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3/5 of a person. That should be familiar.  It is how slaves were counted for purposes of representation (and taxation) in the U. S. House in the original Constitution:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.
And as one could read about the proposal in Virginia to change how the state awards its electoral votes, in A Message To The Virginia GOP From A Plantation<?a>, a blog post by Paul Bibeau earlier this week,  
This plan counts the votes of Obama supporters, or Democrats, or "urban people" - Have I used the right code words here? Do we know who we're talking about? - less than other Virginians.

But you need to do the actual math. No one on your side - at least I hope no one on your side - has crunched the numbers. Last election, Barack Obama won 51.16% of the vote. Under the new bill he would have won four of the states 13 electoral votes.

And do you know how much it counts an Obama voter as? (It's 4/13 divided by 51.16%. I'll wait. Do it. Get a calculator. You'll crap yourself.)

IT IS ALMOST EXACTLY THREE FIFTHS.

This bill counts an Obama voter as 3/5 of a person. I don't know if that fraction rings a bell with you. It was kind of a big deal, way back when. Women in fancy dresses, guys in gray - a lot of gray was in style. Is the light coming on now?

H/T to Charles M. Blow, who references the Bilbeau post in his NY Times column today, titled Rig the Vote, which is worth reading  ....

and please continue below the fold for just a few words more.

Blow's final two paragraphs, which come immediately after referencing Bibeau, read as follows:

That is because, as Talking Points Memo says, “Obama voters would have received almost exactly 3/5 of the electoral vote compared to their actual population — 30.7 percent of the electoral vote over 51 percent of the popular vote.”

This is not where we should be in 2013, debating whether to pass bills to reduce urban voters to a fraction of the value of other voters and hoping that someone with the power to stop it thinks it’s a “bad idea.”

The bill will not become law in Virginia. A key Republican state senator opposes it, so it might not even get out of committee in the state senate;  the  Lt. Gov opposes it, and since he has already said he will not break 20-20 ties that are strictly partisan (and the senate is split 20-20 between the two parties) even if it reached the floor he seems committed to killing it; and the Governor opposes it, so even were it to reach his desk he seems committed to vetoing it.

It is worth noting that unlike the two states that now distribute electoral votes by Congressional district (Maine which has never split, and Nebraska which in 2008 gave on e EV to OBama) and as far as I know ALL other current proposals, rather than giving the two EV votes equivalent to the two senators to the candidate winning the statewide total, the Virginia proposal would award the final two EVS to the candidate winning the majority of the Congressional districts, not the majority of the state's votes.  Those districts were heavily gerrymandered, because in 2008 the Dems had won 6 of the state's electoral votes, and even though Glenn Nye and Tom Perriello and Rick Boucher were defeated in 2010, the Republicans were taking no chances and redrew the CDs to make them more Republican friendly.  Obama actually won one CD represented by a Republican.

The proposal came from a state senator whose intention seems racist - he wants rural (for which you can read "white") voters not to be outvoted by urban (for which you can read "black" and to a lesser degree "Hispanic") voters.

It will not go anywhere.

It is ironic that the vote distribution turned out to so closely match the ratio of the 3/5 Compromise.

But then, part of the pushback against Obama has from the beginning been because he was Black.

Odd that the ratio would now increasingly include young people and women as well as people of color.

Again, it won't happen in Virginia.

It seems like the parallel in Florida is also dead, because the Republican heads of the two chambers of the state legislature are opposed to splitting the electoral vote.

But let's be clear -  the intent of such proposal is not merely to steal states for Republicans that they might not otherwise win, it is to diminish the value of the votes of minorities and expand the power of angry old white men.

Like the attempts this past cycle at voter suppression through voter-id laws and limiting access to early voting, this will produce a backlash.

Perhaps those pushing such proposals really do want to make Obama voters count for only 3/5.

In the process what they might be demonstrating is that they themselves have only 3/5 the intelligence and moral character of those whose votes they seek to diminish.

Originally posted to teacherken on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 03:46 AM PST.

Also republished by Virginia Kos and Barriers and Bridges.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (171+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Superskepticalman, Kristina40, Dirtandiron, Portlaw, eagleray, hannah, LordMike, hlsmlane, markthshark, Intheknow, J M F, gulfgal98, Jim R, missLotus, NBBooks, howabout, tampaedski, One Pissed Off Liberal, petulans, ridemybike, cuphalffull, spooks51, rapala, anyname, banjolele, night cat, deha, BachFan, Proud Mom and Grandma, TheLizardKing, Loudoun County Dem, Paul Bibeau, titotitotito, Rogneid, Dartagnan, Nicci August, copymark, irmaly, TheMeansAreTheEnd, MadGeorgiaDem, SD Goat, ratador, lissablack, tofumagoo, Heart of the Rockies, a2nite, Powered Grace, thankgodforairamerica, zenox, beaky, Involuntary Exile, glendaw271, Mark Mywurtz, Its a New Day, FindingMyVoice, Randian, Flynnie, raptavio, artisan, Joy of Fishes, FloridaSNMOM, ChemBob, DefendOurConstitution, Eddie L, wintergreen8694, Canuck in Ohio, zerelda, Lefty Ladig, pamelabrown, Linda1961, Mistral Wind, Subterranean, RUNDOWN, Lily O Lady, anodnhajo, The grouch, commonmass, Nowhere Man, fugwb, wayoutinthestix, annrose, stork, Chitown Kev, Radical Faith, Lorinda Pike, mollyd, Sylv, Joieau, bythesea, litoralis, TracieLynn, Bisbonian, Laurel in CA, VaBreeze, SanJoseLady, radarlady, mofembot, stormicats, FWIW, mconvente, Shockwave, Leftcandid, shaharazade, OldSoldier99, Ree Zen, tiggers thotful spot, Dobber, jamess, GeorgeXVIII, Dave in Columbus, LSmith, Fabienne, middleagedhousewife, glitterlust, bronte17, carpunder, sunny skies, Assaf, JoanMar, Carolyn in Oregon, VTCC73, NWTerriD, getlost, boatjones, USHomeopath, Gowrie Gal, CorinaR, AaronInSanDiego, smoothnmellow, greycat, gfre, drmah, Sun Tzu, OldDragon, ssgbryan, smartdemmg, Statusquomustgo, Robynhood too, Lawrence, PrahaPartizan, Vicky, mamamedusa, murphy, Loge, cpresley, AreDeutz, avsp, WFBMM, 207wickedgood, wonkydonkey, Alice Venturi, Temmoku, BCO gal, DrPlacebo, irishwitch, Laura Wnderer, greengemini, MNGlasnant, Grandma Susie, CA ridebalanced, HarpboyAK, Miss Jones, vacantlook, prfb, Chaddiwicker, multilee, Simplify, wwjjd, blueoregon, dotsright, splashy

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 03:46:41 AM PST

  •  Good catch! (34+ / 0-)

    I love it when people pull facts together in a way that makes them sink under the weight of their own absurdity!

    "The light which puts out our sight is darkness to us." Thoreau

    by NancyWH on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 03:53:30 AM PST

  •  Sad to say ... (31+ / 0-)

    that the VA GOP is showing why the Commonwealth of Virginia should stay under the VRA oversight.

    My elementary school son had to do a "I have a Dream" speech/essay.  His, written before this kerfuffle began last Monday but read to a large school audience this week, was about how he dreamt of 1 person, 1 vote, counting equal and why the Electoral College should be abolished.

    He, in his work, reminded me that the slavery was a player behind the Electoral College.

    Perhaps a few VAGOP Senators should read his essay.

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 05:05:51 AM PST

  •  So if everyone opposes it (0+ / 0-)

    why is it a big deal?  This would never pass a court challenge - so bring it on so we can be done with yet another distraction.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 05:18:15 AM PST

    •  never pass court challenge? (18+ / 0-)

      As far as I know, the constitution says that states can apportion their electoral votes any way the state legislature sees fit.

      I think this would never pass public challenge, just as the turnout numbers this past election "stunned" the GOP.  This sort of attempt to dilute the vote of urban areas would piss off a lot of people normally disinclined to vote.

      I think that there are some marginally sane people in the GOP who realize that a naked grab at power like this would boomerang on them really fast.  There are just not enough angry white folk out in the countryside to outvote the cities, even with such weighting.  These marginally sane people probably realize that the other side would figure out the best way to combat this type of rigging with GOTV efforts.

      •  Nebraska and Maine split the vote that way now. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chitown Kev, Grabber by the Heel

        In Nebraska, the votes corresponding to the two Senators are winner-takes-all, but the other three are decided district by district. That's how the Nebraska vote split McCain 4/ Obama 1 in 2008. After that happened some of the state GOP leaders wanted to go back to state-wide winner-takes-all. Funny how they don't like it if it works in our favor.

        Nebraska's vote-splitting system initially had bipartisan support.

        'Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.' -John Steinbeck

        by Eddie L on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:24:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  not quite (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eddie L, PrahaPartizan, latts

          NE and ME would give 2 EVs representing the senators to winner of state-wide popular vote

          proposal in Virginia would give those 2 to the winner of the most Congressional districts.

          In VA, Obama won the popular vote and 4 CDs.  If following the ME and NE example the split would be 6 DEM EVs and 7 Republican, not 4 and 9 which his how you get to counting the Obama voters as 3/5

          "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

          by teacherken on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:45:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Repugs with statewide and national Ambitions may (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Temmoku

        put the kibash on this themselves. They are trying to rig blue states after all and Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are none too happy with their repug govs and other statewide office holders who belong to The National White Peoples Party formerly known as republicans.

      •  Actually, there IS authority to strike this down, (0+ / 0-)

        e.g. the Apportionment Cases of the '60s.  That is where the phrase 'one man, one vote' comes from.

        While they concerned Congresional apportionment, the language of the Constitutiion is fundementally the same for EC apportionment. Thus, there is no reason those cases should not apply to apportionment, i.e., 'appoint[ment]', of Electors as well.

        As Congressional districting law has developed, the 'one man, one vote' rule has become one of the outer boundaries.  There should be no doubt that a map which put twice as many voters in 1 district as the other 2 (in a 3 district state) would be unconstitutional, as it literally and unnecessarily would give the voters one the former only 1/2 the vote of the voters of the later.

        Since the Va plan does exactly the same thing for voters re: weight of their vote for Electors, this method of 'appoint[ing' same should be just as unConstitutional.  While Art. 2 says "each State shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct", that is not a blank check.  The State exercised that power when it chose to appoint by popular election.  The apportionment of that 'appointment' is an entirely different question.

        OTOH, whether Kennedy and Roberts would have the guts not to simply rubberstamp (or affirming by ducking) thier Thug masters is also another question entirely.

        •  you are wrong (0+ / 0-)

          districts are not based on equal numbers of registered voters, but on equal numbers of residents.  that was what comes from the two one man one vote decisions, one applying to state legislative districts and one to congressional districts

          "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

          by teacherken on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 03:20:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  My argument has nada to do with who votes. (0+ / 0-)

            When you apportion, you have to assumeall registered voters might vote.*  Therefore, if it helps understand, substitute elgible to register, for voter.

            Now, if a rural district had twice as many eligible to register as , you might have something.  But they don't.  Nor would they inherently, if by chance one did.  IOW, you're distinction isn't significant to my argument.
            __
            * Yes, you can conceive of situations where a district might have a disporportionate # of children and of prisoners (in state's where they can't vote), but 1) its very unlikely that discrepancy would significant for these purposes, and 2) it woudl isolated districts and thus not support the scheme as a whole.

            •  representation is by population (0+ / 0-)

              not by who votes.

              We established that with the 3/5 compromise, where slaves gave some states significantly higher representation than they had actual voters.

              Presume three districts.  each for sake of simplicity has 700,000 people recorded in the census.

              District 1 has 600,000 people of voting age, of whom 90% are citizens.  That gives the district 540,000 voter eligibles, of whom 80% vote.  That gives 432,000 people.  

              District 2 has 550,000 people of voting age -  there are a number of ethnic groups with large families.  Of these only 400,000 are citizens - some of those ethnic groups with large families are recent immigrants, or even undocumented aliens.   Of those 400,000 however, 50,000 have felony convictions in a state which makes it almost impossible for felons to get their rights including voting restored.  Now we are down to 350,000, of whom 90% vote.  That district has only 316,800 voters.

              District 3 is a rural district in the midwest, say IA 04.   650,000 are of voting age.  They have the same 90% voting rate. They have 576,000 voters.

              Is there unbalanced representation?  Not if the basis of representation is residents -  and the Constitutional counting never specified citizens.  

              Yet the range of voters is quite wide

              from a low of 316,800 to a high of 576,000.

              "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

              by teacherken on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 04:28:30 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I addressed this in the footnote. Bc your hypos (0+ / 0-)

                are 1) unlikely, and 2) at most isolated to a single district, there is no significant difference bt the # of person who might be able to vote and population in districts.  IOW, your turnout-based examples are irrelevant.  
                Turnout varies from elections to election, year to year.  

                The same is generally likely as regards residents not eligible to register to vote.  Yes, I can envision a map where 1 district has 75% of the potential voters of another.  (Note, your IA 4 example assumes all adults are eligible to vote, impossible, and completely different from the other two. More likely is at least 10% are not eligible, meaning the greatest pop difference is 350k to 585k, not 350 to 650.  In fact, only 10% would be very unlikely, given children, non-citizens, felons etc. are not likely to be so asymmetrically distributed.  Also, asymmetry would mostly be a function of having so few districts -3- vs. Va - 11.)  Now, you are correct that an effective ratio of 1 to .75 is likely not sufficient to show significant disadvantage to the right to vote of residents/potential voters of the former.  Especially if there are other districts where the ratio is smaller.

                But that is not what we have here.  We do not have a single, isolated outlier.  Rather, the scheme is to apportion EVs in such a way that every urban district's residents/potential voters count less than 1/2 as every rural district's residents/potential voters in electing the State's EV slate.  Turn out or district population composition is irrelevant: e.g. even if turnout was 100% is all districts, or the urban districts had twice as many actually voting (or even if only 1 actually voted in the rural) there would be no possible scenario where the urban residents votes did not count at least less than 1/2 that of the rural counties, simply bc the district drawing scheme created twice as many plus of the later as the former.

                Does that help explain?  'Cause otherwise, we're just not communicating here imo.

                P.S. Also, you might consider that Congresscritters represent districts, while the language of Art. 2 and Amend. 12 at least strongly imply that Electors represent the State as a whole.  Thus, there is an absolute minimum of 3 for any State's weight in the EC.  But that's a different argument.

                •  no, no such implication (0+ / 0-)

                  since legislature is given full power to determine how electors should be awarded.  You are really stretching now

                  "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

                  by teacherken on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 12:36:59 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Nope, ur just not understanding. The righ to vote (0+ / 0-)

                    for electors for POTUS/VP is expressly enshrined in A14, Sec.2.  Express constitutional rights are some mere formality to be disposed of with 'well at least they can still vote'.  A14, Sec 1 means there are limits to how much difference you can weight discrete groups votes for same.  DCs are discrete groupings.  The Va scheme enforces a 2 to 1 advantage to one groups votes, or put another way a 100% burden on the other's ability to have their votes counted equally for P/VP Electors.

                    Now, you are correct that there are levels of unequalness SCOTUS will accept.  But, you are simply not understanding that Art. I is limited by the Civil War amendments, so its is not sufficient to stand on the literal language.  You might as well say Art. Sec. 4, cl. 1 similar language ("The... Manner of holding Elections for" Reps shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof) trumps the 14th for election of Congresspersons, thus obviating all apportionment claims.  That is clearly not the case.  So too, Art 2, Sec. 1 para. 2's ("Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislatures thereof may direct,... Electors") is similarly circumscribed by the 14th.

                    That is not a 'stretch'.  That's the how the Constitution works after the Civil War. It is why the Civil War amendments are often called 'The Second Constitution'.  IOW, everything in the pre-Civil War constitution which vests power in the States is limited, at least where as here a right in the Constitution or a fundemental interest (and its hard to see anything more fundamental than the right to popular vote of roughly equal weight for POTUS, just like Reps and Senators) is limited by the Civil War (and a few subsequent) amendments.  That's what the Incorporation Doctrine is all about and why the Bill of Rights even applies to the State's when they were so clearly limited to the federal government originally.  (Its also why the !0th-ers are full of it.)

                    But, hey, this SCOTUS may decide to repeal the Civil War if Kennedy gets a hair up his... just like the majority seems intent on trying to repeal the commerce clause.

    •  splitting by CD is clearly constitutional (13+ / 0-)

      I would argue the entire plan passes muster constitutionally because the legislature has full power to decide how to distribute electoral vots

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 05:34:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

        •  See my comment, below. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Heart of the Rockies

          Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

          by SpamNunn on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:04:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  does not apply for lots of reasons (4+ / 0-)

          1.  this does not involve redrawing districts

          2.  legislature has full power to assign electors any way it wants -  Voting rights act in no way can outweigh that constitutional provision

          "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

          by teacherken on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:16:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe it's not quite so simple (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            stormicats

            The Constitution also says that the Federal government will guarantee that each state has a republican form of government. While it might be a stretch to apply that clause to the apportionment of electors, I think there is nonetheless some room to do so. (For example: a legislature that is acting in a way that clearly favors one class of voters over another is not following the principles of republican government.)

            Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

            by Nowhere Man on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:53:06 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  What about an equal protection argument? (0+ / 0-)

            It's been over three decades since I've taken a constitutional law course, and I never did any legal work focused on election rights, but it seems to me the equal protection clause could provide a potential basis for challenging the gerrymandering of the Electoral College. Especially since, as you point out, the net effect of such legislation – probably in all the states where it is being proposed – would be to elevate the votes of rural, white, conservative voters above those of urban, brown, liberal voters.

            That being said, I freely admit my ignorance on matters of election law, and I know you've been a lot closer to it in your teaching about American government. I saw where you stated below that this doesn't violate equal protection, and I'd love to get more information about why that is.

            "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

            by NWTerriD on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 09:56:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  would not apply (0+ / 0-)

              because if the Congressional districts are constitutional - and gerrymandering for political purposes has been upheld, then assigning electoral votes by congressional district would also be constitutional.

              What might not be constitutional is the idea of awarding the two electors equivalent to the senators not on the basis of the winner of the state wide popular vote but on the basis of who wins the most congressional districts.  The Supreme Court has ruled that all legislative districts must have equal numbers of people except for the United State Senators who represent entire states, and thus states can be of different populations but have equal representation.  By that logic, apportioning two electors by statewide popular vote winner would be constitutional, but awarding them based on winners of congressional districts might well be subject to being rejected as unconstitutional.

              remember, I am not a lawyer nor did I sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

              I have taught this stuff for a number of years in college level courses to high school students, for whatever that is worth.  And with a mother who was a brilliant lawyer I grew up reading appellate court opinions (including decents) from both the NY State Court of Appeals and the US Supreme  Court.

              "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

              by teacherken on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 03:25:25 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  i would argue it's not (0+ / 0-)

        there is a power given to state legislatures to direct the manner in which electors are appointed, in Article II.  However, if the race goes to the House of Representatives, the votes are by states as blocs. That arguably expresses the intent of the framers that states should vote as one.  The Article II power is more about setting voting precincts, rules for ballot access, and administrative stuff like that.  

        Then there is the 14th amendment, which changes the federal/state balance.  It first of all should require a revisit of these apparently racially gerrymandered districts, but I think states have a little more latitude in setting congressional boundaries because there's never a way to make them exactly equal.  The problem is solvable for state-wide elections by ignoring district boundaries for the purpose of electing Presidents.  At minimum, awarding the extra two electoral votes to the winners of certain districts amplifies those votes impermissibly and would violate 1p1v.  

        You're right to single out the symbolic aspects -- this won't happen because these knuckleheads think they can deliver all 13 EVs to a Republican in 2016.

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 11:55:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  sorry, electoral college is example of federalism (0+ / 0-)

          which is why it is up to state legislature to decide how to award electors.  And no one has ever successfully challenged what Maine and Nebraska have done for years, although the only recorded split is that of NE-02 for Obama in 2008

          "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

          by teacherken on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 03:27:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  yes, it's 50 state elections (0+ / 0-)

            which is why the 14th amendment arguments are stronger.  in a way, the "in such a manner as the legislature thereof may direct" isn't really a creation of a right in state legislatures, but an acknowledgment of an existing power, but one that the Equal Protection clause limits.  The argument from  federalist structure, however, cuts against states splitting votes.  It's certainly what the framers expected at the time of ratification, and "a Number of Electors" can be interpreted as a "single slate," though it's unclear.  At minimum, it's not cut and dried, and if a court were inclined to strike the Virginia plan, it could hang its hat on something.  

            There's no standing for anyone to challenge the Maine/Nebraska split -- you'd need one of those to be number 270 / 268.

            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

            by Loge on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 04:09:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  But it is likely to happen in PA from what we are (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron, Eddie L, cybersaur

      hearing on local tv news and reading in our papers here. It could very well happen in PA and they are moving on this now.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 05:41:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  PA's plan slightly different (4+ / 0-)

        2 electors representing Senators will be awarded on basis of who wins statewide popular vote

        current gerrymandered congressional districts are a problem, but this scheme exactly matches that in ME and NE

        "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

        by teacherken on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 05:43:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I am hopeful that PA's large Democratic (4+ / 0-)

        edge in voters will convince the State House of the rage they'll be facing if they attempt this disenfranchisement.

        Also, Corbett is quite unpopular as it is. This would make him the unwelcome focus of a lot of anger--not typical for sleepy Pennsylvania.

        •  I just looked up some numbers in PA. (7+ / 0-)

          In the 14th Cong. district - urban city of Pittsburgh - approx. 327,000 people voted. In the 9th district - SW PA gerrymandered to look like a doughnut with a bite taken out - about 274,000 folks, mostly not urban voted. If each of those districts is worth one electoral college vote, 53,000 votes in Pittsburgh, many by urbanites, wouldn't matter.
          Those of us in PA need to stop this from happening.

          •  but CDs are not decided by # of voters (3+ / 0-)

            but by percentage of state's population.  Does not even matter whether those people are eligible voters -  could be a district with a higher percentage of children or a higher percentage of non-citizens.  Reapportionment to the states and redistricting in the states is done on the basis of counted population

            SCOTUS has ruled drawing lines for partisan political purposes is not unconstitutional.

            When it has declared a district unconstitutional, it has either been because it does not represent one man one vote, or because the district is too artificial, such as when to cram a blacks into one district in NC the district consisted of two innercities and the interstate connecting them.  Districts are expected to be continguous but do not have to be compact nor do they have to respect existing political jurisdictions

            "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

            by teacherken on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:20:15 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Okay, but isn't this an issue.. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wishingwell

              The way that PA's electoral votes are decided now is the popular vote within PA. In PA now,  I vote for Obama, my vote goes toward him taking all the electoral votes of the state. With the change, my vote only goes toward the popular vote in my district, not the state.  Actually, I live in the 18th district which went for Romney. So, my vote for Obama would have been meaningless if the new system had been in effect because my district's EV would have gone to Romney. Yes? NO?

              •  no different than if you had lived in AL (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                wishingwell, OHeyeO

                which went for Romney and which awards its EVs by result of statewide popular vote

                should we go to national popular vote?

                we cannot get there by amendment since it would take only 13 small states to block it, and now some relatively small states get a lot of attention because of their battleground states, specifically NH  and NV.

                We could get their by the national popular vote initiative, but that has possible 14th amendment consequences that would have to be sorted out by the Courts.

                Also, if we were doing national popular vote, you would still have the problem of different standards for (a) qualifying to vote) and (b) the mechanics of voting varying from state to state.

                "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

                by teacherken on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:51:55 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Ken, a plan that explicitly apportioned so that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Val

              R voters (or 'rural', or 'white', or whatever-discreet-easily identifiable group) got twice as many electors as Ds (or 'urban', or whatever-other) even as the latter group won the majority of the 'method' the State legislature chose 'to Appoint' electors (to use the Art. 2 language) would obviously violate equal protection.

              The explicitness would be its deathknell, as there would be by law no basis to presume the legislation's constitutionality, sodeference by the courts would be inappropriate (and indeed forbidden by current caselaw).

              The statements of the supporters of the Va bills likely rise to that level, explicitly saying the intent is to give rural voters more than equal weight.  I don't know if the Pa folks have been as stupid, but considering the 'voter ID so Romney will win' geniuses I suspect they have.

              But, even if not so explicit, the effect would be so obviously to make the weight of the voters of these groups so unequal, that any SCOTUS that wanted to exercise the power it has and enforce the Constitution as written would strike it down in a heartbeat.

              The question is are there 5 Justices on the present Court who have sufficient integrity and respect for the Constitution - and indeed, the Framers intent (both original and Civil War) - that they would do so.  Given Bush v. Gore, I doubt it.  But then I'm a cynic when it come to whether Justice has anything to do with our current courts. :)

              •  sorry, it would not necessarily (0+ / 0-)

                if the Congressional districts were themselves constitutional, then there is no sustainable challenge to distributing electoral votes by Congressional district.

                The only part of the Virginia plan that would be subject to challenge is to award the two electors equal to the Senators on the basis of who won the most congressional districts.  That might be an equal protection violation.  Please note - MIGHT BE -  except that even there it is not clear that an equal protection argument outweighs the plenipotentiary power the state legislature has to decide how the state's electors shall be awarded.

                "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

                by teacherken on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 03:29:51 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, Ken. There is an entire body of equal protect (0+ / 0-)

                  ion law that holds that what be otherwise constitutional is not if it was done for a discriminatory purpose.  Romer v. Evans is just one of the more recent.  Now, you might argue that 'rural' or 'urban' are not 'invidious categories', but then you would be ignoring the clear evidence that they are code words, both in intent and effect, for race.

                  It is not enough to quote the Art. 2 language.  The langauge in Art. I is fundementally the same, yet SCOTUS applies limits to Congressional apportionment, including equal protection.  (It also ignores that oddly enough Art. 1, Sec. 4 actually vests the ultimate power to determine "Time, Place and Manner of hold elections for... Representatives" in Congress, not the States.)  By that logic, States could simply do away with popular vote for POTUS/VP, as some originally did, and e.g. choose names out of a hat or the Governor's cronies, or the leaders of only the Thug or D parties.  That may seem allowed by Art. 2, sec. 1, cl. 2, but, while Scalia might accept that 'original intent', I doubt a majority of SCOTUS would brave that crapstorm.  More importantly, it ignores Sec. 2 of the 14th, which explicitly states there is a "right to vote .. for the choice of electors for President and" V/P.  IOW, it mandates popular election of the Electors.

                  Given that, it is hard to see how a modern SCOTUS would not rule denying all of a State's citizens or a racial susbset violate equal protection (or due process perhaps, depending on how lively substantive d/p is today) as it would deny thier existing right to elect POTUS/VP Electors as established and recognized by Sec. 2.  The same would be true if it excluded all 'urban' residents from voting for Electors.  The States are not writing on a blank page.  

                  If it can not eliminate this right of urban voters (or minority voters, which the evidence will show is both the intent and effect), then significantly disadvantaging it constitutes a equal protection violation, whether it is called a 'liberty', right or fundamental interest.  Just as doing so for other rights, e.g., any of the Bill of Rights.  

                  The only question then is: how much disadvantage is too much?  I have little difficulty seeing a scheme that counted 'urban' votes for electors at half or less than 'rural' votes violates e/p and d/p both under sctrict scrutiny as a racially discriminatory scheme both in intent and effect and under the rational relation test (as there can be no legitimate state interest justifying such disproportionate treatment on the basis of degree of urbanization.

                  You may disagree.  But that doesn't mean there is not a potentially valid constitutional argument here.

                  Hopefully, we'll never have to find out.

                  •  several things (0+ / 0-)

                    1.  You would have to show that it was done solely for discriminatory purpose discrimination on the basis of either a protected class or the violation of a fundamental liberty.  Since people are still able to vote under such a scheme, there is no violation of a fundamental liberty.  Then one gets to the idea of one man one vote which is the applicable standard, and that is not violated within the state the way Maine and Nebraska do it, although one might question whether the way Virginia proposed to award two electors to the winner of the most CDs does.

                    2.  The fact that one person expressed his intent that might be interpreted as a discriminatory purpose is almost certainly insufficient.  That does not mean that would be why the legislature as whole might agree.  If their purpose was purely political, that is, to advantage their party over the other party, SCOTUS has already held that gerrymandering for political advantage is not constitutional.

                    3.  Romer was a 6-3 decision.  Since then, Rehnquist has been replaced by Roberts on the dissenting side, O'Connor by Alito and Souter by Kagan.  Thus in theory there might be a 5-4 vote to uphold the reasoning of Romer.  Except that while Kennedy applied that principle in a matter of sexuality, his jurisprudence does not seem to apply that same principle in other areas, especially in voting matters.  He did vote for the majority in Citizens United.

                    I admit I am not a lawyer.  But with the exception of how the two electors representing the Senators are awarded in the Virginia proposal, I see nothing the Supreme Court would even consider in proposals to change awarding of electoral votes to by CD, especially in a case like Virginia where the CDs were themselves subject to review under VRA and upheld.

                    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

                    by teacherken on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 04:40:43 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Consider: (0+ / 0-)

                      1. You ignore the effect of the scheme, an independent means to test intent, and apart from intent an independent grounds (and the most common).

                      2. You do not address A14, Sec. 2 which recognizes the right to vote for POTUS/VP, not simply the Electors (and thus changes the Art. 2 scheme, could you seriously see the Civil War Congress allowing Confederacy states to abolish population vote of Electors and thus deprive all 13A elible voters of a vote for POTUS?)

                      3. You do not address the 'disproportionate disadvantage' (nee, treatment) argument.  Simply allowing hypothetical exercise of a right (or fund'l interest) is insufficient to escape e/p-d/p.  Significant difference of burden or advantage of the exercise to similarly situated persons is prohibited.  Put another way, if the Va scheme gave 2 EV votes to each rural district and 1/2 to each urban, we would see an obvious violation.  Yet, that would not be prohibted under your expansive reading of state authority here.  But that is exactly the effect the Va scheme has on the rights of each individual eligible to vote.  (BTW, Me and Ne are unique and not controlling primarily bc of their small size and relative similar pop-sized districts).

                      3. 'Intent' ala Romer is not measured solely - or even primarily - by what the Legislative majority claims (they always claim a legit intent), or even the statements of its leaders (though that may be significant to show invidious intent, as here where the sponsor of the legislation explicitly states such).  All other sources can be considered, including necessary effect (which here is to always give rural districts 2 plus the EVs as urban, or more appropriately 'mostly white' vs 'significantly minority' - courts are not fools).  In any event, the 'intent' is whatever the parties prove in the litigation.

                      As I see it, the treatment of the Senate Electors is merely the icing on the cake of intent to significantly advantage rural or urban and conversely burden the later as against similarly situated persons in the former.

                      4. Your #3 is merely my 'there is a valid argument here, but whether they will follow precedent or pull another Bush v. Gore remains to be seen' argument.  We may not actually disagree here (though my position has to do with the perfidity of certain Justices) but that does not address th merits of the constitutional argument.

                      5. IMO the VRA is irrelevant.  They're not talking about changing the districts, which all the VRA covers in this regard.

                      You may or may not already know, I am a lawyer. But, I am not an election law or constitutional scholar, so even my informed opinion could certainly be wrong.  Or put another way, I disagree with how you're analyzing this, but that and $5 will buy me a Starbucks. :)

    •  It has been done in Maine and Nebraska (8+ / 0-)

      It would pass Constitutional muster.

      It just means that gerrymanders would now affect Presidential elections not just Congressional ones.

      Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

      by blue aardvark on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:11:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  its never been challenged in those states (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blue aardvark, Chitown Kev

        but,  the constitution seems pretty clear on the legislatures being the ones to decide.

      •  It isn't Constitutional (0+ / 0-)

        It violates the Equal Protection Clause. It is clearly and overtly intended to favor one group over another.

        +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

        by cybersaur on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 08:02:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  sorry but you are wrong (0+ / 0-)

          Equal Protection Clause not applicable to simply doing what Maine and Nebraska have done.

          Possible conflict between Equal Protection Clause and power of legislature to determine how electors are awarded in Virginia proposal to distribute 2 EVs based on Congressional districts won.

          "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

          by teacherken on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 08:15:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have not read the full decisions yet, but I am (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cybersaur

            very much wondering if courts would support this as solidly as many assume.

            How they would fare in Baker v. Carr, Reynolds v. Sims and Wesberry v. Sanders (all "one-man-one-vote" precedents) challenges is a question some of our lawyers might chime in on now. The court demise of Georgia's County Unit System of the same 1960s era may also apply. That was explicitly designed to counter Atlanta's influence with the three least populous counties being able to nullify Atlanta's six "unit" votes. That court series included Baker v. Carr, and also Gray v. Sanders.

            Relegating any urban voter, regardless of race, with intention and malice to well less than "full person" for voting just might not pass muster.

            The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

            by pelagicray on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 09:49:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  That is not correct (0+ / 0-)
            Equal Protection Clause not applicable to simply doing what Maine and Nebraska have done.
            No one has challenged Maine and Nebraska, so Constitutionality isn't a given.
            This is also pretty clearly an effort to rig the outcome of the election in a way that the voting population is not given equal treatment. That is arguably different from what Maine and Nebraska have done.

            +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

            by cybersaur on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 11:41:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  please tell me who has standing to challenge (0+ / 0-)

              again, remember that you have some originalists on SCOTUS, and the original intent was to leave it up to the state legislature to decide.

              If the Congressional districts are constitutional, then awarding one elector to the winner of each congressional district seems on its face to be constitutional.  Each voter within a valid congressional district has her vote counted the same way, and that some districts have a higher number of voters in no way invalidates that Congressional district so long as they have roughly equal population at the time the districts are drawn, are contiguous, and were not set up with explicitly racial purposes.  The barrier on redistricting based on race is avoided simply by claiming the gerrymander is based on political registration or voting patterns, even if both of those are an artifact of the racial makeup.  It is why even under VRA some heavily gerrymandered districts both for Congress and for state legislative bodies have been upheld.

              Similarly, to award 2 electors representing the Senators to the winner of the statewide popular vote is on its face constitutional.

              What is not so clear is how what Virginia proposed to do, which is award those two based on the winner of Congressional Districts.  But since the Virginia proposal is not going to be enacted into law, we are unlikely to find out.

              "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

              by teacherken on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 03:35:50 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Gee if a state has a large minority population by (0+ / 0-)

          this supposed legal and constitutional method they could just pop every minority into one or two districts...Nah, nothing illegal about reducing the black vote to meaningless worth... Now if they could do the same for women they could ride to every office on the backs of racists white men who like to see women and minorities as powerless chattel. Now if only Romney had won he could have used trickery to return us to pre civil war days... those glorious days for white european immigrants.

          OK OK they could leave a few minorities and collared women in each district as a way of maintaining deniability (Gee Bush knew all about deniability as CIA) Maybe even a 3/5 ths ratio to white men. Everyone else could be in those one or two districts. Protest then they could pass laws to lock you up in "for Profit" New age slavery prisons....Maybe even redefine terrorist like they are attempting to do with Nazi........... Would be interesting to see how many of these pols have investments in those prisons.

          Fear is the Mind Killer...

          by boophus on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 02:47:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  already happens (0+ / 0-)

            you simply claim you are gerrymandering based on party registration or voting patterns.  That all the Dems happen to be black is coincidental to that.   which is why such gerrymanders have been upheld under review under VRA preclearance requirement

            "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

            by teacherken on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 03:38:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  So we do nothing because it is legal? So I guess (0+ / 0-)

              We have to just accept it right?  Its already happening. Well there we have it... game over , we lost and they have won. Boy do I feel stupid for being involved in politics when we never had a chance. I am so not into having my hair set afire. Enough.

              Fear is the Mind Killer...

              by boophus on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 09:11:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  you miss the point entirely (0+ / 0-)

                splitting by congressional district is as far as we know constitutional, it conforms with the one man one vote principle that applies within a state, provided the two "at large" electors are awarded on the basis of a statewide vote.  Vriginia's proposed awarding to whoever wins the most congressional districts might well not be sustained, but the way Maine and Nebraska have done it would be at least on the basis of one man one vote.

                I have never argued that just because something is constitutional means I think it is right. I am only responding to those who are arguing such distribution of electors is itself unconstitutional.

                "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

                by teacherken on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 04:31:18 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  and with romney ending up with 47percent... (11+ / 0-)

    there seems to be a trend with this kind irony.

    kind of amazing.... and no surprise really.

    numbers are a beautiful thing.

    every adult is responsible for every child

    by ridemybike on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 05:28:26 AM PST

  •  this seems so harsh, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, ssgbryan

    is what i hear rightwingers saying, or would say about what you've written here.  there is a contingency of people that are appalled that racism is suggested for motive here and omg racism is always the first thing i think of. am i crazy or what. hell no i'm not, this idiocy on the right is indescribable and i'm about to lose it i swear.

  •  And all of you who have ever said "I won't ever (10+ / 0-)

    use algebra" now know you were wrong. :-)

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:09:43 AM PST

  •  Must break a teacher's heart to write as you do... (3+ / 0-)
    In the process what they might be demonstrating is that they themselves have only 3/5 the intelligence and moral character of those whose votes they seek to diminish.
    Seriously, what keeps whoever these VA people are and represent so uneducated and immoral almost a half-century since the Voting Rights Act...

    I ask about VA as you know it so well...and because it also no longer the VA of 1965.

    "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

    by BlueStateRedhead on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:10:53 AM PST

  •  Michigan May Be the National "Leader" (10+ / 0-)

    According to Rachel Maddow last night--and this rings true with me--the Michigan legislature may be the first to pull the trigger on a version of this travesty.

    In the lame duck session in December, MI lawmakers (both houses Repub) proposed and passed 42% of the legislation passed, in toto, of their two-year (full-time) session. Including a new law to replace an Emergency Manager law that disenfranchises elected municipal and school boards that was shot down convincingly by referendum in the November 2012 election. Vote against our law? Ha! We'll just pass a new one!

    Now they've proposed something similar to what just died in VA. Same (direct-from-ALEC) bullshit talk about not letting urban areas unduly influence elections.

    This is huge. Why aren't people lighting torches and pitchforks in Lansing?

  •  This is not over... (11+ / 0-)

    The Republican collective does not give up so easily.  When I listen to these newly reasonable Republicans saying they do not support the idea of apportioning Electoral College votes by Congressional District my weasel senses start tingling....

    If I was a rich weasel, this would be the plan:

    1. Let the story blow over in the press.  Let people get  tired of hearing about it and talking about it.  I've got two years to get this done, I can bide my time.
    2. Quietly take any reasonable Republicans behind the wood shed at the next Koch Brother's conference and explain that their political career will end in the next primary if they do not support this plan.  I can buy a state level republican primary for about $500K, this is chump change.
    3. Get my best propagandist to work up a way to rationalize this to the republican base.  I know it sounds impossible but they bought "you didn't build this".
    4. Sometime a year from now when everybody is distracted by the crisis du jour take it up and pass it before opposition can organize - a la Right-to-Work in Michigan.

    This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I will take considerable risk to seize it.  A few Republican politicians will end their careers in the backlash but this is a chance I am willing to take.

  •  This is a powerful meme. (6+ / 0-)

    I can't think of a more effective way to describe to people what's happening here.

  •  That racist VA redistricting plan was approved (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    artisan

    by the Obama Justice Department.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

    Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

    by SpamNunn on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:39:33 AM PST

    •  current congressional districts (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nowhere Man, Joieau

      did not change the existing racial boundaries in a way that disproportionally affected minority voters.  It could have redrawn districts in a way that provided 2 districts where blacks woulds have been elected.  The redrawing was done to advantage on the basis of political leanings (we do not have registration by party in Virginia) and since SCOTUS has said using that as a basis is constitutional, there was no basis for the Justice Department to deny those district lines.

      Two other points while I am responding.

      1.  Changes do not have to be approved by the Justice Dept under the pre-clearance provisions of VRA - can also go to Federal Court in DC for that

      2.  current attempts to redraw state senate districts in VA are different.  They are unconstitutional, but under a provision of the Virginia Constitution, which stated that redistricting would be done in 2011 using the results of the 2010 census and every ten years thereafter.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:25:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So... as long as the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sunny skies, Americantrueandblue

        dehumanization effort (from one person one vote to one person 3/5ths of a vote) dehumanizes all 'classes' of citizen because of where they live instead of what color/sex they are, it's perfectly okay?

        Wow.

        I look forward to predominantly urban states doing the same thing by diminishing the enfranchisement of those who stubbornly choose to live in rural environments.

        •  gerrymandering is constitutional (0+ / 0-)

          so long as purpose is not explicitly racial or any other protected class.

          Being a Democrat is not a protected class.

          That the vast majority of democrats in a district happen to be black or jewish is considered incidental - party affiliation is not fixed, racial identification is.

          "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

          by teacherken on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 03:40:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  this urban voter thanks you. xoxo (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bisbonian

    "...i also also want a legally binding apology." -George Rockwell

    by thankgodforairamerica on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:52:45 AM PST

  •  Not even close... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bisbonian
    In the process what they might be demonstrating is that they themselves have only 3/5 the intelligence and moral character of those whose votes they seek to diminish.
    You are generous, teacherken, very generous to allow these bottom dwellers such percentage of "intelligence and moral character."

    I offer them none. Not a shred.

    "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:57:05 AM PST

  •  This sort of thing has a long history in the US. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn, the fan man, drmah

    In 1920, the census showed that for the first time a majority of the population was classified as "urban".  Most of these were immigrants in the large industrial cities.  So what did Congress do?  Why, nothing at all.  They didn't honor their constitutional duty to re-apportion seats based on the decennial census, as this would have given the cities more power.

  •  Luckily now Va & FL not doing w Pa & Ohio (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NM Ray, Cedwyn, Nowhere Man

    questionable and only michigan looking like they will do it

    Was reported last night on Rachel Maddow that

    1- 2 Va senators and the Gov have said NO will not pass/do/sign

    2- FL Gov has supposedly said will not do.  Probably because a sure thing in cementing his loss against Crist for re-election

    3- Pa and Ohio are supposedly silent on the issue now

    4- michigan only state still going foreword at the moment

    •  Yep, Rachel called it right about Michigan! (3+ / 0-)

      What ever happened to the Michigan Democrats?

      Dick Cheney said, "Pi$$ on 'em!" And, Ronald Reagan replied, "That's a Great Idea. Let's Call it 'Trickle Down Economics!"

      by NM Ray on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:04:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Even Michigan's won't go anywhere (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DEMonrat ankle biter

      They rammed the right to work bill through the lame-duck session because they knew they wouldn't have the votes to pass it come January. If they don't have the votes for that now, they don't have the votes for this scheme either.

      The scheme is collapsing all over the place now that it has been exposed to daylight and they're getting hammered over it. This was the type of scheme that had to be done on the quiet and implemented before anyone really knew what was going on. Now that it's been exposed to daylight, it's shriveling faster than a vampire.

      Why Reince Preibus publicly endorsed this, I have no idea. Idiot. But good for us that he's an idiot. What good is he, besides having a wicked Scrabble hand for a name?

    •  It makes no sense to push this in Ohio (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      drmah, DEMonrat ankle biter

      for Ohio is really a swing state where a Republican CAN win the state in the future.  Thus why would Ohio take themselves out of contention for a future Republican winning the entire state outright?

      The two states where this could happen is Pennsylvania and Michigan where those are not really swing states.

      I could see a HUGE backlash in 2014 against those Republican governors if indeed they do change the electoral votes.  It could be a rallying cry for the Democratic candidate.

      President Obama, January 9, 2012: "Change is hard, but it is possible. I've Seen it. I've Lived it."

      by Drdemocrat on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 10:00:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Real Reason it won't Pass . . . (4+ / 0-)

    Governor Ultrasound thinks that he can win the popular vote in 2016 if he is the candidate for President.  McDonald is not opposed for any altruistic reason, for sure.  No Republican even knows the meaning of the term!

    Dick Cheney said, "Pi$$ on 'em!" And, Ronald Reagan replied, "That's a Great Idea. Let's Call it 'Trickle Down Economics!"

    by NM Ray on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:03:02 AM PST

    •  yeah, I would agree. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nowhere Man

      I think they have given up on PA and Michigan as winnable states.

      But to concede Ohio as forever unwinnable  by a republican  presidential canidate is realy sometthing.

      I'm reminded by the move of my Massachusetts legislature when they thought john Kerry would win the Presidential election in 2004  and...  Mitt Romney was Govenor....

      changed the law regarding filling empty seat from Gov appoints to special election.   And in the end it gave us Scott Brown  and now  the prospect of yet again another Senate election with scott Brown....  with yet another one in 2014....

      So law  of unintended consequences here.    Be funny if  the next Presidential election resulted in Republicans winning one of these states outright,  like say wisconsin/ohio  and having the election lost because of it.

      •  Indeed, this could come back to bite them (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Heart of the Rockies, NWTerriD

        in the A$$.  The aim of gerrymandering is to get your own party numerous seats by a small margin, while conceding your opponents a few seats by a large margin, rendering their excess votes useless.  To use an analogy, it doesn't matter if you win a baseball game by one run or ten runs; you still only get one victory.  Those other nine runs are meaningless in the standings.

        However, it would take only a small shift in voter preferences to swing a sizeable number of districts the other way.  

    •  McDonnell (0+ / 0-)

      but also the Lt. gov whose vote would be needed to break a 20-20 tie in the state senate

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:43:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  or VP candidate. No R who thinks a state (0+ / 0-)

      can be won wants this "reform".  It has to be a state they have both gerrymandered and aren't likely to win.  Probably MI, PA fit that bill.

      That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

      by Inland on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 09:04:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I propose that it could and SHOULD be a red flag (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Val

        in all future statewide office races to mobilize urban areas om these states to both get out the vote and deny Republicans statewide office for the foreseeable future.

        In Virginia NOVA turning out in force could do that job and many of us are fully fed up with Richmond's neglect and meddling due to "Southside" control. Used well this could be gasoline poured on an anti-Richmond ember. Just the attempt should be a slogan next year.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 09:38:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  About that 3/5's (9+ / 0-)

    Teacherken's opening lines are to be remembered.  Slaves were never considered to be 3/5's of a person...they weren't considered to be persons at all.  They were beasts of burden.  The 3/5's was a giveaway to the southern states to give them more Congressional representation, just like the 2nd Amendment is was a giveaway to the southern states to allow them to maintain their armed slave patrol militias.

    Those Republicans...the more they try to change the more they stay the same.

    •  knock it off (0+ / 0-)
      just like the 2nd Amendment is was a giveaway to the southern states to allow them to maintain their armed slave patrol militias.
      if you think any event/thing in our country's history boils down to one single issue, i've got a bridge in brooklyn that might interest you.

      the patrols were but part of the calculus; read the writings of the founding fathers on the subject.

      Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

      by Cedwyn on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:41:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's rare, but slavery is indeed one of those. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pelagicray, ssgbryan

        It's hard to find anything where slavery didn't weigh heavily. Annex TX? Slavery is a huge issue. Northwest Ordinance? Same.  Every admission of a state, every presidential election, all had slavery as an issue.  And then that war.

        That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

        by Inland on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 09:13:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  none of that makes it valid (0+ / 0-)

          to say that the only reason the second exists was slave patrols.  this debate is way too important for muddied waters.

          Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

          by Cedwyn on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 10:56:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There were also Indians, but slaves wre (0+ / 0-)

            a huge part of it.  A restriction by the Feds on arms would have hugely differing effect on a SC than a RI.   Because one had a huge angry population kept in place by a militia.

            The second was to protect states in precarious positions from that sort of pressure.  It's a state power provision.

            That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

            by Inland on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 12:16:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  It was a little more subtle than that: (0+ / 0-)

      Slaves were indeed considered persons, like women or children.  There were lots of people who didn't have the vote or even basic civil rights who were considered represented by officials in parliament or later the colonial assemblies.

      But apportioning representatives made counting slaves a particular problem.  Ratios of women or children to males with the voting franchise were stable, but there were almost unlimited numbers of slaves possible to each voter.

      The three fifths compromise, in effect, called bullshit on the idea of virtual representation, the idea that a person who is a slave is actually represented in congress.  They aren't really being represented so they shouldn't really be counted for purposes of allotting reps.  

      In a sense, it put the reality of slavery into bold relief instead of allowing a polite fiction of they having representation in congress by the same individuals holding them in chattel bondage.

      That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

      by Inland on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 10:02:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, they have to cheat (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KJB Oregon, cybersaur

    because their ideas and policies suck.

  •  not going to happen, due to backlash (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Drdemocrat


    I am sure the Republicans saw their nightmares all coming true when 98% of the black vote turned out for Obama, prior to that, they believed somehow that a certain portion of minority votes "belonged" to them, particularly Hispanics.  If they want a future in which 100% of all minority (and urban) voters go to the polls to sweep them into the dustbin of history, they'll keep talking about doing this.  They haven't seen backlash yet.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:38:57 AM PST

  •  Stretch (0+ / 0-)

    Considering the black people only make up 20% of VA's population and maybe half of them vote, I think this is more political catnip than a real link.

    The plan which doesn't have the support to pass also does not count democratic votes as less than but it gives a boost to rural voters which is the real intention.  

    Instead of going the conspiracy route why not just say VA GOP plans to give more voting power to white rural voters which is closer to reality.  

    Who ya gonna shoot wit dat homie, you'd rather blast an original instead of a phony, true macaroni, you don't even know me, and why does your gun say n****z only?

    by mim5677 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:39:17 AM PST

    •  sorry but we have the actual words (5+ / 0-)

      of the person introducing the Bill which when combined with some of his other actions and words provide a strong indication of racial bias

      plus we have the recent state senate redistricting shenanigans

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:47:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That may be so in his case, but I do not think (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jorybu, DBoon

        racial/ethnic is the fundamental issue in the scheme. That probably has much more to do with the "Real Virginian" idea, which includes its definite racial and pro Southern bias, but very much a "not from this state" bias:

        On MSNBC this morning, McCain adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer asserted that “real Virginia” does not include Northern Virginia:

        I certainly agree that Northern Virginia has gone more Democratic. … But the rest of the state — real Virginia if you will — I think will be very responsive to Senator McCain’s message.

        One can certainly read a possible racial aspect here:
        Real Virginia, I take to be, this part of the state that’s more Southern in nature, if you will.
        I have personally experienced that, even though I'm an old white guy. I've traveled widely, I'm ex-fed, I look toward D.C. and NYC for interests and never Richmond, I eat more Asian and European and South American than "Southern" and I'm in all respects other than tolerance for intolerance pretty liberally tolerant. I'm one of "them" and not part of the "real Virginians" even if my family has been in the state since the 1600s. Lots of "real Virginians" would much prefer me to be 3/5 of a presidential vote.

        In an urbanizing and increasingly cosmopolitan nation rural areas are desperately clinging to their view of "America" by hook and crook with regard to these efforts. Only a part of that is racial. It is actually a follow on to what Ken Burns touched on in Prohibition. Fueling a justified reaction to some pretty outrageous "saloon behavior" rural and small town WASPS very much "agin" those urban centers infested with Catholics, non-Anglos, sinners  and "free thinkers" and German beer and South European wine lovers used that prejudice liberally. WW I and anti-German sentiment then gave a push.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 09:30:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Conservatism: Win By Any Means Necessary. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NWTerriD, ssgbryan, Val, FoundingFatherDAR

    They will alays attempt to legalize the form of cheating they require.

    Thankfully there are a few who won't cross the line so obviously, but there will be pressure to replace them with those who will.  Let's see what happens to these few the next time they're up for re-election.

     

    Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

    by Leftcandid on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 08:54:35 AM PST

  •  AFAIK, the 3/5 rule is still in effect (0+ / 0-)

    Sure, slavery itself has been prohibited, but the 3/5 compromise itself is still there, waiting patiently, still part of the supreme law of the land...

    along with any number of other vestiges of the enticements given to persuade slaveowners to secede from Great Britain and later to accept federalism, including state sovereignty, the 10th Amendment, the 2nd Amendment, the Senate, and the Electoral College.

  •  GOP: "We're not winning, let's change the rules!" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, Val

    I know this is in all likelihood constitutionally allowable, but it is morally reprehensible. Surely that stands for something.

    For 225 years, with the exceptions of Maine and Nebraska, the method of counting electoral votes has been constant. It is established and always determinable. We know that a state that has 19 electoral votes will deliver those votes to the winner of the state's popular vote. If the state had 19 electoral votes in 1960 and the same amount in 2012, the winner took all in both years. But if that is now changed to winners of Congressional Districts, the outcomes are no longer constant from decade to decade. When the Republicans draw the districts, there will be a higher number of electoral votes cast for the GOP candidate than in years when Democrats draw the districts. So theoretically, there could be two elections with the same mathematical outcomes from county to county within the state, and yet the state would have a 13/6 GOP/Dem split in one election and a 7/12 GOP/Dem split in another election. That chaotic inconsistency is a recipe for frickin' disaster!

    I despise the Electoral College, and I understand why Maine and Nebraska did what they did when they reapportioned the way they determine electors, but I have always thought that altering how the EV is apportioned from state to state is an atrocious idea. While it may not technically violate the one person, one vote Equal Protection Clause, it certainly undermines the purpose of it, and so I've always been opposed to the Maine and Nebraska methodology. If legislators are really serious about making the EC more representative of the popular vote, they can propose laws to apportion the EV based on percentages of statewide popular vote. But this would have to be a national and not merely a cherry-picked state-by-state solution, otherwise it skews the one person, one vote concept.

    The GOP should be publicly approached on a daily basis about changing the EC at the national level. If they really wants fairer elections, they can get behind a move to reapportion the EC on a consistent basis from state to state.  Otherwise, it will be shown to be just another shameless attempt to alter the outcome of a presidential election, this time by gerrymandering.

  •  Thanks so much for posting this about my blog. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeighAnn, teacherken

    I posted it on DK myself, but it didn't get much traction... I'm glad we can get the word out about that fraction.

    I'm going to do some more digging about the money behind the people who sponsored this bill. Let's keep at it, people. Don't let them cheat!

  •  New rule ! candidate with fewest votes wins ! (0+ / 0-)

    Also, black is white, wet is dry, ugly is beautiful, cats are dogs-- WTF????

    Seriously ? For once, I agree with Bobby Jindal, r's have to stop being the party of stupid !

    I must be dreaming...

    by murphy on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 11:36:45 AM PST

  •  Thanks, Ken (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken

    That is a startling coincidence.  (And it makes me hark back to my teaching days 25 years ago, trying to explain the 3/5 compromise to HS kids on the Lower East Side and the Bronx)

    This midterm election must be an historic break from prior midterms with a big Dem. win -- both in Congress and the States.

    The anti-Democratic mischief must be stopped.

    Keep the Senate and hope the Reid learned his lesson this year.

    The GOP: "You can always go to the Emergency Room."

    by Upper West on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 11:57:53 AM PST

  •  I especially loved that they are claiming (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoregon, Val

    that the current situation marginalizes rural voters, as their explanation for doing this.  I think if they had the guts, they'd change the constitution so only white male property owners could vote. Which is what they really want.

    Urban voters are often renters so they wouldn't even count for 3/5 of a vote if they really got their heart's desire.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 01:05:32 PM PST

  •  Thanks dor the diary. (0+ / 0-)

    "Let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation....It's how we are as Americans...It's how this country was built"- Michelle Obama

    by blueoregon on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 03:57:01 PM PST

  •  Being female, I'm used to being paid 3/5ths (0+ / 0-)

    (if that much) of what my angry white male counterparts made (for less work than I did).  But thank goodness I live in a state that makes my vote count 100%.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 04:23:55 PM PST

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