Michigan Republicans Overwhelmingly Support Vote-Rigging Scheme

The Republican and Democratic parties in Michigan held their state conventions this past weekend. The Democrats wisely got rid of their chairman, Mark Brewer (covering him for most of the last few years was highly annoying; he was the king of the outrageous and badly reasoned press release). And the Republicans showed overwhelming support for a proposed scheme to hand out the state’s electoral votes by electoral district rather than by popular vote.

By a 1,370-132 margin at the party convention in Lansing, GOP members approved a resolution backing a proposal from Rep. Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township, to divvy-up 14 of the state’s 16 electoral votes according to which candidate got the most votes in each congressional district. The other two would go to the state-wide vote total winner.

That switch from a winner-take-all formula that has been in effect 175 years could water down the dominance Democrats have had in Michigan in presidential elections for the last 24 years.

Critics say the plan would have given Mitt Romney nine of Michigan’s 16 electoral votes last year, although he lost by more than 500,00 votes to President Barack Obama state-wide. With the win, Obama captured all 16 Michigan electoral votes.

And that is, of course, exactly the point of the scheme, to make sure that Republicans get the majority of the electoral votes even while losing the popular vote by a large margin. Gov. Rick Snyder has said that this isn’t the right time to consider the proposal, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t sign it. And with the Republicans having supermajority margins within both houses of the state legislature, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this gets passed.

23 comments on this post.
  1. Gregory in Seattle:

    On the upside, the Constitution doesn’t even require a plebicite for President:

    Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress….

    Article II, Section 1, para. 2

    It would be perfectly legal if a state wanted to give the Legislature, or even just the Governor, the power to appoint Electors. Rigging the election at least means that they are willing to have elections, although I doubt that will remain for long.

  2. Akira MacKenzie:

    It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. Ever since the the whole “Red State/BlueState” dichotomy got startred, at each election cycle my Republican acquaintances (I would never call a conservative a “friend”) will circulate maps showing the district-by-district results that show a sea of red and a few islands of blue. The implication is “See! Look at how much of America supports the GOP and look how little of it supports the other guys!” Of course, you could point out to them that the majority of the voters live in those blue splotches while the population density of that ocean of red boils down one or two rednecks per square mile or so, but those facts don’t seem to register. All that matters is the Red areas are BIGGER than the Blue areas; therefore, the Republicans ought to be winning.

    Stupid, aren’t they?

  3. Modusoperandi:

    Akira MacKenzie, you know damn well that America was founded on the freedom of weighing votes by how much space you take up! Who are the biggest people in the world? Americans! Who invented snow angels? Americans!
    U! S! A! U! S! A! Go Freedom! Woo!

  4. composer99:

    Has anyone ever told you, Modusoperandi, that your “Poe”sts (har!) are things of beauty?

  5. Phillip IV:

    Of course that scheme always benefits the loser in the statewide popular vote…so, either Republicans just aren’t thinking any farther than the next election, or they’ve officially given up on the idea of ever winning the popular vote in Michigan ever again. And, in the latter case, being faced with the choice between either cheating or getting with the times, chose cheating. Sad in any case.

  6. Modusoperandi:

    composer99 “Has anyone ever told you, Modusoperandi…”
    No. People get lost in my eyes, so all I get is silence. And the pounding, moist heat of sexual tension. It makes it tough to drive the bus. “Stay behind the line when the bus is in motion” the sign says, but do people read it? No! On account of my eyes and the getting lost in them.

  7. erichoug:

    *sigh* Again, why don’t we just go to a national popular vote? Or failing that, just pass a federal law stating that all the states electors MUST go to the candidate that wins that states popular vote.

    I really don’t understand all this wrangling. I mean the Republicans always like to couch these sort of things in terms of “greater democracy” but when you give them an opportunity for real democracy they shy away.

  8. Michael Heath:

    erichoug writes:

    Again, why don’t we just go to a national popular vote? Or failing that, just pass a federal law stating that all the states electors MUST go to the candidate that wins that states popular vote.

    Both would require a constitutional amendment. I support a national popular vote.

  9. fifthdentist:

    New rule: From now on the Republicans’ official must be: “If you can’t beat ‘em, cheat ‘em.”

  10. slc1:

    The answer to this is to vote MH’s hero rick Snyder and the Rethuglicans in the State Legislature out of office in 2014. As I always like to point out, elections have consequences and those folks who stayed home in 2010 because of dissatisfaction with Obama are getting what they asked for.

  11. Katherine Lorraine, Tortue du Désert avec un Coupe-Boulon:

    @ModusOperandi:

    I think I love you.

  12. zekehoskin:

    The electoral-district-based apportioning of electors is, of course, way susceptible to gerrymandering. But I do really dislike the way that the states that aren’t safe for one of the major parties suffer the overwhelming preponderance of electioneering. Making the proportion of electors in each state match as closely as possible the proportion of the popular vote in that state would solve most of the problem while still giving small states the edge they need not to be trampled by the big ones. I can’t see that happening except by Federal law: fat chance.

  13. Didaktylos:

    Wouldn’t this also have the effect of producing “swing districts” in place of “swing states”?

  14. naturalcynic:

    Who votes: acres or people?

  15. Akira MacKenzie:

    Modusoperandi @ 3

    That would explain their fascination with the old “only landowners should be allowed to vote” meme. I mean, besides ensuring that only rich, white guys are the only ones allowed to vote.

  16. bybelknap:

    I’ve loved Modusoperandi’s posts longer than any of you! So just back off, He’s mine!

  17. Gregory in Seattle:

    @Akira MacKenzie #2 – To be fair: Democrats did exactly the same thing after the 2000 and 2004 elections, showing how this very same scheme would have put their guy in office.

  18. Stacy:

    @ModusOperandi:

    I think I love you

    I TOLD him he should have his own “ghey secks with ModusOperandi” line. He just scoffed. I think he scoffed. I don’t really remember. I was lost in his eyes.

  19. jameshanley:

    Critics say the plan would have given Mitt Romney nine of Michigan’s 16 electoral votes last year

    This. Is not true. It assumes that under a different electoral scheme the candidates would have campaigned the same way, instead of adjusting their strategy.

    Not defending the plan, just pointing out that as usual the media are morons.

  20. robertfaber:

    I’m not sure the term “supermajority” is appropriate for Michigan’s state house. It’s 59(R) 51(D) and would be under democratic control if not for the gerrymandering in 2011. They are unable to override Snyder’s veto, and they’ve failed a few times already.

    Now the Michigan state senate is supermajority R (26-12), and is quite possibly the most (R) rigged senate in the nation. The constituencies vary in population by as much as 25%. I just found out about this when I went to double check before posting. Some senators represent up to 263,000 people, while others as few as 212,000. Now, I can understand why the federal government divided up the senate tally by “acreage” (in order to get small states to ratify the constitution), by why the krickey fuck are we subjected to it within our own state? This allows the GOP to pack even larger amounts of people into fewer “throw away districts” while allowing room for even more safe republican seats on the other side. This isn’t democracy at all.

  21. Ichthyic:

    This isn’t democracy at all.

    nope.

    but, surely you didn’t think that a government that allows gerrymandering to begin with had democracy in mind?

    same thing in CA.

    I bet same thing for most states?

  22. laurentweppe:

    So, the GOP platform summarized:

    We can’t win fairly, we don’t have the firepower to pull a succesful coup d’état, so we’ll game the rules, knowing that the guys from the other side will hesitate before going after us with torches and pitchfork so long as we play dumb and don’t openly admit we’re trying to cheat

  23. scottjones:

    My question is, have they done the math to be sure this means people living in the inner cities of Michigan are counted as exactly 3/5th of a person for their vote, no more no less? Because it’d be terrible if their vote was 4/5ths or 2/5ths of what a man living in rural Michigan’s vote would be in impact under this scheme.

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