As discussed in a prior post, I favor the adoption of a constitutional amendment to eliminate the Electoral College for the election of our President and Vice President and instead to have direct election of those offices by national popular vote. But that amendment has not been adopted. Thus, we are stuck with the Electoral College for the presidential election in 2016 and thereafter.
In anticipation of 2016 the Republican Party is concocting a flimflam scheme to rig the Electoral College so that a Republican candidate could be elected president even though he or she was a clear loser in the national popular vote.
This scheme is being organized by the Republican State Leadership Committee and its Redistricting Majority Project, or REDMAP.
In states whose legislatures are controlled by Republicans, but whose voters favored President Obama in 2012, Republican legislators and party officials are developing legislation to allocate those states’ presidential electoral votes by congressional districts. Those districts already have been gerrymandered by those same Republican-controlled state legislatures to favor Republican congressional candidates. As a result of this gerrymandering, Republicans now have a 33-seat majority in the House of Representatives even though Democratic candidates for Congress collectively got 1.1 million more votes than their Republican opponents in the 2012 election.
The result of such changes, if adopted, would be to reduce the Electoral College votes of a Democratic Party presidential candidate who had the most popular votes in such states and in the nation as a whole. Under some scenarios, it could even result in the election of a Republican presidential candidate who lost the national popular vote.
The lesson for Democrats, liberals, progressives as well as those who believe in the principles of democracy: be vigilant. Identify any such efforts in your states. Publicly oppose those measures. Lobby for state legislative opposition to them.
This outrageous GOP campaign is being investigated by Rachel Maddow of MSNBC and by the Associated Press.
7 thoughts on “GOP Scheming To Thwart Majority Popular Vote for President”
To abolish the Electoral College would need a constitutional amendment, and could be stopped by states with as little as 3% of the U.S. population.
Instead, The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC), by state law.
Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of ‘battleground’ states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 80% of the states that now are just ‘spectators’ and ignored after the conventions.
When the bill is enacted by states with 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 presidential election system that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers but, instead, is the product of decades of evolutionary change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.
The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.
In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in recent closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.
The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states with 243 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions with 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.
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Thanks for the comment. I agree.
Comment: Under GOP Scheme, Romney Would Have Won Electoral College in Last Election # 376A—-1/25/13
As noted in the above post, the Republican Party is pursuing a scheme in some states to allocate their Electoral College votes by the popular vote by congressional districts, rather than by the overall vote in the state.
An analysis of the U.S. presidential election in 2012 shows that Governor Romney would have had more Electoral College votes than President Obama even though Obama won the national popular vote by a large margin.
We the People need to wake up and work to block this scheme.
Bycoffe & Scheinkman, What the 2012 Election Would Look Like Under the Republicans’ Vote-Rigging Plan, Huff. Post (Jan. 2013),http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/24/republican-vote-rigging-electoral-college_n_2546010.html.
Comment: “Rig the Vote” 1/26/13
This is the title of a column by Charles M. Blow of the New York Times discussing the recent Republican moves in several state legislatures to change the system of allocating Electoral College votes for president. The operating GOP philosophy seems to be, he says, “If you can’t win by playing fair, cheat.”
Recent articles in the Times and the Washington Post provide additional reporting on the GOP scheme.
Blow, Rig the Vote, N.Y. Times (Jan. 26, 2013), http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/26/opinion/blow-rig-the-vote.html?ref=opinion; Assoc. Press, THE RESET: GOP Is Pushing State Election Changes, N.Y. times (Jan. 25, 2013), http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2013/01/25/us/ap-us-the-reset.html?scp=2&sq=filibuster&st=nyt&pagewanted=print; Henderson & Haines, Republicans in Virginia, other states seeking electoral college changes, Wash. Post (Jan. 24, 2013),http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/republicans-in-virginia-other-states-seeking-electoral-college-changes/2013/01/24/430096e6-6654-11e2-85f5-a8a9228e55e7_story.html
Comment: More Criticism of GOP Scheme # 376C—1/28/13
The GOP scheme to change states’ allocation of presidential Electoral College votes and thereby potentially alter the outcome of presidential elections has caught criticism from Bloomberg News’s Albert Hunt, a frequent contributor on The Charlie Rose Show. He called it a “political coup.”
Hunt, Changing the Path to the Presidency, N.Y. Times (Jan. 28, 2013), http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/28/us/28iht-letter28.html?ref=world&pagewanted=print; Charlie Rose Show, http://www.charlierose.com/.
Comment: Haley Barbour Says No GOP Plot To Rig Electoral College Voting # 376D–1/28/13
On January 25th, Haley Barbour voiced opposition to “plans by Republican state legislators around the country to hand out electoral votes by congressional district, and insisted there was no “‘big Republican conspiracy’ to rig elections.”
Do you believe him? I do not.
Robillard, Haley Barbour against electoral college change, Politico (Jan. 25, 2013), http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/haley-barbour-electoral-college-86736.html?hp=l15
Comment: Washington Post Condemns GOP Scheme To Rig Electoral College
An editorial in the Washington Post says the previously discussed GOP scheme to manipulate electoral college voting is “particularly egregious. Following through on them not only would damage the GOP’s reputation but also could drain all legitimacy from the electoral college system.”
The Post also points out “the unequal effect of only some states moving to a district-based or similar system. Republicans might switch the system in Democratic-leaning swing states but keep the winner-take-all standard in reliably red states — a result conceivable because of widespread GOP control of state legislatures and governorships.” This would make the electoral college result even less reflective of national sentiment as reflected by the popular vote.
Finally, according to the Post, such changes could make the final result less certain with many recounts since “victory margins in close congressional districts would hinge on even fewer votes because of the smaller vote totals.”
Editorial: The GOP’s bad fixes to the electoral college, Wash. Post (Feb. 1, 2013),