Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Stealing the 2016 Election: The GOP Is Already At Work

link
Last winter, shortly after President Obama won his second term in office, many Republicans rallied behind a pair of election-rigging plans to make it virtually impossible for a Democrat to win White House again. Though the two plans differ in important ways, the crux of both plans is to rig the Electoral College by requiring blue states to award a significant portion of their electoral votes to Republican presidential candidates — all while ensuring that red states will award 100 percent of their electoral votes to the Republican as well. Though these election-rigging plans appeared dead after a wave of Republican officials came out against them, one of them has just returned to life in California.
Props, incidentally, to Republicans who have opposed such efforts.

My view, FWIW, is:

We need to fight hard against this sort of thing now. If we wait until another election 2000 happens, it'll be too late. No matter how unfair the rules, the GOP will argue that they can't be changed retroactively. And they'll kind of have a point...

11 Comments:

Blogger toto said...

On August 8, 2011 California Governor Jerry Brown signed the National Popular Vote bill.

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

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.

In a 2008 survey of Californians, 70% of residents and likely voters supported a national popular vote.

The bill has passed 32 state legislative chambers in 21 rural, small, medium, and large states with 243 electoral votes, and been enacted by 10 jurisdictions with 136 electoral votes – 50.4% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

NationalPopularVote
on Facebook via NationalPopular VoteInc

3:45 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Right--and if this method of tallying votes is applied in every state, then there's no problem.

Currently, however, Republicans are pushing these plans in blue states, while leaving red states as winner-take-all.

And *that* is, in essence, a way to rig elections.

5:18 PM  
Blogger toto said...

One of the counter-intuitive aspects of the whole-number proportional approach would result in most states being ignored in presidential elections. There would be fewer battleground states under this system than under the current system.

Campaigning is rarely capable of shifting more than 8% of the vote during a typical presidential campaign. If one considers an average-sized state (i.e., a state with 11 electoral votes), one electoral vote would correspond to 9% of the popular vote in the state. In smaller states, one electoral vote would correspond to an even larger percentage of the popular vote in the state. In a state of median size (i.e., seven electoral votes), one electoral vote would correspond to 14% of the popular vote in the state. In the case of the seven states with three electoral votes, one electoral vote would correspond to 33% of the popular vote.

If the whole-number proportional approach had been in use throughout the country in the nation’s closest recent presidential election (2000), it would not have awarded the most electoral votes to the candidate receiving the most popular votes nationwide. Instead, the result would have been a tie of 269–269 in the Electoral College, even though Al Gore led by 537,179 popular votes across the nation. The presidential election would have been thrown into Congress. Given the composition of the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2001, the whole-number proportional approach would have resulted in the election of the second-place presidential candidate.

A national popular vote is the way to make every person's vote equal and matter to their candidate because it guarantees that the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states and DC becomes President.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Though, as you point out, the likely result of that system is that less-populous states would be ignored.

I've got no settled view on which system would be best, incidentally and FWIW, I just think it's obvoius that all states need to use the same system. Going state-by-state and asking "which system should we use here to benefit the GOP?" (or, for that matter, the Dems) is right out.

6:01 PM  
Blogger toto said...

Unable to agree on any particular method for selecting presidential electors, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method exclusively to the states in section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution-- "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . ." The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as "plenary" and "exclusive."

The constitutional wording does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for awarding the state's electoral votes.

States can, and frequently have, changed their method of awarding electoral votes over the years. Maine and Nebraska do not use the winner-take-all method.

7:09 PM  
Blogger toto said...

In 2012, 24 of the nation's 27 smallest states received no attention at all from presidential campaigns after the conventions.- including not a single dollar in presidential campaign ad money after Mitt Romney became the presumptive Republican nominee on April 11. They were ignored despite their supposed numerical advantage in the Electoral College. In fact, the 8.6 million eligible voters in Ohio received more campaign ads and campaign visits from the major party campaigns than the 42 million eligible voters in those 27 smallest states combined.

The indefensible reality is that more than 99% of campaign attention was showered on voters in just ten states in 2012- and that in today's political climate, the swing states have become increasingly fewer and fixed.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Right. The the only point I'm making is that it is impermissible to work to get states individually to adopt whichever method of awarding electoral votes in order to give an advantage to one party. That is an illegitimate attempt to game the system. (And, incidentally, that's what the GOP is doing.)

11:13 PM  
Blogger toto said...

It is not impermissible to work to get states individually to adopt whichever method of awarding electoral votes in order to give an advantage to one party.

The Founding Fathers left the choice of method exclusively to the states in section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution-- "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . ." The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as "plenary" and "exclusive."

The constitutional wording does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for awarding the state's electoral votes.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yes, it absolutely is impermissible to work to get the states to adopt differential methods of awarding electors on the basis of which method will benefit a certain party. Nothing you point to in any way refutes that obvious truth. The only thing that follows from anything you've cited is that it is not *illegal*. Of course it isn't illegal. If it were illegal, we would not be having this discussion...

7:04 PM  
Blogger toto said...

The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as "plenary" and "exclusive."

It is permissible and allowed to work to get the states to adopt differential methods of awarding electors on the basis of which method will benefit a certain party.

States may exercise their power to choose the manner of appointing their presidential electors in any way they see fit (provided, of course, that they do not violate any restriction contained elsewhere in the U.S. Constitution).

States can, and frequently have, changed their method of awarding electoral votes over the years.

All of the existing winner-take-all statutes are state law. The winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes was adopted piecemeal on a state-by-state basis. The winner-take-all rule was never the prevailing method of awarding electoral votes during the lifetimes of the Founding Fathers. Instead, winner-take-all statutes became prevalent decades later, in the period prior to the Civil War, with the emergence of strong political parties aiming to maximize their own political power within their states to stifle the minority party.

All three of the states that used the winner-take-all rule in the first presidential election in 1789 abandoned it by 1800.

Massachusetts has used 11 different methods of awarding its electoral votes.

Maine and Nebraska do not use the winner-take-all method.

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

8:07 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

No, again, nothing you cite shows that it's permissible, only that it's legal. No one has disputed its legality--that has never been the issue.

To attempt to influence states to adopt methods of awarding electoral votes on an *ad hoc* basis with partisan goals is illegitimate and reprehensible. It's a kind of electoral gerrymandering. It is an attempt to game the system.

Of course this is no surprise from the GOP. It's of a piece with their efforts to disenfranchise Democratic voters with voter I.D. laws--something that is also legal, but loathsome and indefensible.

Again: the issue here is not legality. If legality were the only thing at issue, then there would be no grounds for opposing, say, gerrymandering.

9:51 AM  

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