Shocked To Discover The GOP Does Not Play Fair

There is something pathetic about this post from Kevin Drum about a GOP plan to make some states likely to swing Dem in the 2012 Presidential election not winner take all (example, Obama wins Wisconsin, but only gets 6 of the 11 EVs. See also Obama winning an EV in Nebraska in 2008.) Kevin writes:

[H]ere's what really so disheartening about the whole thing. As recently as a couple of decades ago this would have been a bridge too far for most of the party's mandarins: conservative pundits and senior GOP officials would have sounded off against it because it was just too raw a deal even for flinty political pros. But now we live in the era of Lee Atwater and Karl Rove and Tom DeLay and Fox News. There's really no one left who might object to this merely out of a decent respect for institutional integrity and fairmindedness.

I suppose it is disheartening, but it is not new. What is disheartening to me is how the Democratic Party and some pundits, including on occasion, Drum, handwring over Dems and liberals being "too mean." It is a complaint of longstanding for me. Fighting Dems was something first talked about on the Left blogs in 2003. 8 years later, some are still shocked and disheartened by what the GOP does, and still tut tutting if Dems and progressives are "too mean."

Speaking for me only

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    If they succeed at this (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by CST on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 10:56:31 AM EST
    it might be the end of the electoral college.

    Or at least one can hope.

    Although the evidence from 2000-2004 is... disheartening in that regard.

    That being said, I would oppose a move by Democrats to do something like this.  Not because it's "too mean", but because it's flat out wrong.

    It is forever the bully metaphor (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by Dadler on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 10:57:23 AM EST
    Never face down the bully, never call them on their bullsh*t, and you will forever pay the price. Stand up to the aceholes, expose them for the ignorant idiots they are, and don't back down.  Then maybe you disempower them.

    Sounds (5.00 / 0) (#11)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 11:28:50 AM EST
    like the GOP is trying to win another election with someone who can't win the popular vote.

    Just forget about all this crap and go to the popular vote for deciding the President.

    Technologically possible, yes. (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 11:57:38 AM EST
    Heck, we could have the NSA conduct the election by picking off the opinions we express in phone calls.

    At the very least that would represent a huge leap in voter participation.


    What would be wrong ... (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Yman on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 12:01:07 PM EST
    ... with a popular vote?  What could be more democratic (small d) than the idea of "one person, one vote"?

    It's much harder to manipulate. (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 12:08:50 PM EST
    Probably (none / 0) (#23)
    by cal1942 on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 01:32:01 PM EST
    will never happen.

    As it is the small states have a disproportionate advantage re the status quo.

    It takes 2/3rds of both houses of Congress and then 3/4s of the states to pass a constitutional amendment.

    Can you imagine a state like Wyoming giving up its electoral college advantage.


    That's (none / 0) (#35)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 02:42:56 PM EST
    what people say but are there enough states like that to get in the way of passing an amendment?

    That sounds (none / 0) (#26)
    by Zorba on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 01:36:51 PM EST
    like the way to go to me, instead of this Mickey Mouse state-by-state sh!t that the Republicans want.  Of course, if we had years ago eliminated the Electoral College and used only the popular vote, Al Gore would have won in 2000.    ;-)  

    I'm making (5.00 / 0) (#36)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 02:45:27 PM EST
    it my own personal little thing where I'm changing minds little by little. I have convinced a number of people that we should be going to a popular vote by telling them that do they think that a Republican's vote in a blue state shouldn't count? Gets them to starting thinking. Also our presidents who haven't won the popular vote have been disastrous for the country. One person one vote.

    It's just business as usual for Rs AND Ds (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by lambert on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 11:38:40 AM EST
    Obama was just as corrupt in the 2008 TX caucuses (giving the lie to the idea that he's spineless. He's plenty "mean" when there's somebody or something in the way of what he wants).

    How can you have fighting Dems? (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 12:54:27 PM EST
    When, for all practical purposes, we have no Dems anymore?

    And my subordinate clause above isn't there just for show.  It's not hyperbole.  The only practical use of the Democratic Party, for me, was to forward progressive policies.

    They no longer do that.  They forward the interests of bankers, insurance companies, oil companies, defense contractors and related cabals. And, in the process, limit our rights and liberties.

    So a "fighting Dem" now would be of no interest to me.  They would be fighting for interests I do not care about. In fact, they'd be fighting for interests I actively oppose.

    I suspect that no matter what kind of (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 01:44:26 PM EST
    system we had, you can be sure there would be people making money trying to game it for the politicians who would stand to benefit.

    One person, one vote seems fair to me, more fair than the entire country being chopped up into strangely-shaped districts that change from cycle to cycle, and large-population states having more influence than small ones.

    I'm pretty much over the months-long primary season, too, and all the stupidity over which states get to go first, which ones get to be more meaningful.  Let the candidates take their case to the people week after week, let them strategize and shape their messages and positions as PPP and Rasmussen and the major networks come in with the horse-race numbers, but if we all have to go to the polls on the same day in the general election, why can't we all go to the polls on the same day in a presidential primary?

    And if we could get the corporate money and the special interests and PACs out of the let's-buy-a-candidate mix, and did 100% public financing of elections, we might stand a chance of having something that actually resembles representative government.

    [You can all stop laughing and rolling your eyes now...]

    I would love to see (4.50 / 4) (#33)
    by jbindc on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 01:58:09 PM EST
    Elections like in England - 6 weeks of campaigning.  Just think - we wouldn't have to have these people in our faces for a whole 'nother year!

    They have (none / 0) (#37)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 02:46:54 PM EST
    something similar to that in Canada too according to some friends of mine there.

    I'm with you. By the time the election rolls around I'm so sick of the commercials. Maybe that's what demoralizes the voters and we have such poor turnout for elections?


    Winner takes all ensures (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by BTAL on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 01:57:55 PM EST
    that third and additional political parties will never succeed.  If anyone believes that the current two party system is broken then eliminating winner takes all is the only way to attempt fix the problem.

    Is this any meaner than messing with (4.50 / 4) (#7)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 11:12:57 AM EST
    Clinton's votes in the primary?  (Sorry, couldn't help myself.)

    Are there any constitutional issues (none / 0) (#1)
    by observed on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 10:52:11 AM EST
    raised by having states apportion electors differently? One would think so.

    According to the (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 10:58:31 AM EST
    linked Mother Jones article:

    Here's the rub, though: Each state gets to determine how its electoral votes are allocated. Currently, 48 states and DC use a winner-take-all system in which the candidate who wins the popular vote in the state gets all of its electoral votes. Under the Republican plan--which has been endorsed by top Republicans in both houses of the state's legislature, as well as the governor, Tom Corbett--Pennsylvania would change from this system to one where each congressional district gets its own electoral vote. (Two electoral votes--one for each of the state's two senators--would go to the statewide winner.)


    Nebraska and Maine already have the system the Pennsylvania GOP is pushing.


    Nor is there anything obviously illegal or unconstitutional about the GOP plan. "The Constitution is pretty silent on how the electors are chosen in each state," says Karl Manheim, a law professor at Loyola University in Los Angeles. The GOP plan "would certainly increase the political advantage of politically gerrymandering your districts," he adds.

    So, no, it doesn't appear that there would be a constitutional issue.


    Could a state apportion electors (none / 0) (#8)
    by observed on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 11:12:58 AM EST
    disproportionately within the state itself?

    Yes, in that (none / 0) (#9)
    by Towanda on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 11:21:17 AM EST
    redistricting can result in disproportionate districts?

    Btw, to be more clear on that comment (none / 0) (#10)
    by Towanda on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 11:24:50 AM EST
    I recently read quite an expose on redistricting in Wisconsin, one of the states cited by Drum as run by Republicans now planning this electoral-college delegate split.

    The redistricting is quite skewed to create solidly Dem or solidly Repub districts, and Obama will be lucky if the result is that he gets almost half of the electoral-college delegate votes.  


    None whatsoever (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 10:54:08 AM EST
    I figured you would have mentioned (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by observed on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 10:55:56 AM EST
    any such issues, but it's disappointing to know the truth.

    We can thank every so called Democrat (none / 0) (#13)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 11:41:24 AM EST
    whether politician, pundit or who has labeled every push back from the left as the "far left," "purity trolls" or the "loony left" etal for fact that was once considered extreme by the right is now common place. Every unchallenged extreme rightward position, statement that legitimizes their agenda and every capitulation to their agenda for the sake of "pragmatism or bipartisanship" has brought us to where we are today.    

    Bad things happen when you hit post (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 11:45:24 AM EST
    when you want to preview.

    We can thank every so called Democrat, whether politician, pundit, commenter or voter who has labeled every push back from the left as the "far left," "purity trolls" or the "loony left" etal for fact that which was once considered extreme by the right is now common place.


    A label a day (none / 0) (#16)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 11:58:44 AM EST
    keeps the framing in play.

    Not so much on social issues (none / 0) (#24)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 01:33:48 PM EST
    Listen to religious conservatives and you will detect a strain of fatalism.....

    Gay rights is becoming a big win for progressives......

    Women's rights--as it used to be framed a couple of decades ago--has been a complete loss for social conservatives.....There used to be a time when Phyllis Schlafly could tell women to not work outside the home....

    There has been no greater societal change than the role of women in society over the last 20-30 years.    Look at any movie from the 1960s and how women are depicted.....The difference is staggering....

    Conservatives know they are losing on social issues....this is why imo they are against the federal government--because it has caused much of the change they despise.

    The end of DADT will spell the end of the era of the dominance of social conservatives...


    I guess if you define women's rights (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 03:44:24 PM EST
    only by a woman's ability to work outside the home you could possibly frame it as a complete loss for social conservatives. I have been around the last couple of decades and to the best of my knowledge the people working to promote women's rights have not limited themselves in the way you are framing the issue.

    Women still make less than men for comparable positions. Women are being hired considerably less frequently than men during this economic downturn. Social conservatives have chipped away at a woman's right to choose to the point that in many cases they have all but eliminated that right in many states for poor women. Most of these changes have come about IMO as a result of let's be reasonable and give the social conservatives a little here and a little there until the pragmatism whittled away the rights that women had a couple of decades ago.

    I totally disagree with your framing when it comes to women's rights.      


    Completely agree (5.00 / 3) (#47)
    by huzzlewhat on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 05:23:56 PM EST
    The pushback against what women have achieved has been devastatingly effective. Both in terms of legislation and attitude, the social conservatives are winning by appearing to concede. You know the line from The Usual Suspects: "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist"? That's the trick social conservatives have pulled on feminism -- they've convinced the world that misogyny doesn't exist -- and that there's no more need for woman to push for equal rights, because they've got it all already. If that's accepted wisdom, then feminist critiques can be dismissed as coming from ultra-radical man-haters, men can be told that they're the ones who are really disadvantaged (women have all the power, really...), and women's progress is pushed back little by little across the spectrum. Women who push for more meet a furious backlash -- we already have it all, how can we be so greedy as to ask for more?

    As far as how women are portrayed in mainstream culture -- it's enough to make me cry in anger sometimes. The big difference in how women are portrayed in films in the 1960s and today seems to be that in the 1960s, directors weren't allowed to show the outline of Laura Petrie's butt and they weren't allowed to show the underside of a woman's breast, and so they actually had to give their characters personalities. Practically every woman onscreen these days is portrayed through a male filter (in the fictional programs, reality TV is a whole 'nother disaster area!), and the number of movies or TV shows that pass the Bechdel test is pitifully small.

    Um. Right. That was a bit of a rant! Time for cocktails... :-)


    Let's try this example (none / 0) (#52)
    by MKS on Thu Sep 15, 2011 at 12:55:35 AM EST
    This comes from the t.v. series All in the Family.......circa 1970.

    Meathead has a riddle.  A man and his son are driving home from school when they get in a car accident.  The son is severely injured.   When the father and son arrive in the ER, the doctor looks at the boy and says, "Oh my God, it's my son."  How can this be?

    No one could answer the riddle--then.  Everyone was guessing hte boy had been adopted, switched at birth.....

    I am not saying all is well.  But society has changed significantly......

    Women characters are much more often portrayed in positions of authority.  Linda Hunt last night in NCIS is the head of the office and now on a secret mission.

    Ever see the movie 12 Angry Men?


    Haven't seen the episode... (none / 0) (#54)
    by huzzlewhat on Thu Sep 15, 2011 at 11:07:12 AM EST
    But I'm guessing that Meathead knew the answer to the riddle, and that that was the point of the riddle being told.

    Nope, Meathead (none / 0) (#55)
    by MKS on Thu Sep 15, 2011 at 11:32:05 AM EST
    did not know.....

    Edith solves it....

    Very funny episode.....Reminds me how funny that show was.....

    Here is a portion of the episode on Youtube.  Watching the whole segment is worth it.



    And, this is (none / 0) (#56)
    by MKS on Thu Sep 15, 2011 at 12:06:27 PM EST
    No, I do not so confine (none / 0) (#51)
    by MKS on Thu Sep 15, 2011 at 12:43:15 AM EST
    the issue.  It was just by way of example.

    I have been around more than a couple of decades and I guess my perspective is a little different.....

    Abortion rights have been eroded somewhat but this I hope will be temporary.  As long as Roe stands, the courts will throw out much of the new restrictions.....In the haste here to elect a Republican in order to support Democratic values, Roe could fall within a couple of years.

    In terms of employment, that sycthe cuts across all.  I have seen data that shows the first to be laid off were men--primarily in the construction industry.

    From the perspective of the 1960s, the changes for women are unmistakeable and irreversible.  


    Once again disagree (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by MO Blue on Thu Sep 15, 2011 at 07:40:35 AM EST
    There is nothing temporary in the ongoing assault on a woman's right to chose. Our rights are continuing to be eroded. The following occurred in the last couple of months:

    Since late August, women have no longer been able to get abortions at the Planned Parenthood clinics in Prescott Valley, Flagstaff and Yuma, Arizona. Planned Parenthood in Arizona made a decision to stop abortion services at the clinics in these cities after the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that certain laws limiting abortions were constitutional and did not place an undue burden on women wanting to get an abortion. link

    CHICAGO, Sept 2 (Reuters) - An appeals court on Friday upheld much of a South Dakota law setting out what a pregnant woman should be told 24 hours before an abortion, including that the procedure would "terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being."

    The appeals court overruled a lower court's ruling and upheld the provision that a pregnant woman seeking an abortion must be informed that she has "an existing relationship with that unborn human being and that the relationship enjoys protection under the United States Constitution and under the laws of South Dakota;" doctors must advise women that the procedure will "terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being" and that "by having an abortion, her existing relationship and her existing constitutional rights with regards to that relationship will be terminated." link

    On the job front:

    Men lost more jobs and are still disproportionately out of work when compared to women. At the same time, men are starting--albeit just barely--to regain those jobs. Jobs disproportionately held by women, on the other hand, are not coming back. The Center for American Progress's interactive graphic shows this by industry; click on "job losses" and then "play the timeline." One reason: many "women's jobs"* are government-funded. That includes teachers but also home health aides, nurse's aides, child-care workers--all the jobs that make it possible for working families and single parents to show up for their swing shifts without locking the kids in the car for eight hours or leaving grandpa alone at home with a bedpan. Those jobs are paid for by state and local governments, which are still laying off workers. As Parramore puts it, "Women are the shock-absorbers for government budget cuts. link

    Some states already do this (none / 0) (#19)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 12:35:53 PM EST

    So, just how is this "unfair."  A change like this is always a political decision.

    BTW, Obama may very well get additional EV's from Wisconsin rather than zero if this comes to fruition.


    The Real Question is Why (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 12:52:29 PM EST
    Seems like the R's lose an election they always want to fiddle with the next one, never mind, they do that when they win as well.  This system is working OK, and unless they want to dissolve the EC, they should leave it alone.

    Or they should spend their time working on jobs, the economy, the wars, Wall Streets, and a million other things far more pressing then the EC.

    Doesn't it bother you that you teams is constantly trying to game the system instead of putting in the work to actually earn those votes ?  For a party that claims this and that about, they are always trying to get something for nothing.

    At this moment in time, Congress has no business working on districting EC votes.


    The Real Question is Why (none / 0) (#29)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 01:45:04 PM EST

    And the real reason is always the same, and always will be the same every time a state moves to or moves from that system, that is for political reasons.  

    Two states have that system now, that is neither fair nor unfair.  It is just politics.  If those two go to winner take all that is neither fair nor unfair.

    Politics is politics calling it unfair is silly.  



    "Seems like the R's lose an election" (none / 0) (#39)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 02:49:17 PM EST
    Seems like the R's lose an election they always want to fiddle with the next one
    You'd be shocked, shocked!, I'm sure, to find those dagnabbed D's do it too...

    The year after the Presidential election of 1968 in which, of course, Nixon, (R), won:  

    Rep. S. Glenn Starbird Jr., D-Kingman, introduced a bill to the 104th Maine Legislature in January 1969 that would change Maine's method of applying its electoral votes [from winner take all] to the congressional district method

    Nebraska is the other state which has adopted the congressional district method, but it has a unicameral legislature so I guess we can't pretend to be shocked that party politics be involved...


    You can tell Wisconsin (none / 0) (#22)
    by MKS on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 01:24:38 PM EST
    is a safe Blue win in 2012--because the Republicans are trying to change the rules there.

    Republicans don't really like true democracy and so no shame in doing that or in voter intimidation schemes.....


    It's really not (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Towanda on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 01:42:40 PM EST
    as the Republicans run the state now and have just redistricted in a way that will not help Dems.

    Also, the Republicans have wanted this for a long time, and they actually think and act long-term, so they will do it now while they run the state.


    Yup (none / 0) (#25)
    by cal1942 on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 01:36:46 PM EST
    That's the risk when making a decision based entirely on current circumstances.

    Popular vote is the best solution but it will never happen.


    If you thought Florida was a C.F. (none / 0) (#30)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 01:47:23 PM EST

    Just try a national recount with a 32 vote margin.  No thanks.

    Yeah, ... I'd much rather have ... (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Yman on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 01:52:08 PM EST
    ... the Supreme Court choose the winner than have to deal with a recount.

    Waaaaaaaaayyy too much trouble.

    Let's just keep it the way it and have some people's votes count more than other people's votes.


    It's not a matter of too much trouble (none / 0) (#34)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 02:34:06 PM EST

    It's bad enough when a local election gets decided by votes discovered in the trunk of someones car, or the number of dead people is greater than the margin of victory, but the presidency is another matter.  

    Are you ready for a national I.D. card and national registration?


    I don't get this argument (none / 0) (#40)
    by sj on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 02:58:07 PM EST
    Yes, there are outliers, but in general local officials do a good job at determining results for other races in a pretty timely manner.  Why would adding another race suddenly make it so much more cumbersome?

    And if it were more cumbersome for whatever reason so what?  Why do we think we need to have results of something so important by the time we wake up the next day?


    So you're suggesting that, ... (none / 0) (#42)
    by Yman on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 03:53:20 PM EST
    ... somehow, there is a greater potential for election fraud if we use the popular vote rather than the electoral college?

    How does that work?


    Yep (5.00 / 0) (#46)
    by sj on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 05:21:02 PM EST
    I would add, though, that a recount is meaningless where there is no paper trail to follow.

    There's never (none / 0) (#38)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 02:49:02 PM EST
    been a national election with margins that close so that's a complete fallacy or would you rather cling to the last remnants of slavery in the constitution?

    "There never has been" (none / 0) (#44)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 04:27:56 PM EST

    is no assurance of "never will be".  As a matter of fact a permanent changes means an unlimited number of chances, and therefore it is merely a matter of time before the fluke occurs.

    So (none / 0) (#48)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 05:35:22 PM EST
    you'd rather cling to the last vestiges of slavery for convenience. Okay. Not surprising to hear this from a conservative.

    Be sure to tell your fellow travelers in blue states not to show up to vote then since you don't think their vote should count for anything.


    Geezuz (none / 0) (#57)
    by cal1942 on Fri Sep 16, 2011 at 10:54:02 PM EST
    If you're too damned lazy to count then get out of the whole thing.

    Diversity is singing Kumbaya with Tenors & (none / 0) (#49)
    by seabos84 on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 08:09:42 PM EST

    In those "diverse" professional managerial leafy hoods which provide a financial ... 'backbone'... to the Democratic Party, going along to get along is more "sophisticated" than what you find in some fire breathing fundie church on Sunday morning, BUT

    the 'backbone' ONLY funds milquetoasts!

    The righties actually tolerate MORE diversity, when you think of it, in tactics and strategy. They've got kinds of the think tanks pumping big worded lies, they have all kinds of looney tunes - beck & hannity & rush & palin (at 1,000 feet they all look alike - they aren't up close.)

    the thing the righties do in lockstep is that when they find some sheeeet that sticks, they all start throwing it!

    dems don't have circular firing squads - they have mobs of dishrags.

    the mean meanies are mean & the lying thieves are ripping everyone off and lying about it ...

    no sheeeeeeeeeet.