Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Why We Lose, Why They Win

with 4 comments

Republicans now hold both houses and the governorship in Pennsylvania, an opportunity they’re using to permanently alter the national electoral map in the U.S.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Gov. Tom Corbett and state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi are proposing that the state divide up its Electoral College votes according to which candidates carried each Congressional district, plus two votes for the statewide winner. The system is used by Maine — which, despite the system, has never actually split its four electoral votes — and by Nebraska, which gave one of its five votes to Barack Obama in 2008.

Had this proposed system been in place in 2008, when Obama won the state by a ten-point margin, he in fact would have only taken 11 out of the state’s 21 electoral votes at the time — due to a combination of past Republican-led redistricting efforts to maximize their district strength, and Obama’s votes being especially concentrated within urban areas.

4 Responses

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  1. Anything that can be voted in today can be voted out in the future, so it’s hardly permanently changing anything. It’s also something that has had bipartisan support across the country for years since many people do not like the current all or nothing system that allows 15 states to control who will be POTUS.

    So it’s not even a matter of our winning and you Liberals losing. If generally adopted, it’s a matter of most states being “purple” instead of “red” or “blue” and more people’s votes mattering, which can only be a good thing since it will force politicians to listen to more people instead of just pandering to the 15.

    jonolan

    September 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm

  2. Dividing Pennsylvania’s electoral votes by congressional district would magnify the worst features of the Electoral College system and not reflect the diversity of Pennsylvania.

    The district approach would provide less incentive for presidential candidates to campaign in all Pennsylvania districts and would not focus the candidates’ attention to issues of concern to the state as a whole. Candidates would have no reason to campaign in districts where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind.

    Due to gerrymandering, in 2008, only 4 Pennsylvania congressional districts were competitive.

    In Maine, where they award electoral votes by congressional district, the closely divided 2nd congressional district received campaign events in 2008 (whereas Maine’s 1st reliably Democratic district was ignored).

    In Nebraska, which also uses the district method, the 2008 presidential campaigns did not pay the slightest attention to the people of Nebraska’s reliably Republican 1st and 3rd congressional districts because it was a foregone conclusion that McCain would win the most popular votes in both of those districts. The issues relevant to voters of the 2nd district (the Omaha area) mattered, while the (very different) issues relevant to the remaining (mostly rural) two-thirds of the state were irrelevant.

    When votes matter, presidential candidates vigorously solicit those voters. When votes don’t matter, they ignore those areas.

    Nationwide, there are only 55 “battleground” districts that are competitive in presidential elections. Seven-eighths of the nation’s congressional districts would be ignored if a district-level winner-take-all system were used nationally.

    If the district approach were used nationally, it would be less fair and less accurately reflect the will of the people than the current system. In 2004, Bush won 50.7% of the popular vote, but 59% of the districts. Although Bush lost the national popular vote in 2000, he won 55% of the country’s congressional districts.

    Because there are generally more close votes on district levels than states as whole, district elections increase the opportunity for error. The larger the voting base, the less opportunity there is for an especially close vote.

    Also, a second-place candidate could still win the White House without winning the national popular vote.

    A national popular vote is the way to make every person’s vote equal and guarantee that the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states becomes President.

    oldgulph

    September 13, 2011 at 7:04 pm

  3. A survey of 800 Pennsylvania voters conducted on December 16-17, 2008 showed 78% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
    Support was 87% among Democrats, 68% among Republicans, and 76% among independents.
    By age, support was 77% among 18-29 year olds, 73% among 30-45 year olds, 81% among 46-65 year olds, and 78% for those older than 65.
    By gender, support was 85% among women and 71% among men.

    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.

    When the bill is enacted by states possessing 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.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in AR, CT, DE, DC, ME, MI, NV, NM, NY, NC, and OR, and both houses in CA, CO, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA, RI, VT, and WA. The bill has been enacted by DC, HI, IL, CA, NJ, MD, MA, VT, and WA. These 9 jurisdictions possess 132 electoral votes– 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    NationalPopularVote.com

    oldgulph

    September 13, 2011 at 7:04 pm

  4. We utterly disagree on the effects of per-district apportioning of electoral college votes but completely agree on removing the electoral college et al. The only difference in our position on the latter is that I don’t think it will happen any time during my lifetime unless we have another civil war or a coup by the military that followed the playbook of Turkey’s past coups.

    jonolan

    September 15, 2011 at 4:07 pm


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