Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I'm not sure Pennsylvania is a swing state

After all, we haven't actually given our electoral votes to a Republican since 1988. And that was to George HW Bush—who, everybody knows, wasn't really a Republican. If we really were a swing state, I'm pretty sure the state GOP wouldn't be pushing this plan

In 2012, after redistricting, Pennsylvania will have 20 electoral votes and 18 congressional districts. Under Pileggi's proposal, each of the districts would elect one presidential elector; the other two would be apportioned on the basis of the popular vote.

Only two other states allocate electoral votes by congressional district, Maine and Nebraska.

Pileggi and other GOP leaders in the legislature, all of whom are expressing support for the effort, argue the proposed new system will more closely reflect the popular will of voters.

And it would! And that's a good thing! Only problem is this is a transparent ploy by Republicans to take electoral votes away from Democrats and give them to Republicans. I can't imagine that the Republican Party in my home state of Kansas, say, would ever back a similar effort in a state that hasn't voted Dem since 1964. Why take the chance of losing one electoral vote for a Republican president?

So I like the idea—a more democratic, "small d" way of allocating electoral votes. But I don't like that it's just happening in Pennsylvania, in a manner designed to disempower Democrats. So do it. But do it nationally. Doing it or not doing it state-by-state is just political hackery under the guise of federalism.


Anonymous said...

I think it cuts both ways. If surely would help Republicans in deep blue states and Dems (primarily) in the South. One feature of the Electoral College I've always liked, and I think it was intended, is that the winner-take-all process forces candidates to campaign in swing states, especially medium-size ones that they might neglect. My worry is that a system of proportional electoral votes will allow candidates to cherry-pick where they go, potentially ignoring portions of the country. I may be wrong, but that's my impression of how this would work.

deregulator said...

Meant to ID myself on that post. Sorry.

Joel said...

Hi Rick: As a Kansan, I can tell you that candidates already cherrypick where they go, ignoring portions of the country. This just slices and dices it a little finer.