Alternative rock with something to say:

    by khyber900 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 03:43:03 PM PST

  •  The electoral college (0+ / 0-)

    is a messy constitutional anachronism. Even as it is structured in 48 of the states with the winner take all provisions it still opens the possibility that an election can turn out contrary to the popular vote. It favors the states with smaller populations. It does not conform to the principle of one person one vote.

    As long as it is allowed to continue this sort of political game playing is a possibility.

  •  Bare knuckles, standing 8 count, no "saved (0+ / 0-)

    by the bell", last candidate standing.  Cut man/VP is key.  Candidates would train rather than campaign, sparing the nation a lot of money and acrimony.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 04:54:37 PM PST

  •  Seems to me we need to go after congressional (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    district maps at the state level.  Challenge gerrymandered borders in court and keep challenging them based on 14th amendment rights.  Equal protection goes for voting rights too.  Just ask the Supreme -Creep- Court.  Clearly the rethugs in 2010 pushed very hard to get state legislatures and governor positions to control the census maps.  That was very smart.  Us Dems don't think this way apparently.  We should.  We need to put up a fight to control these maps.  Obviously, the rethugs won control which gave them control of the house even without majority voting.  They want to do the same for the electoral college.  We need to challenge these redistricting all the way to the Supreme Creeps and make them cut out the gerrymandered districts.  We need fair representation, not predefined regional princes.  

    "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength", George Orwell, "1984" -7.63 -5.95

    by dangoch on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:51:05 PM PST

  •  One thing I just thought of (0+ / 0-)

    If this sort of arrangement became widely spread, the President would have a radically different relationship with the House.  I don't know who would gain more leverage, but I'd think it would be the President.

    There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

    by slothlax on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 07:57:50 PM PST

  •  Electoral college / popular vote. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NM Ward Chair

    The electoral college is a compromise between the big states and the small ones. Allotting electors by congressional district breaks that compromise by overly favoring the small states. Add in this being done to produce a desired out come - only going by the district level if it helps the GOP - and the problem is even greater.

    I don't generally advocate for the popular vote, but I would greatly prefer the popular vote over this sort of rigged system. If the compromise is broken, abandon it.

    The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

    by A Citizen on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:55:08 PM PST

  •  Gerrymandering is already a manipulation of (0+ / 0-)

    the Democratic process.  Gerrymandering is only possible by the misuse of voter registration information.  Elected officials are using the census data as a means to rig elections.

    I have made living decisions myself based partly on the congressional district and I would be pretty upset if I was gerrymandered into another district after purchasing my house.

    I wonder if politicians take this into consideration when they decide where the lines are drawn?

    Personally, I don't like the idea of mine or anyone's census data being exploited to subvert our vote and rig an election in their favor.

  •  As of today I have written (0+ / 0-)

    letters to  two of my  Pa  state senators and neither one has given me  a reply. No surprise there as they are both Republicans. If this passes then the ACLU should get involved as my vote here in PA will no longer count since I live in Republican Hell North Western PA

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