Rigging the electoral college?

posted at 7:01 pm on December 8, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

This is a somewhat troubling question which I first noticed being addressed by Dr. James Joyner over at Outside the Beltway. He’s talking about a definitely hyperbolic entry from Mother Jones which accuses the GOP of trying to rig the electoral college through various acts of villainy in advance of the 2016 elections. The basic crux of the story is a renewed plan to try to move the Keystone State from the winner takes all model to a split decision such as is used by Maine and Nebraska. Mother Jones sees it as a plan to undermine democracy, but Joyner isn’t so sure.

Changing the rules in September would have been blatantly unfair, since the campaign had been waged under existing rules and the likely outcome was predictable. But, surely, changing the rules nearly four years out—well before the campaign has commenced—isn’t inherently a bad idea.

This proposal is, as I said, similar to the split used in Maine and Nebraska, but not identical. They award theirs based on who wins each congressional district, plus a two point bonus to the overall winner for the Senate based seats. This new plan for Pennsylvania would just break up the electoral votes based strictly on the state’s popular vote, with – again – a two vote bonus to the winner. So is this undemocratic, Dr. Joyner?

To the extent that Pennsylvania’s 20 electors are a lock for the Democrats, he current system is “rigged” (to use Baumann’s scare word) in their favor. After all, while a 5 point statewide margin is substantial, it’s nonetheless the case that 47% of Pennsylvanians are disenfranchised by the result. Obama should have gotten 10.3 electors to Romney’s 9.7; or, since that’s not possible, 11 to Romney’s 9. And even that would substantially overstate Obama’s margin of victory. Since Pileggi is proposing a 2 point “bonus” (actually, just an awarding of the 2 electors based on the Senate) to the winner, the 11-9 outcome would make sense.

I can see Joyner’s point, but this question looks very different depending on whether you’re examining it from the state level or the national level. Anyone who is a fan of states’ rights should recognize that the Constitution allows each state to allocate their electoral votes however they choose, but it also serves as a reminder of a larger issue. I’m talking about the difference between state elections for state offices and state elections for a national office. If New Hampshire decides to elect their governor by having citizens drop colored stones into clay pots, that’s their business and they have to live with the results. But state by state differences in how we elect the President and Vice President leave certain possibilities open which are troubling to say the least.

In the example given above, it’s noted that the GOP is trying to switch both Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to a split electoral college vote. It doesn’t take much imagination to guess why, given that both of them are states with a significant number of EC votes which the GOP has been losing consistently by small margins, while essentially gerrymandering the state level structure to give them control of the local government. (Don’t get upset by that last sentence. New York and other states do the same thing to favor the Democrats. It happens all over the country on both sides.) And it is also noted in the article that there mysteriously seems to be no effort by the GOP to push for such reforms in reliably red Texas.

The long and the short of it is that if the Republicans can force the Democrats to split the electoral votes in the states where Democrats win and keep the red states winner take all, it provides a decided advantage. But is that fair? Would you want to win under those circumstances? I suppose the immediate question is, could the Democrats manage the same feat? I’m not sure if we have any examples of states where Democrats lose the presidential election but control the state government. Joyner asks that question as well, but doesn’t provide any examples. Perhaps some our more experienced readers can suggest some.

All in all, it’s yet another thing which nudges me toward the idea of having some sort of national standards for elections which only apply to the Presidential race. It’s an ugly thought and sounds very much anti-states’ rights, but there are just so many variables in election laws that the system begins to look a bit suspect the more you tamper with it. So what do you think? Is this even a problem? And if so, what should be done about it?


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I would kinda prefer to go by congressional districts. The amount of voting fraud in Philly is staggering, and they don’t even bother to hide it anymore.

Archivarix on December 8, 2012 at 7:06 PM

Yes.. I support winning ugly.

Illinidiva on December 8, 2012 at 7:07 PM

All in all, it’s yet another thing which nudges me toward the idea of having some sort of national standards for elections which only apply to the Presidential race.

Thought number one: how about they start by publishing their real birth certificate?

Archivarix on December 8, 2012 at 7:08 PM

Living in California, I’m plenty tired of not having my vote count for anything — bring it on!

cthulhu on December 8, 2012 at 7:08 PM

The commies cheat.

Charlatanic thugs can only be beaten with measures/attitudes worse than theirs.

Schadenfreude on December 8, 2012 at 7:09 PM

Since the mid 90′s I have thought the EC should be divided based on percentage of votes received. 50% + 1 gets you all the EC for a state when you only earned 50% + 1 of votes.

It would make every state and every voter valuable instead of just a handful. Every vote in a state would be crucial to the parties. It would also take the “mandate” out of play unless a party actually “cleans” up in the election.

VikingGoneWild on December 8, 2012 at 7:10 PM

I would kinda prefer to go by congressional districts. The amount of voting fraud in Philly is staggering, and they don’t even bother to hide it anymore.

Archivarix on December 8, 2012 at 7:06 PM

I like this idea.

VikingGoneWild on December 8, 2012 at 7:11 PM

But is that fair?

Who cares? I’m sick of playing footsy with the left while they have their boot on the necks of every freedom living American. These people wouldn’t hesitate for a second to do this if they could, same goes for Mother Jones. They don’t care about democracy. They only care about power and anything that helps the right take it away for them will always makes these toads accuse the GOP of being undemocratic.

I say fluke em’. May they wallow and suffocate in their hysteria.

jawkneemusic on December 8, 2012 at 7:13 PM

As long as we keep an electoral college system where fraud in Chicago, Seatle and Milwaukee don’t pollute the vote in other states, I would let the states do what they want. In Nebraska, the state always votes red but the one congressional district is more democratic and this gives the Dems a chance to pick up an EC. I have not heard the GOP complaining about that or the Dems apologizing for it; so if other states want to do something similar its OK. There is also the advantage that some states that would never see a presidential candidate may have visits to swing congressional districts. That may be a good thing.

KW64 on December 8, 2012 at 7:14 PM

What difference does it make? I can’t believe after the election people are sitting around thinking were going to magically elect some conservative President. Popular vote, Electoral vote or a show of hands, it won’t make any difference. We are a distinct minority, we’re not going to win anything. And if by some miracle we did, we’re so financially screwed and culturally entrenched in liberalism nothing is going to change.

lowandslow on December 8, 2012 at 7:15 PM

So is this undemocratic, Dr. Joyner?

Of course, it is. But I’d rather have an undemocratic election than an un-Republican one.

Archivarix on December 8, 2012 at 7:15 PM

Is it fair? When was the last time Democrats ran a fair election?

LoganSix on December 8, 2012 at 7:16 PM

I would kinda prefer to go by congressional districts. The amount of voting fraud in Philly is staggering, and they don’t even bother to hide it anymore.

Archivarix on December 8, 2012 at 7:06 PM

Agreed, this means the frauds voting multiple times or voting for dead voters in Philadelphia have to bus out to other swing congressional districts where they are more likely to get caught.

KW64 on December 8, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Electoral college?

More like a trade school.

If we could institute proportional electoral votes, by congressional district, instead of winner takes all.

Might improve things.

[And we truly need voter ID. Even those UN observers made that commentary. Astonished, was the word I think they used. If they require ID in Iraq, Eritrea, and all over the world…seems we may want to stop this talk about voter suppression and get down to the fact that fraud exists and has existed, and will not go away until we stop the liberals and MSM from framing the narrative.]

coldwarrior on December 8, 2012 at 7:19 PM

If this were to pass in illinois you’d see a solid red state except for the little blue chicago. Maybe then the people who actually work in the state would get fair representation and our leaders wouldn’t be completely corrupt.

speekr on December 8, 2012 at 7:20 PM

We are a distinct minority, we’re not going to win anything. And if by some miracle we did, we’re so financially screwed and culturally entrenched in liberalism nothing is going to change.

lowandslow on December 8, 2012 at 7:15 PM

Chin up lowandslow, remember Rudy Giuliani won in an overwhelmingly Dem to GOP registration city in NYC and Christi won in heavily D NJ. Despair leads to not trying and not trying guarantees defeat. Determination opens up possibilities.

KW64 on December 8, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Fight crime with crime? Fight fire with fire?

Bmore on December 8, 2012 at 7:22 PM

I live in a Republican district in PA & would love to have my vote counted for whoever I actually vote for instead of being hijacked by the urban areas which have the bigger population & the Democrat party in control … Democrats are deathly afraid of a fair election!

DJ Dubya on December 8, 2012 at 7:24 PM

Electoral college, we don’t need no stinkin electoral college, just give us more free shit.

Why the Obama Administration keeps misreading the Arab spring.

SWalker on December 8, 2012 at 7:24 PM

This is what actual rigging the system looks like, compared to various conspiracy theories by the vast conservative imagination.

lester on December 8, 2012 at 7:24 PM

Pennsylvania is the future of the country. Between welfare, entitlements, illegals, and government workers, 53% rely on the government. And they all feel they deserve more.

pat on December 8, 2012 at 7:25 PM

…fair election?…wha what what’s that?

KOOLAID2 on December 8, 2012 at 7:28 PM

lester lobotomy on December 8, 2012 at 7:24 PM

…as usual!…GFY!

KOOLAID2 on December 8, 2012 at 7:29 PM

By congressional districts seems fair, even if here in Tennessee it means dems would gain some electoral votes. While we are at it, why not go back to having state legislatures choose senators?

tngmv on December 8, 2012 at 7:30 PM

I’d love to see the numbers played out in a national scale.

LtGenRob on December 8, 2012 at 7:37 PM

William F. Buckley, Jr., after doing poorly in the race for Mayor of New York, said that the next time he would advocate “..voting by invitation, only.”

I could offer a humble something on the rest of this but I am going to a church Christmas party.

In the best of all worlds, we would limit voting to attendees at such affairs.

IlikedAUH2O on December 8, 2012 at 7:39 PM

So Lester, I guess Maine and Nebraska are dens of political corruption. Whereas Illinois is pure as the driven snow. I guess >100% voter participation and precincts where absolutely no one voted for Romney, not even by mistake are not causes for concern. Nothing to see here. Move along.

xuyee on December 8, 2012 at 7:41 PM

I believe all states should have proportional allocation but I think they should do it like Nebraska and Maine (and New Hampshire?) do it … by Congressional district. BUT … doing it by Congressional district opens the process up to manipulation through gerrymandering so maybe I *do* like the straight division by popular vote with two vote bonus to the overall winner.

Actually, the more I think about that, the better I like it.

crosspatch on December 8, 2012 at 7:44 PM

William F. Buckley, Jr., after doing poorly in the race for Mayor of New York, said that the next time he would advocate “..voting by invitation, only.”

I could offer a humble something on the rest of this but I am going to a church Christmas party.

In the best of all worlds, we would limit voting to attendees at such affairs.

IlikedAUH2O on December 8, 2012 at 7:39 PM

When asked what would he do if he won, he said “Demand a recount.”

tom daschle concerned on December 8, 2012 at 7:45 PM

Because nothing undermines Democracy like a socialist dictator.

Jackalope on December 8, 2012 at 7:47 PM

The problem with this tactic is doesn’t allow liberalism to fail.
We must resist the temptation of allowing the libs an excuse of why
they failed. We must stand back and let liberalism take it’s course and fail under it’s own weight. It’s how all other evil philosophies were eliminated. If we get in the way we will be blamed for the libs failures. I understand this is a long term strategy
and I will never see the culmination in my lifetime but it’s how it will have to be.

rik on December 8, 2012 at 7:47 PM

There you go again, JS. You’re adopting the language of the left. “Undemocratic “?

Try “Republican”. Look at how the EC & Senate is structured to give small states clout at the national level – at least until the 17th Amendment. For states to split their EVs is eminently republic like and more in the constitution model. Of course it’s not “democratic” nor is that the intent. Why should a handful of enclaves dictate the outcome for all others in a given State? With a split EC, every vote counts and that should matter more than a simple majority. So what if contenders have to compete in every district instead of focusing on certain urban districts?
As for Texas, let them do likewise if and when they chose to do so. It’s an explicit constitutional right for them to decide how to formulate their ECVs. At least this is much better than some States trying to go for popular vote takes all across the country instead of by State.

AH_C on December 8, 2012 at 7:49 PM

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canopfor on December 8, 2012 at 7:51 PM

IIRC, Obama only visit 11 states his whole campaign, and Romney 13

The electoral college is great for the few swing states, but I’m surprised more states don’t get a clue and do this also

If a state like PA that usually is a waste for Repubs all of a sudden splits its vote, you can be damn sure that state will get a lot more attention– sounds like a win for the state and a win for us

When the commies are the only losers, that sounds like a pretty good bargain

Time to roll up the sleeves, and break out the brass knuckles even

I’m sick of losing honorably

The leftists will justify all kinds of fraud and illegality thinking they have the moral high ground

Its time for us to play their game, and do it better

thurman on December 8, 2012 at 7:53 PM

We should absolutely go for it. This would work in Michigan. Republicans have a solid majority in the senate and congress and we have a republican governor. We just passed a law that will make us a right to work state despite being union central.

The only problem is, would some states not want to do this because the president would then be less likely to do favors (i.e. Iowa farm subsidies)for states with so few electoral votes?

kmalkows on December 8, 2012 at 7:53 PM

I would kinda prefer to go by congressional districts. The amount of voting fraud in Philly is staggering, and they don’t even bother to hide it anymore.

Archivarix on December 8, 2012 at 7:06 PM

Agreed, this means the frauds voting multiple times or voting for dead voters in Philadelphia have to bus out to other swing congressional districts where they are more likely to get caught.

KW64 on December 8, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Correct, and this is why we still hold the House of Reps, because the House is much harder to steal than Senate seats or the Presidency.

slickwillie2001 on December 8, 2012 at 7:54 PM

Yes, changing Pennsylvania’s allocation is dirty. Given that we’re up against a party that uses the court to dictate all social policy, inventing rights out of thin air, I say do it.

Stoic Patriot on December 8, 2012 at 7:57 PM

Yes.. I support winning ugly.

Illinidiva on December 8, 2012 at 7:07 PM

or dirty, or any other way . . . just win!

rplat on December 8, 2012 at 7:59 PM

Don’t get upset by that last sentence. New York and other states do the same thing to favor the Democrats

This is laughably untrue. The dem’s get WAY more votes in NY than the GOP does but the state is gerrymandered in the GOP’s favor quite heavily.

Rainsford on December 8, 2012 at 8:00 PM

I’m not sure if we have any examples of states where Democrats lose the presidential election but control the state government.

Pretty sure West Virginia is one, but that wouldn’t change how WV votes for President. They’re as red in presidential races as they are blue in statewide races.

vegconservative on December 8, 2012 at 8:00 PM

Rainsford on December 8, 2012 at 8:00 PM

You as stoked as me that Michigan is now a right to work state? huh?

tom daschle concerned on December 8, 2012 at 8:02 PM

I would kinda prefer to go by congressional districts. The amount of voting fraud in Philly is staggering, and they don’t even bother to hide it anymore.

Archivarix on December 8, 2012 at 7:06 PM

As a GOP elections attorney who dealt with problems in the city on election day, I can tell you that the real problem is simply the lack of minority party oversight in Philadelphia. State law currently prohibits out of county poll watchers and minority inspectors, making it difficult to ensure polling place integrity. When Obama supporters make up 85% of County voters, it is hard to find a sufficient amount of Philadelphian Republicans willing to take off on a weekday. The simple solution is to allow any Pennsylvania resident to serve as a poll watcher at any precinct in the state. Considering there were five statewide races this election alone, every Pennsylvanian should have the right to safeguard the fairness of Pennsylvania polling without regard to county borders.

blammm on December 8, 2012 at 8:02 PM

You ask is it fair? Is it fair conceding that CA’s 55 electoral votes will automatically go to the Dem candidate? NY’s 29? Doesn’t splitting EVs level the playing field which is what the EC was meant to do to keep the BIG states from dominating but they do anyway since all it takes is winning the EVs in the right 11 states to get to the required 270: CA 55, TX 38, NY 29, FL 29, PA 20, IL 20, OH 18, GA 16, MI 16, NC 15 and NJ 14. Putting TX aside, it takes winning at least 6 of the right states to offset the 55 in CA. Short of tens of millions of us relocating to red states before the 2020 Census to tip the EV counts away from the libturd northeast and west coast, what else is there? I don’t doubt that people are fleeing from places like CA due to Prop 30 and as soon as I get some money I’m escaping from IL to a nice solid red state so maybe in a few generations the majority of people will live in red states and dominate bcuz that’s where the jobs wills be. It’s a crap shoot as to whether conservatives will ever be able to properly communicate their message and I doubt that the stupid lazy dumbmasses are gonna get smart or unlazy anytime soon. People talked about George Soros and his plan for Dems to take over the SOS offices in all states to control (corrupt) elections, so why can’t Republicans who are working hard to take over statehouses hatch their own plans? In case you haven’t noticed, we’re at war in this country, sad as that sounds.

stukinIL4now on December 8, 2012 at 8:03 PM

I believe it is a states rights issue. Congressional districts are over 500,000 voting blocks. In Nevada it would separate out Las Vegas and allow votes for the more conservative voters. Likely the two bonus votes would go to the way of Las Vegas voting.

In Calif it would be similar but the two votes would be diluted because of the number of districts. Calif. is really two distinct states by physical location. The coast v. inland. Personally I think it is worth looking into.

BullShooterAsInElk on December 8, 2012 at 8:04 PM

Is it dirty? Sure. Would I like to see it done anyway? Absolutely, with the only caveat being that it could open the door for copy-cats on the red side. Many red states like their Democrat pols as well.

Also, it would open the door to eroding the electoral college.

For those who curse the hypocrisy and perfidy of Republicans, remember all the sturm und drang for months and years over the Republican’s plan to bypass the Senate filibuster to allow Bush’s appointees to have, you know, a vote. It was a national scandal. My college professors railed against it. The Times and Posts of the world ran denunciations on the front page.

Now the Democrats are in charge of the Senate, they’re going to just end the filibuster – without even anything to really gain because the GOP holds the House – and the media will kick it through the news cycle in one day. There’s no angle in playing fair with the Chicago crowd.

As to the charge of “cheating”, there has only ever been 2 Presidential elections and only 1 in the last century – 2000 – where the margin represented by this move would have made the difference.

HitNRun on December 8, 2012 at 8:06 PM

So is this undemocratic, Dr. Joyner?

Of course, it is. But I’d rather have an undemocratic election than an un-Republican one.

Archivarix on December 8, 2012 at 7:15 PM

My thought, too.

davidk on December 8, 2012 at 8:06 PM

This is laughably untrue. The dem’s get WAY more votes in NY than the GOP does but the state is gerrymandered in the GOP’s favor quite heavily.

Rainsford on December 8, 2012 at 8:00 PM

Well then the Dems in NY are about as intelligent ..as …you.

CW on December 8, 2012 at 8:06 PM

The idea of a democratic republic is lost on most people.

hillbillyjim on December 8, 2012 at 8:09 PM

I would kinda prefer to go by congressional districts. The amount of voting fraud in Philly is staggering, and they don’t even bother to hide it anymore.

Archivarix on December 8, 2012 at 7:06 PM

Agreed, this means the frauds voting multiple times or voting for dead voters in Philadelphia have to bus out to other swing congressional districts where they are more likely to get caught.

KW64 on December 8, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Correct, and this is why we still hold the House of Reps, because the House is much harder to steal than Senate seats or the Presidency.

slickwillie2001 on December 8, 2012 at 7:54 PM

Agree with you all and this concept. I’m pretty damn tired of 13 or 14 counties always determining the entire allotment of electoral votes. This looks like a mostly red state to me.

PatriotGal2257 on December 8, 2012 at 8:09 PM

one of the few things maine does right.
I never understood why any state would willingly allow their votes to automatically be turned towards the candidate ANOTHER state voted for.

dmacleo on December 8, 2012 at 8:10 PM

lester on December 8, 2012 at 7:24 PM

You’re an idiot.

Solaratov on December 8, 2012 at 8:15 PM

People, off topic I know, but a Marine needs our help.
http://themorningspew.com/2012/12/08/ex-us-marine-chained-to-bed-in-mexico-prison/

bloggless on December 8, 2012 at 8:17 PM

I do like the idea of electoral votes going to candidates district-by-district. It makes more sense, and gives voters a more “accurate” picture of the votes cast. I do not like the current system where we’re told: “One candidate got 100% of the votes—just take our word for it!”

DixT on December 8, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Just ignore the mo-lester – he has nothing intelligent to contribute.

honsy on December 8, 2012 at 8:22 PM

I do like the idea of electoral votes going to candidates district-by-district.

The only problem I have with it is that it makes the incentive to gerrymander the districts even greater because the Presidential elections are also at stake.

crosspatch on December 8, 2012 at 8:25 PM

I live in Pa and in every statewide election philly decides the outcome ….so I have to live with the results of an election which I know is shady ….if one accepts the premise that the election results coming out of philly are indeed rigged in favor of the democrats then close to have the residents of the state are pissing in the wind every election cycle

Aggie95 on December 8, 2012 at 8:27 PM

I hadn’t realized the Pennsylvania plan was to split the house electoral votes by the state’s popular vote margin and dump the senate electoral votes on the overall state winner. I thought they were planning to do it by Congressional district popular vote winners as Nebraska and Maine do. As other posters have pointed out, the Congressional district approach seems much more manageable and would quarantine areas of high voter fraud like Philadelphia. Great city – cesspool for politics.

Jill1066 on December 8, 2012 at 8:29 PM

Since we allow — some would say encourage — illegal aliens to vote and foreign contributions to be made without worry of consequences (“screw the law” being the attitude of inside-the-beltway morons and the LSM), let’s do it right then: open up contributions from — and allow voting by — everyone in any country!

That Constitution-thingy-there has been dead for quite some time now anyway …

/disgusted

ShainS on December 8, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Is it fair for the liberal soccer moms in the Philly suburbs to force the votes of western Pennsylvania to be counted for the Presidential candidate who won’t let them tap into their natural resources to create jobs?

Is it fair for Urban areas to increasingly drown out the rural areas?

I’ll support Texas splitting their votes up if California does the same, why do Southern California and the Central Valley get ignored in Presidential elections even though they have serious issues they need to deal with on the federal level?

What Pennsylvania is doing is perfectly fair because it is perfectly legal and I’m sick of Republicans worrying about what is “fair” with several knives sticking out of their backs with a Liberal’s fingerprints all over them.

Do it Pennsylvania. Do it Texas. Do it California. Do it Wisconsin.

Daemonocracy on December 8, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Advantages:

1. In a close election, forces candidates to address issues raised by third party candidates that might be getting traction in a region on an issue or set of issues.

2. Allows a third party candidate to actually collect electoral votes and really matter. Currently, a third party candidate for President is simply a throw-away vote. It is like having an officially recorded non-vote. There is no way these days a third party candidate can get an electoral vote because they are not going to win the popular vote of a state.

3. Maintains the regional and cultural differences between different parts of the country. Issues important to Western or Southern or Northeastern states are still reflected in the allocation of electors rather than simply throwing all of a state’s electoral votes according to the national popular vote as some states have proposed.

crosspatch on December 8, 2012 at 8:32 PM

The idea of a democratic republic is lost on most people.

hillbillyjim on December 8, 2012 at 8:09 PM

We’re not a “democratic republic.” Our form of government is a constitutional federated republic. Our founding fathers abhorred the very merest possibility of democracy, and it was one of the few things the Federalists and Anti-federalists agreed on.

gryphon202 on December 8, 2012 at 8:39 PM

We should absolutely go for it. This would work in Michigan. Republicans have a solid majority in the senate and congress and we have a republican governor. We just passed a law that will make us a right to work state despite being union central.

The only problem is, would some states not want to do this because the president would then be less likely to do favors (i.e. Iowa farm subsidies)for states with so few electoral votes?

kmalkows on December 8, 2012 at 7:53 PM

This President will be a lame duck if his party can’t take back the house in two years, and that’s still an upward climb for his party without the Obama name on the ballot. Pennsylvania splitting their electoral vote based on district would open the floodgates for other states to do the same. Imagine a 2016 Presidential election where the national campaigns start visiting individual districts and listening to their specific local concerns, other districts in other states will want the same attention and no longer will we have to worry about electing another President of Ohio.

Daemonocracy on December 8, 2012 at 8:44 PM

But state by state differences in how we elect the President and Vice President leave certain possibilities open which are troubling to say the least.

Only for statist leaning individuals like yourself. This issue is a nothing-burger to be left to Pennsylvanians to decide for themselves. We don’t need the JazzShaws of the world ruling on high with their hand-wringing concern trolling to dictate to us. We have enough numbskulls already who fit into that mold. A much larger electoral college problem that effects us all is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Al though I suspect your anti-federalist side supports this.

All in all, it’s yet another thing which nudges me toward the idea of having some sort of national standards for elections which only apply to the Presidential race.

I rest my case.

NotCoach on December 8, 2012 at 8:45 PM

Considering they start out every election with an automatic 55 electoral vote advantage (California, the most votes in any state), there’s not enough “rigging” possible to make things even close to fair.

Oxymoron on December 8, 2012 at 8:52 PM

We’re not a “democratic republic.” Our form of government is a constitutional federated republic. Our founding fathers abhorred the very merest possibility of democracy, and it was one of the few things the Federalists and Anti-federalists agreed on.

gryphon202 on December 8, 2012 at 8:39 PM

I’m not going to argue your point, but I maintain that in fact we are a republic that is constructed with features with commonality with a “democracy”. A true democracy is not in existence; the closest anyone came was Athens and Greece at one point, but even that is fraught with contradictions.

Not here to play wordy-word.

hillbillyjim on December 8, 2012 at 8:53 PM

But is that fair? Would you want to win under those circumstances?

Talk to me about “fair” when the Democrats stop engaging in and supporting widespread vote fraud.

ObamaCare passed because the Democrats changed the rules in MA about replacement Senators, AFTER Kennedy died. Then there’s the Torricelli maneuver.

I think this is a great idea. It’s even better that there are no states where the Democrats can return the favor.

Greg Q on December 8, 2012 at 9:05 PM

Winning under the most gentlemanly, sporting conditions is (almost?) always preferable.

We don’t have the luxury of playing by those rules any longer – the Dems have manipulated the game as best they can for years now, and not doing everything possible to counter them comes close to dereliction of duty in my mind.

Aquarian on December 8, 2012 at 9:22 PM

So is this undemocratic, Dr. Joyner?

Of course, it is. But I’d rather have an undemocratic election than an un-Republican one.

Archivarix on December 8, 2012 at 7:15 PM

Anyone else notice it is only undemocratic when reforms to the electoral college favor Republicans?!

Jurisprudence on December 8, 2012 at 9:58 PM

Gaming the electoral college to spread out it’s influence to a broader area might be a relevant solution to the redblue divide. Candidates and parties would be forced to take their case to a broader spectrum of voters that the narrowed swing state game.

This could be good for the party and vision that takes up articulating a clear common sense vision of what they stand for. Go figure, that would be just about no one of either party in the last election cycle, from top to bottom.

FYI, there is one internationally respected sport that scores itself somewhat like the electoral college — tennis. You need to be the first to win 6 games in a set. If you win all your service games, all you need to do is win one service game from your opponent. You can then take a breather and focus upon winning the rest of your service games. Set, repeat, match over.

What’s different between tennis and politics is tennis players a service break up don’t just pull up a chair and lounge their way thru the rest of the opponent’s service matches. They punish the opponents running them from side to side, forward and back chasing points just barely within their reach. Aka, even when up a game, they play to punish the opponent at every possible point…

Not so modern political thinking, especially from the contemporary GOP LOSERship. The collective old man LOSERship wisdom is to pour all your effort into a few select places and damn the rest of the nation… Just hows that working out for the GOP?

Seems the last time the GOP was on the rise, the GOP leadership (not LOSERship), came up with common sense, easily communicated, set of nationally relevant visions that were sold nationally and WON nationally. This happened in part because the opposition had to spend a lot of time chasing down every point in every game, ran out of energy and lost the match (or election).

Seems the GOPs geriatric political consultants need to put down the shot glass and get out an learn how to “game” a win by challenging everywhere, not just here and there…

drfredc on December 8, 2012 at 10:21 PM

Lets do this in California. That’ll be the day.

JellyToast on December 8, 2012 at 10:24 PM

I’m not sure if we have any examples of states where Democrats lose the presidential election but control the state government.

I think Missouri is about as close as you can get to this, I believe the Reps control the State House/Senate but this past election the Democrats kept the US Senate Seat, the Governorship and Romney won the state, I will never understand my home state. I thought we were nuts when we elected a dead guy.

Rogue on December 8, 2012 at 10:31 PM

I tried to get a similar electoral vote proposition in California after the 2000 election. I had it worked down to the point of even describing what should be done with a statistical tie, and the lawyer from the State Attorney General’s Office told me it was the best one of that type he had ever examined (there apparently are a few offered every so often). I could get NO support from anyone. My arguments that it would make it more likely for democrats in republican districts to get out to vote, and vica versa, had no impact. I had one Republican honcho tell me that he liked the old fashioned way better – even though there is no historical reason for states to be winner take all except that it was easiest in a pre technological society.

I wish I still had the text. I suppose I could check with the State of California and see if they still had it.

It could be done in California, and I bet it would win, based on the principle of fairness. Frankly, every state should do this – having democrat’s votes in red states mean nothing is as bad as having my vote in California mean nothing. And it would stop the bribery and pandering that presidential elections have become.

deadite on December 8, 2012 at 10:44 PM

I should add for Jazz Shaw’s benefit that the current method favors the Federal govt making huge grants to certain states, and having democrats put huge get out the vote operations in cities in order to swamp the votes of the surrounding rural and urban areas. There is nothing fair in that. But it is how we have ended up with a man who increasingly flouts the constitution.

deadite on December 8, 2012 at 10:47 PM

This is what actual rigging the system looks like, compared to various conspiracy theories by the vast conservative imagination.

lester on December 8, 2012 at 7:24 PM

No Lester this called allowing peoples vote to count. I think this should be done in all the states. I have always been a fan a proportional EC. It gives people (democrats as well) in those states that are not battleground states a say in the outcome of a national election.

Plus: That way we as a nation don’t have to be held hostage to places like Iowa every year which forces both sides to defend king corn subsidies.

William Eaton on December 8, 2012 at 10:50 PM

Mother Jones sees it as a plan to undermine democracy,

… and this is bad because …?

We don’t have a democracy, we have a representative republic. This kind of thing is exactly what is needed to restore that democratically elected representative republic. As it is, a few large population centers of each state are able, by sheer population and outright fraud, to swing the presidential results for an entire state. By breaking this up into the original intent of each representative district having an elector, the effect of election fraud is largely diluted (a bad thing in the democrats’ eyes and apparently also Mother Jones Magazine editors’ eyes) and an entire state’s interests are properly reflected in the election of the president.

As we are learning, in spades, pure democracies are a really bad thing.

AZfederalist on December 8, 2012 at 11:10 PM

It’s getting to the point where I just hate liberals. I never used to hate them, I just thought they were misguided, but the older I get the more I can’t stand the way they operate. They’re never content, even if they win, they’re not content. They’re always trying to tear apart the system that got them to where they are so that no one else can get there.

This is already no longer the country I grew up in, because of them, now they want to make it unrecognizable for my children, when they hit my age. They won’t be happy until this is 1950′s Soviet Union or Cuba in the 1960′s. Isn’t there one Republican smart enough to tell the country that the Democrats aren’t moving forward, they’re trying ideas put forth in the 19th century, tried and failed in the 20th century, and doomed to fail again?

bflat879 on December 8, 2012 at 11:32 PM

They won’t be happy until this is 1950′s Soviet Union or Cuba in the 1960′s. Isn’t there one Republican smart enough to tell the country that the Democrats aren’t moving forward, they’re trying ideas put forth in the 19th century, tried and failed in the 20th century, and doomed to fail again?

bflat879 on December 8, 2012 at 11:32 PM

No we are trying something entirely new. Some group named Devo sang about it.

We are rocketing ahead! Why, we have a POTUS with a futuristic skin tone and I have had young, suburban, community college kids tell me on Facebook that they can’t wait for the likes of me and Bill O’Reilly to die.

This was a fight I got into since they were Bill O. and America bashing cause he (Bill O.) didn’t understand the metaphysical essence of that stupid Korean singer’s insulting reference to some South Korean neighborhood full of rich kids. You’d think even American kids would know about the rich neighborhoods in North Korea, and that is where hardly anyone starves to death. But, nnnnnoooooooo.

They they had to make an emergency munchies run from their dorm so we never finished the discussion.

IlikedAUH2O on December 8, 2012 at 11:57 PM

You pull this crap in PA and you won’t control anything in a few years. People do not want their electoral clout reduced.

Pythagoras on December 9, 2012 at 12:07 AM

bflat879 on December 8, 2012 at 11:32 PM

You would be surprised how many Russians agreed with you. Even before Vlad made it OK to have that opinion.

Of course, Vladimir Vladimirovich has been accused of election rigging and the people who were going nuts about his crimes are getting quieter every day. Nothing is his fault, according to many in Russia.

…millions of Russians still believe that Vladimir Putin has good intentions and that when things go wrong, it is because of bad advisers, corrupt officials or criminal gangs putting spokes in the wheels.

And what happens next?

In recent weeks criminal charges have also been brought against some of the Kremlin’s most vocal critics, in what looks like a co-ordinated crackdown.

When the state gets strong enough and controls the media, that is what happens.

The kids in my post above who wished for my death will soon tire of just wishing.

IlikedAUH2O on December 9, 2012 at 12:10 AM

I’m not sure if we have any examples of states where Democrats lose the presidential election but control the state government.

Are you kidding me? Try Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama until THIS election. Democrats have controlled the state governments of those states for over 130 years but they vote Republican for President. West Virginia is an example for this year. They voted Romney but Democrats control the state government.

It’s due to gerrymandering. You make it so you either divide Republican areas up into several Democrat districts or you collect up all the Republicans into as few districts as possible.

You basically use redistricting to set the boundaries so that you ensure your party never loses that district.

crosspatch on December 9, 2012 at 12:53 AM

If you want to have that bacon and ham, sometimes you have to wallow with the pigs and play their game. I love bacon and ham.

msupertas on December 9, 2012 at 1:30 AM

Considering they start out every election with an automatic 55 electoral vote advantage (California, the most votes in any state), there’s not enough “rigging” possible to make things even close to fair.

Oxymoron on December 8, 2012 at 8:52 PM

If we are going to fix problems with the electoral college, we should start by excluding ILLEGAL aliens and other non-citizens from the numbers that determine how many electoral votes each state gets.

ILLEGAL aliens and other non-citizens can’t vote in U.S. elections, but they are included in the census figures which determine how many congressional seats each state gets and as a result how many electoral votes each state gets.

Illegal immigration not only redistributes seats in the House, it has the same effect on presidential elections because the Electoral College is based on the size of congressional delegations.

In the nine states that lost a seat due to the presence of non-citizens, only one in 50 residents is a non-citizen. In contrast, one in seven residents is a non-citizen in California, which picked up six of these seats. One in 10 residents is a non-citizen in New York, Texas, and Florida, the states that gained the other three seats.

http://www.cis.org/ImmigrationEffectCongressionalApportionment

The reason California has so many electoral votes is because California has so many non-citizens and lots of “Sanctuary Cities” that are a magnet for ILLEGAL aliens.

wren on December 9, 2012 at 1:54 AM

53% rely on the government. And they all feel they deserve more.

Plus, next time we hear from the Detroit woman, she’ll have an Obamaphone AND an OPad.

RADIOONE on December 9, 2012 at 6:15 AM

If the Federal Government didn’t aggrandize non-consented Responsibilities and Powers, then the National Elections would become simple disagreements; and therefore, these issues of concern regarding the electing of President, Senator, and Representative would lose its anger.

Less government, less arguing.

John Kettlewell on December 9, 2012 at 6:56 AM

The only problem is, would some states not want to do this because the president would then be less likely to do favors (i.e. Iowa farm subsidies)for states with so few electoral votes?

kmalkows on December 8, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Is that really a problem?

The electoral college isn’t the problem. Buying votes with subsidies, EBT cards, grants, student loan forgiveness etc is the problem. Your freebie steals from your neighbor, your neighbor’s freebie steals from you and on both thefts the government takes its cut.

As our Republic becomes more of a Democracy theft by Government will become more of a problem.

jpmn on December 9, 2012 at 7:44 AM

We’re not a “democratic republic.” Our form of government is a constitutional federated republic. Our founding fathers abhorred the very merest possibility of democracy, and it was one of the few things the Federalists and Anti-federalists agreed on.

gryphon202 on December 8, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Ha! We became a democracy with the ratification of the 17th amendment. Then, like all democracies, we began to vote ourselves gifts from the Treasury. ØbamaCare is just the latest of the gifts.

Odysseus on December 9, 2012 at 8:34 AM

When you have an election day that lasts for weeks and allows for the harvesting of vast number of votes and couple this with the absentee ballot scams and we have lost control of the electoral process. Our presidential election process has been punked by the left and it is going to get worse before it gets better.

devolvingtowardsidiocracy on December 9, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Be nice if number of electoral college votes were also determined by how much a state has in debt. California and Illinois would get about 10 electoral college votes while Indiana would end up with 50.

Coolidge on December 9, 2012 at 9:21 AM

I’m for colored stones in clay pots. (we can keep it at my house). Makes so much more sense in a utopian society where almost half the citizenry never pays taxes (which I clearly define as skin in the game yet this fact is regarded publicly as a gaffe)and yet votes. No doubt frequently, no doubt to raise taxes, making just over half the population in fact their slaves.
So at this point stones and clay pots look like the next progressive step.

onomo on December 9, 2012 at 9:43 AM

Either every state is winner take al or every state is proportional. One rule for blue states and another for red states? C’mon people.

libfreeordie on December 9, 2012 at 11:46 AM

If every state adopted this method, we would help to negate voter fraud in Blue cities and make the race more national in character.

Laurence on December 9, 2012 at 11:59 AM

I actually think that all the big states should break down their electoral votes to blocks of 10 or 15. It’s not really fair, for example, that northern California gets dragged wherever southern California wants to go. A handful of states shouldn’t get to decide every presidential election while the rest have no voice.

Murf76 on December 9, 2012 at 12:04 PM

It is a Very Bad Thing for states to be able to elect themselves responsible state government (Republican) and then inflict Democrat Senators and Presidents on the rest of us with winner talk all. The responsible state government insulates them from the full pain they should be getting.

Republican controlled states that are helping elect Democrat Presidents should gerrymander the bejeezus out of the state, and they should base their electors for the Presidential elections on those gerrymandered districts. It is the responsible thing to do.

It is also clearly Constitutional.

fadetogray on December 9, 2012 at 12:19 PM

It’s an ugly thought and sounds very much anti-states’ rights

Yes. Ugly indeed.

Is this even a problem?

No.

petefrt on December 9, 2012 at 12:25 PM

CA and a number of other states have passed laws that will assign all the state’s electoral college votes to the Presidential candidate who wins records the largest number of popular (individual) votes on the national level.

The laws will become effective when a trigger based on the number of states with matching laws is reached. It is a way to undermine the EC process through individual state action.

in_awe on December 9, 2012 at 2:24 PM

I seem to remember people doing break-downs of previous elections (back to Kennedy-Nixon) where if all states did the district gets one EV and the state winner gets two more EV that none of the results would have changed (totals changed, but not the winner.) Haven’t seen such for the two previous elections.

htom on December 9, 2012 at 4:03 PM

What about pure national popular vote for the Presidency only? All the other options are designed to privilege one group over another and all the other options violate the simple equality of the one-person-one-vote ideal. This would make every vote count equally, would make every state’s population relevant to the presidential campaign, would encourage greater turnout, would make positive impacts upon voter apathy, and would improve voter awareness of candidates and issues.

JimmyHuck on December 9, 2012 at 5:24 PM

wren on December 9, 2012 at 1:54 AM

I would point out to you that the Re-Apportionment of 2011 was the first since CA joined the Union that it did not add Congressional Representation.
Even though the in-migration of illegals still occurs at a fairly rapid pace, the out-migration of U.S. Citizens (and taxpayers) is accelerating, to the benefit of states such as TX, UT, and others where individual initiative and responsibility are rewarded, and not punished.
As CA argues (incessantly) about the need to bifurcate the Property Tax Roll to make it “fair”, the Census too should be bifurcated between Citizens, and Illegal-Aliens who a priori are not entitled to representation, since they shouldn’t be here in the first place.

Another Drew on December 9, 2012 at 6:54 PM

onomo on December 9, 2012 at 9:43 AM

It would help too, in that so many of our new (youth) voters are essentially illiterate.

Another Drew on December 9, 2012 at 6:57 PM

in_awe on December 9, 2012 at 2:24 PM
JimmyHuck on December 9, 2012 at 5:24 PM

Un-Constitutional on both counts.
Electors to the EC must be chosen by the electorate of the State which they represent.
Popular vote has no place in the EC system, except how it relates to an individual state.

Another Drew on December 9, 2012 at 7:01 PM

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