Skip to comments.Electoral Initiative Would Add An Interesting Twist (Larger National GOP EC Majorities Alert)
Posted on 08/27/2007 9:33:59 AM PDT by goldstategop
So if this initiative were to get on the ballot and pass, it would mean that even if the state continued to vote for a Democrat for president, as it has for the past four elections, a Republican would still get some electoral votes. Under this method, Bush would have gotten 19 in 2000 and Gore 35. In 2004, Bush would have gotten 22 electoral votes and Kerry 33.
Democrats are furious over the prospect of a district by district scheme.
They say that unless such a change was made in every state in the union, it would be unfair and would virtually guarantee a Republican president from here on in.
Currently only two states Nebraska and Maine apportion their Electoral College votes based on congressional districts. Maine has been doing it that way since 1972 and Nebraska since 1996. Neither state has ever split its Electoral College votes. Maine's four have gone to the Democrat and Nebraska's five to the Republican.
Some Republicans are concerned that if the ballot initiative were to pass here, Democrats might try to get similar measures adopted in states that would be favorable to them. I wondered about that and crunched the numbers for the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections.
Neither outcome would have changed. In fact, Bush would have won by larger margins.
In 2004 Bush had 286 electoral votes; Kerry 252. Under the district by district method, Bush would have gotten 323; Kerry 213.
And in 2000, Bush had 271 electoral votes; Gore 266. A district by district count would have given Bush 291 votes; Gore 244.
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It’s a bad idea for anyone who supports states rights. Even though this would help Republicans, doing away with “winner takes all” is a step toward popular vote election.
Boy I hope this passes. But then again it has been unfair that Cali’s EVs have been at the will of a few cities on the pacific. Just like it’s been unfair that Pennsylvania’s dem EVs have been made possible by the Pittsburgh area and the New York EBs by NYC.
But, California is big enough to be it’s own country, so this would do the most to level the playing field.
So this is a good Republican strategy. This way, if Dems. want to have this happen in every state, not just Calif, then the Republicans would have done even better.
Maybe this is why Dianne Feinstein recently said, just scrap the Electoral College and have direct popular election of the Pres. and VP.
Until they step up their level of corruption in the elections systems.
actually it a big step for states rights. The state, not the feds have the say so in how the votes are divided. In fact it supports the 10th amendment in that the constitution does not mention the means of distribution of electoral votes, only the means of determining the number. As for elimination of the electoral college,that would take an amendment to do and is unlikely as this has been the subject for debate for decades and no majority against has ever occurred.
Well as long as they don’t force it upon other states-let california do what it wants if they want to keep it the same-fine, if they want to go a congressional district aportionment-fine..
It IS states’ rights. The Constitution mandates only an electoral college with seats apportioned between the states, with each state choosing how those votes are cast.
Direct popular election will probably never happen, because the electoral college and electoral vote system is written right into the constitution. So it would take a constitutional amendment to get rid of it entirely.
But that wouldn’t stop efforts to change how states give their electoral votes to presidential candidates.
Study that one real hard. Without the EV, the red states would be discounted...The Big Cities, read Blue, would rule supreme. The Founding Fathers knew what they were doing.
Think on this: Hitlery is determined to kill the EV. That should tell you all you need to know.
OTHH, My state, Maine, does have the District formula and splits the EV's according to the district votes. This at least gives the republican voters some say.
Yes I see the point. One would think those clamoring for popular vote election of Presidents would accept this rather than putting forward plans to award electors based on a national popular vote...but that would be states rights too I suppose since it is the state making the decision to do this. Nonetheless, I doubt the founders had anticipated either plan.
I never would advocate for Direct Election, but if states want to go the conressional distric appotionment;let them..
that isn’s unconstiutionl, and doesn’t disenfrachise anyone the way direct elections would.
Actually it's not. It would make the electoral college function closer to the way it originally worked before 19th century big city machine bosses got the legislatures to switch to the winner take all format to enhance the power of big cities in national politics. What scares the hell out of the DemocRATs is that much of their national electorate is concentrated in congressional districts designed to elect radical leftist congressmen with 80% or 90%+ proportions of the vote. They would have to abandon much of their agenda to appeal to the marginal congressional district.
It's not surprising that the former mayor of San Francisco is upset that radical left wing big cities would have less national clout. But this was intended by design. Alexander Hamilton understood this perfectly. You should read the federalist papers, especially #68.
I view this as a state's rights issue (OK, state's powers, as they can't have rights, not being individuals). From that narrow standpoint, it is OK. I'm not so sure of the wisdom of this (even if it would be tremendously advantageous to Republicans in Cali and NY). It comes dangerously close to effectively eliminating the Electoral College (even though literally doing so is almost impossible, given that it requires an Amendment), which is what the Dems seem to want (for now, until one of their candidates wins the EV and loses the popular vote).
You know that if the Democrats don’t like it, it must be a good thing.
But the US Constitution does have specific wording that the state legislature determines the selection method for electors. It's arguable whether or not an initiative, rather than a legislative act, can be used to change that method. I'd expect that the initiative sponsors have already considered this point but I don't know what their conclusions may have been.
I don’t see this plan as effectively eliminating the Electoral College. On the contrary, I see this as making it more representative of the people who are voting.
The Electoral College is after all, a legislature that sits for a single purpose. It is far from archaic. It is the most modern and innovative method for choosing a national executive. Currently, due to the winner take all system, the College represents only the states (except for Maine and Nebraska). A change would make it represent both the states and the people and would thus parallel the Congress, as intended.
Actually the Constitution specifically states that the legislatures of the states decide how the electoral votes for their states are distributed.
Well, two states already do partial apportionment of their electoral votes. And I don’t think adopting this rule would really hurt the smaller states, or states rights.
I do agree that unless a good number of states adopt it at once, a single state doing so could really throw things off.
Remember, Colorado tried to do this in 2004, but the voters rejected it. In the end it wouldn’t have mattered, but it would have cost Bush 4 electoral votes.
On the other hand, if Florida had this rule in 2000, Gore wouldn’t have been compelled to fight so hard for the few hundred extra votes, because it wouldn’t have changed the results (no district would have switched, and the two extra “senate” electoral votes wouldn’t have been enough to change the outcome).
The beauty of the electoral college is that it does allow disputes over votes to be confined to small areas. A popular vote for President would mean that in a close race a candidate would have to fight for recounts in all 50 states, with the EC they only have to contest close states.
With a district-by-district apportionment, they’d only have to fight over close districts.
On the other hand, there might be a lot more close districts than there are close states, so maybe there would be more fighting, not less.
That argument might have made sense between 1995 and 2006 when we had the House. However, the Democrats now control a majority of the nation's congressional districts and that's not likely to change in 2008.
Thanks, will do.
It’s probably the cynic in me but why do I feel that if the roles in the 2000 Presidential election were reversed (so that Bush won the popular vote but lost the EC) that you never hear any concern about the EC reform.
It's only "unfair" because California has 55 electoral votes. The next largest state has 34 electoral votes. I doubt they'd scream if it were for a 5 EV state.
When the DemocRATS still held the Florida legislature, they tried to pass legislation allowing division of Florida's electoral vote by congressional district. They wanted to help Clinton out in 1992. Ironically, if this system had been in place in Florida while none of the other states changed, Gore would have been elected in 2000.
Perhaps Feinstein's misundertanding of federalism comes from the 17th amendment.
The President is not the ruler of the people, he is the head of the federation between the states. The governors are the leaders of the people.
Just as Senators were to be selected by state legislatures to represent the states in the Congress, Presidents were to also be selected by the states to oversee common defense, foreign affairs, and relations between the states.
The 17th amendment replaced state appointment of Senators with popular election, and repealing the Electoral College will replace state selection of the President with popular election, too.
As the fertile soil for every whackjob idea to come down the pike, I think California should definitely do this!
If nothing else, it would provide an object lesson to the sane parts of the country.
Can this initiative really pass? Why would a majority Dem state vote it in?
How many electoral votes has George Bush gotten from Maine?
The Democrats were pushing this change for Colorado in 2004, where they would have picked up a few EVs.
If I were a Californian, I’d want to split my state into at least two states, because they really get ripped off when it comes to Senate representation.
I see this initiative as a "put up or shut up" to those pushing a nationwide popular vote instead of the EC. This method makes the vote closer to the popular vote, doesn't require a change to the Constitution, and reflects directly the way Electors are apportioned.
The big sticking point is that the Constitution gives sole power to assign the method of choosing electors to the state legislatures. I don't believe mandating it by initiative would be constitutional; at the least, it will be instantly challenged and head to the courts.
Possibly, because hardly any presidential candidates even bother to campaign in California during the general election campaign.
You assume that because a Dem is the Representative, that the Presidential vote will be the same. That isn't so; ticket splitting is common. Congressional races are far more likely to be decided on local issues, Presidential races on national issues.
Possibly, because hardly any presidential candidates even bother to campaign in California during the general election campaign.
Makes sense, California’s power is not really exercised on a national stage with the current system. Republican politicians are hardly panting to consider California’s well being in lawmaking when we can’t get a Senator or Presidential vote out of CA. Dems can just take it for granted. So CA has their numbers in the House and that’s it. Could be more powerful politically with the change.
Only the elites with their money are courted in CA.
They’d have to REALLY step up, because now they just have to have serious vote fraud in one or two districts in heavily populated areas where it’s harder to detect.
The Dems understand that although there are numerous realistic scenarios in which the Republicans win the White House without winning California, there are NO realistic scenarios in which the Dems win without California.
Colorado is a 9 EV state. There are only four possible outcomes of a prorated distribution with 7 congressional districts and 2 Senate EV's to the winner:
It doesn’t do away with the “winner take all” approach. It just divides the regions into finer granularity.
The concept that helps our Republic is the fact that at some point, and with some granularity, getting 51% of the vote is all the good you can get from that group of people. You have to move on and garner support elsewhere, which causes the President to have broader appeal.
This is definitely a bad idea, because it would allow the GOP to continue to act like democrats and still win the White House. I’d rather make sure they have to work for every vote they get.
My understanding of this methodolgy is that you can go all the back and the only election that would change hands as a result of using this formula is the election Kennedy stole from Nixon.
I looked but couldnt find the report.
5-4 is also possible, since the 2 “senate” electors would be picked by popular vote of the state, and so you could win 4 of the 7 districts but still lose the state.
But you are right that the numbers are much less daunting.
But if they had done this in 2000, Gore would have won the election, as I think it would have swung 3 evs to Gore, giving him a 269-268 victory.
So if this initiative were to get on the ballot and pass,
There is no way that this will pass. We are talking democrats are majority of people 3 to 1 at least. If we were discussing Ohio or Pennsylvania than perhaps it might pass if Republicans worked hard for it.
OK I’m convinced. How often do you read that on FR? :-)
If we went district-by-district all over the country, wouldn’t state politicians just gerrymander so that their party has an advantage.
I'm thinking the same thing. After all, the state itself no longer would be choosing their candidate, each district would.
Even though this would help Republicans, doing away with winner takes all is a step toward popular vote election.
It also could represent a move to Regional, vs. State, Governance.
That is true, but we were discussing Colorado’s attempt to change their state. the poster I was responding to had said that Colorado’s EV count was small compared to California, so I was noting that if Colorado had adopted this policy in 2000, Gore would have won.
I would expect over the next few years, Democrats will be pushing to change the EV system in republican states, and Republicans will do so in democratic states.
I think Ohio was looking at this as well, although recently the Democrats stopped pushing for it, I presume because they feel they will win Ohio in 2008. Maybe soon the Republicans in Ohio will push for it.
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