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GOP Leaders Turning Against Electoral Rigging Plan?

With Republican-controlled legislatures in several states considering legislation to divide their electoral votes up by congressional district, which would make it much easier for Republicans to win the presidency even if they lose the popular vote by large margins, a few Republican leaders are coming out against such proposals. Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is the latest:

ANDREA MITCHELL (HOST): If it were done nationally, Mitt Romney would have been taking the oath of office on Monday.

BARBOUR: That’s true this time. Other time it might have been just the opposite. I’m a traditionalist myself. I really am a conservative. I’m a little bit skeptical of this. […]

MITCHELL: Doesn’t it make it look as though the Republicans are trying to sort of game the system? […]

BARBOUR: As I said, I would not be for it. I don’t think there’s any sort of national movement, and you have sort of convinced me that in Virginia there may not be even state movement. It may be an isolated legislator.

And Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, one of the states where the legislature is considering such a plan, has come out and said he opposes it:

“The governor does not support this legislation. He believes Virginia’s existing system works just fine as it is. He does not believe there is any need for a change,” said spokesman Tucker Martin.

That’s not necessarily a promise to veto it, however, but observers think it’s unlikely to pass now. In Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder says he’s “open” to the idea and nothing the Republicans in our legislature do would shock me. House Speaker Jase Bolger is unethical and unprincipled to the core.

Comments

  1. says

    The last time this scheme came up, it was being proposed by Democrats who noted that, in the right states, it would have given the White House to Gore.

    I believe that some in the GOP are beginning to remember that.

  2. slc1 says

    In Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder says he’s “open” to the idea and nothing the Republicans in our legislature do would shock me. House Speaker Jase Bolger is unethical and unprincipled to the core.

    Now how could MH’s hero even contemplate such a thing? I’m just asking questions.

  3. hunter says

    Snyder has since backtracked sharply — his reason: “Now is not the time.”

    Translation: Not while people are looking.

    Also, as of this morning’s news, it’s dead in Virginia, as well.

  4. Alverant says

    @1
    As I remember, it was distributing the electorial votes by popular vote, not district voting. Also the plan was for a nation wide revision, not just the states where the GOP had gerrymandered the districtes.

  5. AsqJames says

    It strikes me that the idea of apportioning EC votes according to congressional districts is a move towards a parliamentary system. The logical conclusion would be to assign one vote to each district, which effectively gives whichever party has a congressional majority the presidency.

    Aren’t the people floating this (this time around anyway) also fond of talking about constitutional checks and balances?

  6. Dennis N says

    I find it interesting how conservatives appeal to conservatives appeal to conservatism itself as the reason for their stances. I think it’s much rarer to hear their opposite appeal to liberalism, instead making arguments on their outcome and benefits. I don’t have the time or energy to unpack what that signifies.

  7. D. C. Sessions says

    Snyder’s no dummy. Doing it now gives the enemy three years (including another election for State offices) to reverse the changes. Snyder has demonstrated that he understands that timing is everything: act moderate until the last minute — in this case, spring of 2016. Or, if worse comes to worst, in the lame duck session before losing control of the process.

  8. oranje says

    @Hunter: The entire mantra of the government of the State of Michigan appears to be “not while people are looking.” A disgusting bunch. At least we got rid of our rep this last election.

  9. Cathy W says

    I definitely heard Randy Richardville on my radio this morning talking about how leaving Michigan’s block of electoral votes intact would make us a bigger deal in future presidential elections. So. Whatever Jase Bolger does, and whatever Snyder might want, it might be DOA in the Senate. For now.

    Snyder’s last comment on it was “wait until it’s about time for the next census.” – which is interesting, in that the chance of him still being governor next time it’s time for redistricting are zero, unless he’s got a definition of “about time for” that works out to “three years ahead of”.

  10. raven says

    The first rule of stealing elections is that you don’t talk about stealing elections.

    At least not while the media is paying attention.

    QFT.

    The GOP is quite openly the anti-democracy party these days. Voter suppression, buying elections with huge quantities of money from the ulta rich and corporations, Gerrymandering, fooling with the electoral college, and on and on.

    For the people who are paying attention and value living in a free and open democracy, that has to not look good.

    We’ve had threats to our democracy before. The British, the Southern rebels, the Germans, the Nazis, the commies, the Japanese, Al Qeada, the fundie xian death cults. To this illustrious list, we can now add….the Tea Party/GOP.

    Don’t forget, the GOP president Richard Nixon resigned under pressure for illegally try to cheat the Democrats.

  11. dingojack says

    I thought the first rule of vote-rigging was:
    The tales of vote-rigging in Vegas, stay in Vegas….

    Raven – I like the old joke from the 70’s
    ‘They shouldn’t have impeached Nixon. They should have got Teddy Kennedy to give him a lift home’.

    :) Dingo

  12. baal says

    “BARBOUR: As I said, I would not be for it. ”
    While it’s marginally better that big name (R) say such things, my secret decoder wheel suggests the words mean, “wow we look ‘legitimate rape’ bad. Let’s get Lundtz on this and some polling done so we can set up enough lies to ram it through later”.

  13. abb3w says

    It’s not an isolated legislator; in Virginia, it’s all but two of the Senate GOP.

    However, second thoughts seem to be spreading; perhaps from some gut-level realization that the longer and further you go from what the populace collectively want, the bigger the backlash of resentment you risk.

  14. Michael Heath says

    As nearly always, slc1 lies about my positions.

    I continue to hope Democrats exploit this opportunity to start promoting an amendment to go to a popular vote for president. I realize the difficulty of such while thinking mere advocacy for a popular vote would help the country.

  15. slc1 says

    Re Michael Heath @ #15

    I’m rather confused here. I don’t see that I attributed any particular position to MH. I certainly did not mean in any way, shape, form, or regard to imply that MH agrees with the proposal presented by the Rethuglican denizens in the Michigan legislature. In fact, I would have been absolutely flabbergasted if he had.

  16. robertfaber says

    Not a chance they smaller states give up those extra two electoral votes, let alone all but 12 of them. Heck, even the more liberal small states like Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Vermont might stand in the way, because they essentially get double to triple the voting power for president compared to California or New York. It’s something that desperately needs to be done, as rural interests are obscenely over represented in the United States, soon to the point of minority rule (if we’re not there already).

  17. MattieF says

    The downside to this plan would be that the individual states would lose all their influence over the electoral process. Right now, billions of dollars are spent electioneering in these swing states. And these governors and state politicians lose the importance of their endorsement, their foothold on the national stage. If you blow that up into individual electoral votes, most of which aren’t competitive, that all goes out the window.

    Talk about shooting yourself in the foot! Who would give up all that?

  18. Michael Heath says

    slc1 writes:

    Now how could MH’s hero even contemplate such a thing? I’m just asking questions.

    Me ad nauseam:

    As nearly always, slc1 lies about my positions.

    slc1 responds:

    I’m rather confused here. I don’t see that I attributed any particular position to MH.

    Gov. Rick Snyder is not my hero. I have never claimed that and yet you continually assert such.

    Your, “just asking questions”, reminds me of Glenn Beck exhibiting the same level of integrity that you use here.

  19. says

    I find it interesting how conservatives appeal to conservatism itself as the reason for their stances. I think it’s much rarer to hear their opposite appeal to liberalism, instead making arguments on their outcome and benefits. I don’t have the time or energy to unpack what that signifies.

    Yeah, I’ve noticed that too. You almost never hear liberals arguing over what the “true liberal” position is. Other liberals don’t care. But conservatives write entire books about the “heart and soul” of conservatism, which turn out to be little more than self-indulgent exegesis.

    As for what it signifies, I suppose it’s a sign that conservatives are steeped in ideology and self-identity in a way that liberals are not. This explains many of their pathologies. It also means that it’s near impossible to get them to change their minds on anything with mere appeals to what’s right or wrong. You have to switch the labels so as not to abuse their delicate sense of self.

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