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Michigan state capitol at night
Republican efforts to rig the electoral college to squeeze a few more Republican electors from a steadily dwindling base have been having problems in Virginia, Ohio, and Florida, but last week Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger said he might be willing to give it the ol' (electoral) college try in his state. And the justification remained the same: Our rural Republican folks just feel so bad about people in the big Democratic-leaning cities getting to vote too, since there's so darn many of them and all:
“I hear that more and more from our citizens in various parts of the state of Michigan that they don’t feel like their vote for president counts because another area of the state may dominate that or could sway their vote,” Bolger told Gongwer. “They feel closer to voting for their congressman or their congresswoman and if that vote coincided with their vote for president they would feel better about that.”
Those darn city folks, what with not voting the way good Republicans ought! It's enough to make a person want to go out and change the rules so that the city folks just don't have as much say in things anymore.

You will note, I hope, that if a Republican feels their vote "doesn't count" because a larger number of people voting the other way will, indeed, result in the larger number of people winning, then maybe the Republicans involved do not actually know what the hell an "election" is. Yes, the person who gets the most votes wins. This is often very sad, if you are on the losing side, but you have to be a special kind of, well, dumbass to then propose that more-votes-winning-over-fewer-votes is some sort of inherent unfairness in the system.

As in other states, however, the Michigan effort may already be doomed:

The state House may be considering a new and controversial plan on how Michigan's electoral college votes are distributed, but the state Senate isn't interested, said Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville.

"I don't know that the system now is broken. So I don't know that we need to fix it," he said.

What's curious is that we're finally at a point, technologically, where doing away with the electoral college and basing election results entirely on the popular vote would be an accomplishable thing. It would have its own set of consequences, to be sure, but it would effectively render every citizen's vote exactly equal, in presidential elections—which is the sort of thing we used to hurrah for as being a noble American ideal. The new obsession over cranking the electoral college rules in the opposite direction, then, seems especially oddly timed. We obviously wouldn't be talking about it right now if Republicans hadn't had such success gerrymandering congressional districts that they can maintain a congressional edge even when the raw popular votes go the other direction; still, it seems such a stunningly short-term gimmick that you have to wonder about the people so enamored with it.

So far, though, most of these state efforts have proven to be busts, since not all Republicans are keen on pinning themselves to such an obviously silly effort. Awkward, GOP-humiliating busts, which is exactly the sort of thing you might expect to see from the plan's national mastermind, still-RNC-head Reince Priebus. Priebus, for the record, has managed to stay in his job long enough for me to remember how to spell his name without looking it up, which means I lose a bet.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I want my Daffy Duck vote to count, too, (3+ / 0-)

    but I don't expect the electoral college to follow suit.

    The principle ought to be simple enough even for a Republican:


    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:34:50 PM PST

  •  Texans would love to have our votes count - (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HappyinNM, DaddyO, phree, Overseas

    Democrats in Texas are used to voting for no reason.  It would drive up the voter participation in Texas if we knew that our vote would actually mean something, instead of being gerrymandered out by a hypermajority of Republicans.

    I see you drivin' 'round town with the girl I love / And I'm like / Please proceed, Governor. - Dave Itzkoff

    by Jensequitur on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:34:53 PM PST

    •  Which is why Democrats should do the same thing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...when THEY ARE IN POWER. It's how the game is played. Those are the rules. Unless you change the Constitution itself, a non-starter from now on...then TAKE THE POWER WHEN YOU HAVE IT. Instead of letting the Republicans play by different, perfectly legal rules.

      Jerrymander the SHIT out of your state when your turn comes! Or if you think that's not polite, that's not fair, that if YOU act 'civilly' then THEY will...I have a bridge in Nome to sell you.  

      "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

      by DaddyO on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:51:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Districts should be automatically generated - (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        based upon population and concentration, not upon which party's in power.  Otherwise we'll never get out of this vicious circle.

        I see you drivin' 'round town with the girl I love / And I'm like / Please proceed, Governor. - Dave Itzkoff

        by Jensequitur on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:53:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Should, should, should (0+ / 0-)

          Tell me how to deal with the situation NOW. Constitutional amendment? Sure. State-by-state law changes? That's what THEY tried.

          This is the system we have, and it's dictated by the Constitution itself. To bitch about someone playing by the rules--which is what the Republicans are doing, make no mistake--is to bitch about the rain.

          I'm actually shocked that they gave up so easily.

          "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

          by DaddyO on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:01:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I suspect the reasoning ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ... is that they have some internal polling showing that independents will go crazy and punish them for it. That has to be why the effort seems to be collapsing.

            This kind of game-playing will be punished.  Best to be on the side of democracy.

            •  Let's see if they're still thinking fairly (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              come October 2016. These legislatures and governors moved rather quickly on some of their pet bills when they felt they could get away with it, and ol' Reince seems like he could be a bit of a sleeping possum when he has to be if he felt it was to his party's advantage. Likewise with some of his compatriots.

              "We must not confuse absolutism for principle." - Barack Obama

              by Beastly Fool on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:37:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  True, but ... (0+ / 0-)

                By 2016, it is very likely that Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan will all have democratic governors, and at least one house in each state, rendering such attempts futile. Also, Florida and Ohio look pretty good for having a democratic governor at least. I am hopeful that this threat is near its end.

                Do Pavlov's dogs chase Schroedinger's cat?

                by corwin on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 06:22:03 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Texas Democrats would be happy (0+ / 0-)

      if a change that felt a bit less rigged - and made us feel like our votes counted just a little - would be to apportion electors on the proportion of the total vote for each party rather than by district.  So Texas has forty electoral votes.  If these were apportioned by number of votes, and  the Democrats' share of the total vote were 40%, Texas would award 16 electoral votes to the Democratic presidential candidate.  That would make the Democrats feel much better about voting, at least in presidential election years.

      Of course the problem with that suggestion is that Republicans who control the state government don't give a rat's ass about how Democrats feel about voting.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 06:43:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why don't we just let Wyoming pick the president.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HappyinNM, exterris, offgrid

    .....and be done with it?

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:36:30 PM PST

  •  Doomed my Rosey Red Rear............. (6+ / 0-)

    They are just going to back off until after the 2014 midterms. If they control these swing state state houses then this idea will come back with a vengenance.

    The give away for me was the quote from that little POS John Husted in Ohio. After he tried everything possible, including defying court orders to get RMoney Ohio's electoral votes; he is going to give up on this scheme. Riiiiiiiiiight!

    The fix is in and they have all gotten the word to stand down until after the 2014 midterms. To protect our representative democracy we have to vote these clowns out of the state houses in these swing states. At a minimum we need to assure that we have control one of the state chambers or the governorship. Otherwise, we a seeing our last Democratic POTUS for generations

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation--HDT

    by cazcee on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:39:15 PM PST

    •  There is no reason for them to wait (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corwin, offgrid, phree

      It is highly likely they will lose the governor's mansions in nearly all of these states. Their governors' approval ratings are all basically in the shitter, with the exception of Walker (somehow). They'll also likely lose some of their legislative seats, if not lose control of the chambers outright. There is no use in them waiting until after 2014. They have to pass it now and then hope to have enough seats to stop a repeal in 2015 if they lose.

      But none of these states are going to do it anyway because now that Florida, Michigan, and Virginia have killed it, they have the cover to let it die everywhere else too.

    •  They May Be Able to Wait till Lame Duck 2015 and (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichiganGirl, exterris, cazcee

      slip it in before election year opens, waiting to see what the trends are for 2016.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:49:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't trust them (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KJB Oregon, cazcee

      They've backed away because it was widely covered in media and they look awful.

      We need to keep an eye on them--the minute our backs are turned the knife goes in.

      Same with women and reproductive rights.  Same with voter ID.  Same with taxation.

      Believe me.  I live in NC.  It's a new reality down here.

      "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change things, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."-Buckminster Fuller

      by NCJan on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:09:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Imanutjob crushed the Iranian protests over his (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    stealing the last election in part by busing in rural folks, who are his base.

    Glad to see Thugs are taking lessons.

  •  Do away with the archaic Electoral College, (4+ / 0-)

    and elect the President and VP by popular vote and then we will all feel like our votes count.

    "Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can't afford to double-down on trickle-down." Bill Clinton

    by irate on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:48:36 PM PST

    •  The National Popular Vote bill - 49% of the way (0+ / 0-)

      To abolish the Electoral College would need a constitutional amendment, and could be stopped by states with as little as 3% of the U.S. population.

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

      Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of 'battleground' states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 80% of the states that now are just 'spectators' and ignored after the conventions.

      When the bill is enacted by states with a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

      The presidential election system that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers but, instead, is the product of decades of evolutionary change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

      The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

      In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in recent closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

      The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states with 243 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions with 132 electoral votes - 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

      Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

  •  They Know What an Election Is But Maybe You Don't (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    know what government is.

    Government is about proper rule. If a majority of people won't vote properly then we have to change the election so that those who will make the proper choices win.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:48:41 PM PST

  •  I disagree completely. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MRobDC, MPociask

    What the Republicans are attempting to do is not only perfectly legal, it's constitutional. It's not criminal. It's not stealing an election.

    It can be described as such--but it is nothing of the kind in reality. Every state has the right to choose how they select their Electoral College voters.

    Why aren't you guys excoriating Maine or Nebraska for doing this exact same thing? Why aren't THEY criminal election thieves? Why can't any other state do the same thing they have? What's the real difference?

    I'm sick of being outraged by fake outrages. I have enough to be outraged by as it is.

    "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

    by DaddyO on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:48:50 PM PST

    •  Coming from ALEC (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichiganGirl, NCJan

      One thing that has been missed for the most part is that this is coming from ALEC

    •  Just because something is technically legal (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      howd, jalapenopopper

      still doesn't make it right...

      "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

      by MichiganGirl on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:56:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And how are you going to change it? (0+ / 0-)

        By sending emails to Congress? Harry Reid? Obama?

        I'm calling this like I see it. The various front page posters on this blog and others are irresponsibly sensationalist. What the Republicans did can be considered to be ethically wrong...but it's the rules of the game and the law of the land. The Democrats can't change the rules by not acting BY THEM and refusing to jerrymander the Districts back when the voters give them the power. THAT is democratic.

        Someone needs to explain to me exactly how this wins a Presidential race for the Republicans. It most certainly doesn't hurt, but it won't put them over the top. Not in this century.

        "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

        by DaddyO on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:05:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Romney would have won (0+ / 0-)

          If the district approach were used nationally, it would be less fair and less accurately reflect the will of the people than the current system.  

          Awarding electoral votes by congressional district could result in third party candidates winning electoral votes that would deny either major party candidate the necessary majority vote of electors and throw the process into Congress to decide.

          A second-place candidate could still win the White House without winning the national popular vote.
          Romney would have won.

    •  The only places where it MAY run into legal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      problems is in states covered by the VRA. Even that I highly doubt because the districts would have already been cleared by DOJ to not violate VRA.

      This argument that somehow the 15th Amendment is being violated is absurd. None of these states is saying people in cities can't vote. They are apportioning their electors however they want, as permitted by the Constitution. Hell, a state could say there isn't going to be a popular election and just have the state legislator choose electors. It would be perfectly legal.

      •  Absolutely right (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It's all about the political fallout and capital spent.

        The only reason the GOP didn't follow through is that they're, for some reason, feeling that they can't push their luck. Right NOW. As a commenter noted above, they're probably just waiting.

        But it won't work. Nothing is going to help them win the White House, not for a long, long time. Not until they actually start appealing to more than the 27%.

        "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

        by DaddyO on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:07:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  As you stated above (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I don't recall any outrage when Nebraska split their votes by Congressional district. Is that because we weren't going to win there anyway? Was it stealing the election when Obama won 1 of Nebraska's electoral votes in 2008? If Romney had won one of Maine's electoral votes, would he have been trying to steal the election?

    •  Well, we'll see about that. (0+ / 0-)

      You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

      by Cartoon Peril on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:10:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The real difference is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the number of Electoral College votes involved.

      Maine could change one EV, Nebraska theoretically two, practically one. Ohio would be 12.

      Repeal the 2nd amendment.

      by Calouste on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:51:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

        So why is there all of this outrage when Ohio tries it, but not when ME or NE do it? Are people implicitly saying the votes in those states don't matter as much?

        •  pure political opportunism. blatant hypocrisy (0+ / 0-)

          Now, Republican legislators who want to split state electoral votes in states that have recently voted Democratic in presidential elections, do not want to split electoral votes in states that recently voted Republican in presidential elections.

          The leadership committee of the Nebraska Republican Party adopted a resolution requiring all GOP elected officials to favor overturning their district method for awarding electoral votes or lose the party’s support.

  •  There was talk of dividing NM differently, which (0+ / 0-)

    would have allowed me proper representation. I'm not sure why it didn't fly. But it really pisses me off that I'm "represented" by the only Repuke in the NM delegation. Can we figure out a way to dilute the votes of the fools on the Texas side of the state? How come only Repukes figure this nonsense out?

  •  Duh (0+ / 0-)

    "   still, it seems such a stunningly short-term gimmick that you have to wonder about the people so enamored with it."

    Duh - you're talking Republicans here.  

  •  I can't imagine the GOP will bite this toxic apple (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cartoon Peril

    Imagine if the rules of NBA basketball were changed so the LA Lakers always received an extra point for every basket they made in a game.  No matter how good they are, they'd be laughed out of every arena in the country.  No, the GOP won't do it.  Now, if we could propose the same for every Red State in the country, it might be worth considering....

  •  I thought it was Republicans who are the ones (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cartoon Peril

    who love America and freedomz and democracy so much.  The ONLY ones, the way they like to tell it.  I guess it's one of those situations where they love something so much they just have to kill it in order to show how much they love it.

  •  They're lying in the weeds for 2015 or 2016 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cartoon Peril, NCJan, antirove, coffejoe

    Mark my words, the "mistake" the Virginia GOP made of bringing this up now has been noted, and the orchestration of this effort will be made as late as possible in other states prior to the 2016 election. They're going to put it off or pretend it's dead and then try to spring it when people are wrapped up in the campaign proper, and all the other voter suppression stuff.

    I make no claims of prescience, but I'd take a friendly wager on this.

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:57:35 PM PST

  •  If they want losing votes 2 count Ynot parliament? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cartoon Peril, MPociask

    I mean, why not have a parliamentary democracy then?

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:58:20 PM PST

  •  Problem is that govs and sens are elected state (2+ / 0-)

    wide, and anybody who votes to make "urban" (yeah, we know what you mean there) voters 3/5ths of a person again is gonna be held accountable at the next statewide election.

    Since the state senators can more readily imagine themselves in statewide office, the sneaky-ass plan doesn't much appeal to them.

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:08:15 PM PST

  •  Snyder said he was not supportive of this. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cartoon Peril, coffejoe, frey60, exterris

    Of course, he also said that "Right to work(for less)" wasn't on his agenda.

    •  He won't touch it in an election year (0+ / 0-)

      He's had his ass handed to him already in November. His name is on the ballot next time, he won't want to be associated with this unless he somehow holds on after 2014.

      •  How about December, 2014- lame duck session? (0+ / 0-)

        I foresee Synder and company determining that December of 2014 as the time when the 'timing" is right.  At that point, Snyder may be  packing his bags as will many Repub legislators, hopefully.  Problem is that even if Synder is defeated, it is unlikely that the Dems will be able to win control of both houses.  It may even take 2 election cycles to win even one house so whatever is done in the 2014 lame duck would likely be impossible to undo by the 2016 election.

        •  Bingo--we have to wargame for this very scenario (0+ / 0-)

          It's not like we didn't just freaking see Snyder stand by and let the outgoing R's stick extend their collective middle finger toward union households in the last cycle's lame duck session and ram right to work legislation down the state's throat as a temper tantrum for losing. No one here really thinks that a blue wave that claimed the governor's mansions in all these indigo states wouldn't invite a similar poke in the eye on the way out the door from Walker, Corbett, Kasich et. al.?
          With the gerrymandering being so systemic, it would take another W esque catastrophe in each of these states to give us the state trifecta back in '14. Barring that, they could simply go nuclear in the lame duck and there'd be no way to stop them in time for the 2016 election. As much as I hate to advance such a radical proposal in my first ever DKos posting, the dems in the statehouses might have to seriously look at planning to deny quorums for any lame duck session in these states; at a bare minimum, if one house passes it, they walk off the floor of the other right then and there.

          "When it comes to this thing called the American Dream, liberalism had better very much be alive and breathing fire or we have truly lost our way as a nation." --Dennis Miller (before he turned to the dark side...)

          by Trenchman003 on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 12:05:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Two thoughts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    1) We still need to carefully keep a close eye on these guys. Some people thought RTW wasn't an immediate threat and we all know how that turned out.

    2) I wonder if they're abandoning the idea because folks will start calling for a popular vote instead & then they'd surely lose the house as well as some of the state legislatures.

  •  It's worth pointing out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to the voters in those states that if this plan passes, they lose their favored status as swing states.  With approximately half the votes in the state guaranteed to each side, candidates have no incentive to pay any attention to that state or its voters' interests.

    Which is also an argument for the national popular vote, of course - then we no longer have a handful of states eating up all the candidates' attention and finances.

    I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his payroll. - Edna St. Vincent Millay

    by Tara the Antisocial Social Worker on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 06:25:51 PM PST

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