Liberals up in arms over GOP proposal to change electoral college

Liberals are up in arms today over legislation that is pending in several states, including the key battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia, that would change how electoral college votes are awarded to candidates in presidential elections.

The new system would allocate electors by Congressional district instead of the winner-take-all system that is currently in place. Based on how the nation’s 435 Congressional districts voted for president last fall, Republican nominee Mitt Romney would have been sworn into office on Monday with 273 electoral votes to President Obama’s 262, as the Huffington Post points out.

Of course, Democrats nationwide are protesting the legislation – claiming that the Republican legislatures pursuing the proposed changes are merely looking to alter the centuries-old system to benefit their candidates. Some of their most popular mouthpieces – Daily Kos, The Atlantic, Mother Jones, and Think Progress – have all come out with articles in recent days calling the so-called ‘GOP vote-rigging plans’ a “scam,” “power grab,” and a way to “win states and disenfranchise voters.” They’re apparently forgetting that as recently as 2008 their candidate – Barack Obama – would have still won the presidency handily, as demonstrated in the graphic below:

 

 

While many states have contemplated the shift in allocation for decades, only recently have  significant attempts been made to go through with the changes in swing states. Several Republican leaders, including RNC Chairman Reince Preibus, have voiced their support for the proposed changes.

“It’s something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at,” Priebus told the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. He does believe, however, that it should be something decided by the individual states rather than a national movement.

Sometime next week the Virginia State Senate is expected to vote on legislation that would not only allocate electoral votes by Congressional district but would also award the two Senate votes to the candidate who won the most Congressional districts. In 2012, Mitt Romney won eight of the state’s 11 Congressional districts.

In Pennsylvania, House Bill 94 would also award an electoral vote to the winner of each Congressional district; however, the statewide winner would receive the two remaining electoral votes, much like it is currently done in Nebraska and Maine. In 2012, Romney won 12 of the state’s 18 Congressional districts, while Obama won the popular vote by nearly 10 points.

And in Michigan, State Rep. Peter Lund is reintroducing legislation that would alter the state’s allocation system to that used by Nebraska and Maine. Romney won nine of his birth state’s 14 Congressional districts in 2012. Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder is ambivalent toward the proposed changes but said he said they should be made before 2016 if they’re going to be made at all.

“It could be done in a thoughtful (way) over the next couple years and people can have a thoughtful discussion,” Snyder told the Associated Press earlier this week.

While Nebraska and Maine have awarded electoral college votes by Congressional district for decades now, only once has a Congressional district in those two states voted against the popular vote. Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional district, which includes Omaha and its immediate suburbs, voted for President Obama in 2008 while the rest of the state voted for Republican nominee John McCain. In 2012 all three of the state’s Congressional districts voted for Romney, proving that liberal outrage over the recent round of proposed changes is mostly hyperbolic.

Comments

Comments

  1. CarlU78 says:

    One of the reasons why the Electoral College has remained in effect for all of these years is because it is assumed that all of the swing states benefit so greatly from the attention and advertising dollars, that no politician from these states would advocate eliminating it. However, if the state republicans are willing to sacrifice the attention and money that comes from these contests, then they can not logically oppose shifting to a popular vote, at least not on those grounds. This could be a unique opportunity to push for the elimination of the Electoral College. Sign the petition at:

    http://wh.gov/yd76

    Spread the word. Let’s make this the first petition to hit the new threshold of 100k signatures. Thank You.

  2. redeemed626 says:

    Everyone should realize that awarding two “bonus votes’ for a candidate who wins the statewide popular vote or the most congressional districts is the silliest plan of all. There is nothing civic or responsible about Republican state legislatures stacking the deck against Democratic presidential candidates. Rational voters recognize a naked power grab when they see one.

    But sure, let’s talk about reform of the Electoral College. I doubt Republicans would want to hold an election based upon the national popular vote, as it is not entirely clear that Republicans will ever command another national majority. If, however, we plan to hold an election in which the outcome is decided by Congressional district, let’s forget about the “extra” two votes. The candidate who wins the most Congressional Districts becomes President. Blue voters like me who are mired smack dab in the middle of Red States will have something to get excited about again.

    Otherwise, the Republicans are manipulating the equal representation provided to the states in the United States Senate as a way of gaining an unfair advantage in the election of the head of a separate branch of government. That’s not how the system works.

    By the way, your assumption that Romney would have won this past election is not a good one. If the rules had been different, I’m sure the better team would have nevertheless found a way to win. Romney held every conceivable historical and economic advantage, not to mention the advantage gained from the newly implemented Republican “voter suppression” laws, yet Obama beat him convincingly.

    1. Francesca Chambers Francesca Chambers says:

      redeemed626 – It was not our assumption that Romney would have won the last election. That was the Huffington Post’s assumption, which we clearly stated. This article was a response to the articles by the stated liberal publications that have hammering on this over the last few days.

  3. rws says:

    When you lose a football game, you don’t change the football rules, you practice more, get better players, coach, etc., and strive to excel to win. We send our troops all over the world to fight for democracy and should continue encouraging and promoting democracy in our own backyard.

  4. Richard says:

    If it was based on popular vote alone, then no, I think no one would have any objections. The objection comes when votes are instead based on districts, which were gerrymandered by the House in 2010 to extensively favor Republicans.

    The real issue in this is that congressional districts have been gerrymandered at all, and Republic or Democrat, I think the people should take offense to that

  5. Stahl says:

    Speaking of ‘Mouthpieces’ and hyperbole your article has significant errors and omissions. I will address one of these; the goal of gerrymandering is by definition to “win states and disenfranchise voters.” This is unabashedly the objective stated by republican lawmakers in the States of Pennsylvania, Virginia and Michigan and is a matter of public record.

    It is you who are either forgetful, obtuse or deliberately misleading in pointing out that President Obama would have won in 2008 with the proposed changes. Otherwise you would also mention that the most recent redistricting and resulting gerrymandering by the Republican controlled legislatures of these swing states did not occur until after the 2010 census (once every 10 years). This process would have allowed Romney to garner more than 50% of the electors in Pennsylvania while losing the popular vote to the President by more than 300,000 or 6% (your numbers are inaccurate). Without the most recent gerrymander the President still would have won using a district allocated electoral vote in 2012.

    I’m a fairly conservative independent but the Republican party has given me very little to vote for in recent years. This is underscored by the re-election of Reince Preibus, who you cite as a policy positive, to RNC Chairman and who promised a significant electoral win yet suffered a resounding electoral loss. I don’t get it. This recent movement, if successful, may provide short term gains, but is more likely to result in a 20 year backlash to the GOP if a President loses by 10 million votes and is still elected by 40% of the populous.

  6. Darrin says:

    Could you please explain your last statement:
    “Congressional districts voted for Romney, proving that liberal outrage over the recent round of proposed changes is mostly hyperbolic.”

    Exactly how is the outrage mostly hyperbolic?
    1. The numbers prove that Romney would have gotten 9 of 13 electoral votes in Virginia even though he lost the states popular vote by 4 points.
    2. The Congressional districts in Michigan and Ohio would have also given more electoral votes to Romney even though Obama won those states.
    3. You state that Obama would have won in 2008 which is correct, but you do not disagree with the fact that Romney would have won in 2012 even though he would have lost the popular vote by 5 million votes. That would represent 10x the current biggest differential in a popular vote loss in our history.

    Are you saying you are OK with a 5 or even 10 million popular vote differential as long as one party figures out how to work the electoral college system?

    What would the differential have to be before you finally saw that America was no longer a democracy?

    Lastly, how much would Obama have had to lose the popular vote by and still be accepted by you as the legitimate President of the country?

    It sounds like you are just writing to make your base happy and not trying to be a legitimate journalist. That is sad, anybody with internet access can do that.

  7. revolutionary says:

    I fail to see how this matters at all. The electoral college as it stands now is a joke. It only serves the purpose of a majority rules. I live in a highly democratic state, but strangely enough my congressional district is a majority republican. So when we vote our vote doesn’t even count. They should not be calling a state 15 seconds after the polls close. If voting is about letting everyone’s voice be heard then let our votes count. Because unless we win the majority all of our votes are negated, and we go unheard. So when the president see the electoral college he can say.. “The american people have sent a clear message, but have we? We are divided on values, and morality, taxes and spending. Handouts and hard work, aggressive foreign policy and isolation. Ill say it one last time if voting is about being heard let each voice be heard don’t negate my voice because I live in a state where most think differently than myself.

    1. Darrin says:

      Are you saying we should negate the Electoral College and go with majority rule? If that is the case, I am all for it. The reason we “supposedly”, have an electoral college system is to make each state worth something so the candidates do not spend all of their time in the most populated states.

      I agree we have different values as Progressives and Conservatives. A fair system would be:

      Majority rule with every vote counting
      or
      Electoral College with votes going to percentage of population that votes for you with the winner getting at least 1 vote minimum more than the loser. What do I mean by this? In a state with 200,000 voters and 10 electoral votes, the person that got 200,001 votes would get 6 Electoral College and the person with 199,998 votes would get 4 Electoral College votes. This would make politicians fight for every vote. In addition, the will of the people would always be served as we would never end up with a President that has a lower popular vote than their opponent.

  8. Justin says:

    I think there are a ton of good points in here……..,but we’re already getting close to this whole thing running of its wheels. Democrats…..you want way too much government. Entitlement programs will be the death of us. They were rooted in a policy move that took socialist principles, FDR’s “alphabet soup” programs, and implemented them into our country in a time of crisis. During the great depression Germany and Russia did significantly better than the democracies of the world because the state took care of the people and in return the people took care of the state. We were flat broke and people were starving and unemployed. These socialist programs work in times of economic recession/depression so it helped us in that time of need, but you know what???? It has come back to bite us now. We can’t afford it and the more people turn to entitlement programs then the more the government has the bargaining chips. Who is going to say no to a free pass in this nation that is slowly, but lately ever more increasingly, lazy country. If the government says alright no more…well lets say guns for now that is a very important current issue. Obama wins his attack on the 2nd amendment and we are forced to give up our arms. If people want to fight back and a large percentage of Americans RELY on entitlement programs, whose to say they don’t use that as leverage to get entitlement citizens support. And heck, there are already like 60 million people who think Obama can do no wrong even after watching this ship collect even more water as its sinking. Those of us red blooded Americans who are left are screwed. Some of you may be offended by this, but frankly I don’t give a damn because it’s just how it is any more. Everyone wants to see this huge happy pony land of a grey area that allows them to justify the MOST IDIOTIC things I have ever seen in my life. PEOPLE!!!!!! WE HAVE OUR OWN LEADERS GOING ON TV EVERYDAY AND LYING ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS ON EVEN THE SMALLEST THINGS!!!!!!! How far gone are we going to have to be before you people wake up??? Were talking about this like it’s an Xbox game????? You don’t get to respawn and try again until you get it right?? It’s the real world and right now both sides of this government are NOT on OUR side. This democracy experiment that was started over 200 years ago is almost over. We’re almost to the point where…..hell this nation is already split down the middle based off of the popular vote in the Presidential election. Our voice hasn’t been heard in a long time people and it has nothing to do with a damn election. Crap like this is what makes me worry that my children won’t have a Republic…….BECAUSE WE DIDN’T “KEEP IT”!!!!!! Quit playing games guys because the Progressives quit playing games awhile ago. You want the republican party to do better???? They aren’t much better then the democrats. If they would go back to the people, by the people, and for the people and quit trying to play political games with the democrats on their own turf????? Hell they might be able to come back to the constitution, bring the country back to “We the people”, and fight of this tide of yellow….unethical… progressive sewage, This wasn’t meant to hate on people it’s meant to wake people up. Because you know what those 60 million are still Americans, and they deserve the liberty that we desire to protect as well because they are Americans and that is good enough for me. We need to get them back on the side of liberty. God bless you guys

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