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Nap Time!!!

Sunday, September 09, 2007
Holy stupid logic

Moving on to a John Diaz column on the local Electoral College reform plan, to allow votes to go by Congressional district rather than winner-take-all in California:
In reality, if California were to apportion electors by congressional district, its current prize of 55 electoral votes suddenly would be diminished to a competition for perhaps five electors (equivalent to Idaho or West Virginia) at the most.
That's because most districts are noncompetitive.

But hold on a second. If we're only talking about noncompetitive votes, is five electors really something that's diminished to? Right now, after all, California isn't competitive at all. That is, there is competition for zero electors. It seems that moving to five competitive electors would be an increase.
I agree that the Electoral College system - with its winner-take-all formula in 48 of the 50 states - is less than democratic. Just ask Al Gore, who won the popular vote but lost the election in 2000. The solution, however, is to elect presidents by direct popular vote, not to let partisans started tinkering with modifications that benefit their candidates in particular states.
The solution is the one that helps Democrats, not the one that helps Republicans. I think it's really hard to argue that this "reform" isn't more democratic than the winner-take-all approach. If folks are so worried about district gerrymandering, why not apportion votes based on the popular vote in the state? Would Diaz's objections fade?

Of course not. The problem isn't so much the gerrymandering as it is that Republicans will get a bunch of electoral votes. Yes, it is a power grab, but it's one that makes things more democratic. The objection that "everyone should do it, then, or else we won't, because it only helps Republicans" isn't any less power-grabby.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 9/09/2007 12:18:00 PM #
Comments (2)
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Look, you have to look at it in context with the rest of the country. These are national elections.

Put on your partisan hat for a second. Party A is guaranteed large state X every election while Party B is guaranteed large state Y every election. Each state has (for the sake of argument) the same number of votes and roughly equal amounts of party A and B members.

If state X were to divide its votes while state Y did not, where there was previously an equal share in the larger scale there is now a 25/75 split, despite equal votes for either side. This is obviously not representative of the will of the people.

I think any electoral reforms need to be done at a nationwide level, since tinkering with the big states first will upset what is already a very fragile system.
I seem to remember California's electoral votes going to some guy named Reagan. I think he might have been a conservative.
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