In a bit of encouraging news, at least two prominent Republicans with a direct say in the matter in Michigan have now publicly come out in opposition to a scheme to rig elections for the Republicans by dividing up electoral votes by congressional district. Gov. Rick Snyder did so in an interview with Al Hunt:
HUNT: There is a move in your state by some Republican legislators to change the presidential electoral system from a winner-take-all to doing it by congressional districts. If that happened last November, Barack Obama–who carried this state by a huge margin, almost double-digits–would have won only 4 of the 14 congressional districts. It would tilt the tables tremendously in the Republicans’ favor. You have said you wanted to look at it, let’s see what it is. Gov. McDonnell of Virginia, Haley Barbour and others have said it’s a bad idea. Are you still neutral or are you becoming convinced it’s a bad idea?
SNYDER: I’m very skeptical of the idea and the timeframe that would be done, because I really view it as a question of you don’t want to change the playing field so it’s an unfair advantage to someone.
And Sen. Randy Richardville, the majority leader of the Michigan Senate, made a weaker statement but seems to be on the same page:
“I don’t know that it’s broken, so I don’t know that I want to fix it,” said Richardville, R-Monroe…
Richardville argued Michigan’s winner-take-all approach to awarding electoral votes gives Michigan more influence in choosing a president, even though Democratic presidential candidates have won those votes in six straight elections. He said, however, he would take a look at any proposal coming over from the state house.
Richardville’s view parallels what came to be the prevailing philosophy among leaders 40 years after the country’s birth. They believed the winner-take-all formula gave states more power to push for their favored candidates.
Jase Bolger, the Michigan House Speaker and one of the most partisan and unethical people I’ve ever covered in politics, is all for the idea. And Richardville is right about it diluting Michigan’s influence. With 16 electoral votes, Michigan is a big enough prize to get serious attention from the presidential campaigns. If the best that can be hoped for is a net advantage of four or five electoral votes, which is likely under the proposed change, the state can be safely ignored by both campaigns.