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Think again.

The news today is that in Virginia, Michigan, and Ohio GOP leaders have turned their backs to a proposal to split electoral college votes by district. It's tempting to think this news means a victory for democracy.  But all that's really happened is that a trial balloon was floated to gauge the interest in the topic.  The GOP is still devoted to subverting the will of the people in those states, and the real plan they're working on is far more devious than the one they let get shot down.

The real plan was outlined in a fundraising letter sent today by former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackman under the letterhead of the "Tea Party Victory Fund".  The plan is to still allocate electoral college votes in a winner take-all fashion, just with "winner" being defined differently.  In this GOP dream, the winner is defined by who wins a majority of gerrymandered congressional districts.  So even if a democrat wins an overwhelming majority of the votes in a state, so long as the republican wins a slim majority of the congressional districts that republican would then carry the state.

Blackman writes about how this would be used to disenfranchise the votes of urban voters:

"You want to win Philly by a million votes? Great, knock yourself out. But you're still only getting two Congressional Districts out of it."  

Why? It's justified in their minds,  of course, because they claim that many of those votes in Philly are fraudulent.  They position this change in allocation as a way to combat voter fraud.  Not as a way to steal the election from urban votes, of course!

It was always suspicious that the GOP would launch a dramatic reform of the presidential election process so far away from the next election.  Their normal approach is to wait until the very last moment.  That way, even if their changes turn out to be illegal, they have a chance to drag the legal process out through the election.  

They'll start moving on this plan in all seriousness in early 2016.  And they'll disguise their early steps by saying "No, we realized that splitting the electoral college vote was a bad idea back in 2013.  We're not going to move away from a 100% allocation to the state's winner."

But, when you hear GOPers say in 2016 that they're still devoted to "winner take all" electoral college allocations, just remember it's only so long as they can hand pick the winner.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Exactly, 2015 or 2016. Debate is 12 Seconds, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the laws are already written.

    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 Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:39:53 PM PST

  •  Let's face it. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jack K, slothlax

    If the GOP pulls this off, if they take all reins of power, in a technically legal way, while their policies are unpopular, they will pretty much deserve their victory. We as a country can't be that stupid, can we? If we are, maybe the GOP should lead us after all.

  •  Okay. So what can we do, starting now? /nt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    akze29, chloris creator, grrr

    Too Much Month Sale at Jan4insight Handmade Gallery! 15%off scarves, jewelry, journals, and cool prints to dress up your walls!

    by jan4insight on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:43:10 PM PST

  •  The alarm about both dirty tricks is not large (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rosalie907, akze29, exterris


    it should have been a HUGE deal in the press and a big topic all week with people at work etc. But no.

    We have been numbed.

    They know it.

    Pleaase Recommend this diary it's important.

    •  No, this is exactly the kind of diary (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      we should NOT be reccing because it doesn't help and likely hurts, with its superficial take on what is going on and nothing constructive about what actions to take. Panic-mongering is not useful. The scheme reared its head suddenly, and now it's quickly dead, for the time being. We have to look at why and stay focused, not grabbing our heads and tearing out hair.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 09:25:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  did you read the diary? It's different (0+ / 0-)

        there is a different scheme.

        (the other as far as I know is only dead in  3 states)

        I agree, best not to fear monger but also best not to have head in sand.
        I worry more about the latter with Dems because we tend to be too tolerant.

        THis entire situation to me feels like that parable of the frog and the boiling water. If you put him into already hot water he jumps out immediately if you gradually increase the water he doesn't realize he's being cooked to death.

        we need to be on alert given the nature of their initial proposal. It crosses a line.

      •  Insight, then action ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The key thing for me is that there is a strategy afoot that is more damaging than the recently introduced legislation.  Understanding what appears to be the ultimate goals of the tea party conservatives helps us in making sense of events.  Certainly, we have seen that in a variety of areas they have a deceitful approach to trying to bring about change.  

        Whether this is alarmist depends, I suppose, on whether Ken Blackman and friends are successful in getting their plan a wider backing. It could just end up being polemics to raise money and nothing more.  It could be that public awareness stops a real threat from happening. I would rather this wither in sunshine and leave me looking unduly concerned than end up being validated.  But if the dogs come running it's better to have heard who's blowing the whistle.

        With regards to actions, I feel I have nothing new and useful to contribute at this point: with the GOP actions seemingly coming to an end for now, there seems little room for new direct reactions. I would suggest the time is now for a move to direct election of the President, perhaps via the movement in the states to award the winner of the nationwide popular vote the electors of each state.

  •  Got to get the Press reporting on this (0+ / 0-)

    And MSNBC needs to work on it also.  We need to shout this from one side of the country to the other, north, south, east and west.

    Never be afraid to voice your opinion and fight for it . Corporations aren't people, they're Republicans (Rev Al Sharpton 10/7/2011)

    by Rosalie907 on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 09:08:44 PM PST

    •  Tweet this like mad to national and local press (0+ / 0-)

      Tweet this like mad to Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow. David Corn at Mother Jones. If they talk about it, at least that will mean national pundits will hear about this.

      And call your democratic elected officials, on EVERY level: local, state, national.

      The Right is in panic mode. In the long term, they will lose. But a very authoritarian group in panic mode can do a LOT of damage before they are sent into oblivion.

  •  I got a email today about this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    akze29, exterris

    From WA state dems, they are even trying to pass the same thing here.

    I don't think it will pass but I am wondering if they will try in a bunch of states to see if any will pass.

  •  We need to celebrate that the gerrymandering (0+ / 0-)

    schemes did not work out in any of the states (in addition to the 3 mentioned here the Florida effort is also doomed.)    

    Why were they not succesful?  Because even though Republicans hold majorities in the state houses of these states, many of those Republicans have been elected in districts that are Democratic, often even strongly Democratic (Obama won their districts handily, twice.)  They don't want to jeopardize their future careers in the state over an unpopular tea party scheme.  Then you have another contingent of Republicans who don't want to change the traditional way of allocating EC votes because they are traditions, and Republicans are, if nothing else, traditionalists when it comes to these types of things.  Those Republicans reject these changes and state that their party should instead make the changes they need to make to attract more votes.  After all, these are, on a national level, Democratic states or swing states (Florida, Virginia,) not deep red states like Kansas or Nebraska.

    That failure to attract support of the effort should be celebrated.  Likewise, this latest attempt at saving face on the part of the defeated tea party contingent is doomed to failure as well.   A "winner-take-all" allocation of EC votes based on how many districts one wins will likely be even less popular and be even more panned than what this previous effort was, a true "empty land vs. people's votes" scheme, expect that effort to go down in flames even more obviously.

    To wit:  " A report indicated that prior to the bill’s defeat, its author, Republican state senator Charles “Bill” Carrico, Sr., had offered to amend the bill so as to award electoral votes proportionally according to the popular vote."

    Carrico tried to save his legislation by changing it to awarding ECs in accordance to their share of the popular vote, in other words, out of 14 ECs the state would have allocated the lionshare to the Democratic districts, because that is where the overwhelming popular vote sits, with GOP districts getting only a tiny share (perhaps just two or three EV votes) based on their popular vote portion, and even that was shot down.

    I disagree on WHEN these types of changes are likely to be made.  Just prior to the election?  No way.  The strongly negative publicity just prior to a national election would reverberate around the country and threaten to negatively impact races for the GOP, even the presidential contest.  If something like this is to be done, it is to be done well ahead of time, preferably in the year following the last election, so to allow time to pass for the initial outrage to subside and for people to start accepting it as the new status quo by the time the general election comes around.  

    Personally,  I think the tea party was handed another deserved defeat today, and the EC allocation gerrymandering efforts are all but dead.  We shall see, but I think any future efforts will be met with stiff resistance, even by many Republicans in state houses, and their governors and party leaders, especially as we get closer to the General election in 2016 and the heightened awareness of the public.    That does not mean that we should let our guard down, or ignore the possibility of future attempts, but they have little chance of succeeding as long as the GOP brand is diminishing and is as unpopular as it currently is.  

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