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All politics is local...or should be

Via-Jer's Notes

I have written on several occasions that I believe the electoral college needs to be changed. As I suggested most recently:

...adopt the same model for the Electoral College as Maine and Nebraska currently employ. Where electoral votes are determined by congressional district with the winner of the states popular vote taking the extra two votes for that state. Why would this help our divisive politics? We must admit a primary reason for our divisiveness is more than just the ideological divide, it is a system that separates that ideological divide into organized camps.

Consider the current swing states and how much attention they receive not only during election but simply by being "swingers". No president of either party will ignore them or as happened to "opposition" states punish them. Obviously as smaller units of the American electorate become "swingers" then potentially the more attention must be paid to them by the political parties.

You can read the whole post to fully appreciate the advantages to adopting this system. I would also add another benefit to adopting this system that I had not previously considered, third parties would have an easier time breaking through the monopoly that the Republicans and Democrats now hold.

I sincerely believe that in a republican form of government what people believe at the local level should be represented and respected, as much as practical, at the State and Federal level. Any system hat promotes this is good for a representative democracy. But now there are also political advantages to adopting this electoral process.

When the Republicans took control of the legislature and governorship of Pennsylvania in 2010 they were sick and tired of having the Philadelphia Democratic machine determining state wide elections and flirted with the idea of adopting the Nebraska/Maine electoral college model. They were dissuaded by establishment Republicans. Why? Probably because it would seriously cut into the centralized power base that the Republican and Democrats hold in maintaining the status quo and if a large state like Pennsylvania adopted it people might begin to seriously consider the merits of the idea. So we are left with a few "key" states determining our Presidential elections.

What Pennsylvania suffers from are large highly populated Democratic strongholds determining the states political course at the expense of the rest of the state. This situation is pretty much the case in every "blue" state in the country and significantly works to the Democrats advantage, especially in Presidential election years where it is easier to mobilize low information voters to the polls in urban environments.

This point was driven home in this election when I happened upon this Not only does this show the outcome of every House District race in the country, it shows which presidential candidate won every congressional district. Well almost, amazingly six districts have not yet been officially determined. If you are a Republican or conservative, be prepared to be further disappointed.

With the winner take all formula (primarily) Obama won 332 electoral votes to Romney's 206, basically an electoral landslide. But what happens if the entire nation used the Nebraska/Maine model of apportioning their electoral votes?

Obama won 26 states and the District of Columbia which would give him 55 electoral votes to Romney's 24 states and 48 electoral votes. However locally at the congressional district level which is what determines the number of electors a state receives Obama won 206 congressional districts to Romney's 223 with those 6 still to be determined districts out there.

So if every state were to use the Nebraska/Maine formula Romney would have won the electoral college vote 271 to Obama's 261, the six TBD votes not being enough to change the outcome. Actually 5 of the 6 TBD congressional districts went to Republican congressional candidates so it likly that Romney won at least half of them. By the way three of those districts are in Pennsylvania and three are in New York.

So if you are thinking that Romney was strongly supported in your community, he probably was as well as in the majority of congressional districts in the country, but in the large population centers, the urban areas he was slaughtered. When you have a winner take all system that is what you get and that is why Obama's big advantage in the GOTV worked decisively.

Can conservatives and Republicans change the electoral formula in all states, no. But at the current time Republicans totally control 24 state governments where they could if they so chose change the way their states electors are distributed. Should all of Republican led states change to the Nebraska/Maine model, not unless the entire nation does.

BUT, how about the states where Obama won where Republicans hold power, the swing states. In the last two years Republicans controlled the state governments of Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin all states that Obama won and thus won all of their 106 electoral votes. If they had adopted the congressional district formula 61 of those votes would have gone for Romney. Would that have made a difference? Well maybe maybe not. it would have still left Obama with 271 electoral votes, two more than needed. BUT that does not account for those three not yet determined votes from Pennsylvania that are all in Republican districts, if they go Romney then Romney has 271 and wins.

The mere fact that Romney won almost two thirds of the congressional districts in six states shows that Republicans are on the wrong side of the electoral math. Let's look at those six states.

The first number is the total number of congressional districts in the state, the second number is how many of those districts Obama actually carried.

VA 11/4
FL  27/11
PA 18/5 (3 TBD)
OH 16/4
MI   14/5
WI    8/3

So in states which Republicans completely controlled the state governments with the power to determine how their states electors are distributed, they lost 106 electoral votes to Obama who only carried 36 out of 94 congressional districts. Perhaps now you can see why the Republicans are called the stupid party.

What you don't think that it would be reasonable for Republicans to legally change their states electoral disbursement formula just because they currently control their state's government? Uh did you happen to watch Obamacare's enactment?

Besides believing that the congressional district electoral vote formula is the fairest and best way to preserve our representative democracy with our growing population it will also protect us from the progressives who are determined to "transform" it and is also a way to defeat them politically.

Will Republicans do whatever is necessary to preserve our Republic, I seriously doubt it, but this would be a good start.


  1. What about the popular vote? Romney lost by over 3 million votes. You want a system where time and time again the person getting more votes loses an election?

  2. As the author sited, the majority of democrat votes came from large urban/city populations with ill-informed voters. The popular vote reflects pure population numbers; large numbers of people condensed into a small area who are voting ignorant of issues and facts. This condensed group, which have within itself a majority of potential voters that comprise the ill-informed, who are most likely to be induced to vote one direction based on a single simpleton promise. Such a “majority” should not be what sets the course of our nation. America is still a representative republic, not a plane democracy.

  3. So, you basically want a system where a few farmers living on 1,000 acres of land have the same voting rights as the city of Chicago.

    That way you can IGNORE the popular vote, and install your partisans in office in spite of losing.

  4. okay. let me see here. rural voters are 'informed' more than their urban counterparts? really? because, if we are going to be all generalized and stuff, i'd say that the prevailing thought would be the 'country bumpkin' versus the 'city slicker'. that's one part.

    now we have the republicans, which could reasonably be said have the traditional south as their strong suit. it seems as though they wish to give themselves a full voting right/strength. damn right! that is exactly right. let's not take anything away from your vote. you are american! let's see...but you want the urban voter's vote to count just a bit LESS than your country vote. about 3/5ths of value. hmmm.

    back to the "ill-informed" urbanites for a second. let's just go ahead and call a spade a spade. ahem. you ARE talking about NEGROES, are you not? your secret code was very difficult to see through. yeah, i WENT THERE.

    so, you have southerners...wanting to count black votes...at about a 3/5ths vote of their own. you really ARE a 'strict constructionist', aren't you? you want to go back to the original constitution, before all of those pesky 'amendments' fouled it all up. ("it was PERFECT already! it didn't need no dang amending!")

    and the sum of this is...you wish to have a system where the person who receives the LEAST amount of votes is the WINNER? do i have this correct? you aren't really interested in fairness much, are you? at least be intellectually honest, you pig.