Skip to comments.GOP Electoral Ploy Will Backfire
Posted on 01/31/2013 11:13:56 AM PST by fractionated
"We must stop being the stupid party," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal warned fellow Republicans recently. "It's time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults."
Many Republicans apparently weren't listening, because they insist on doing stupid things. Exhibit A: lawmakers in a half-dozen states who are trying to alter the Electoral College system to give Republicans more votes.
This is a desperate and ultimately self-defeating reaction to the changing demographics of America. The GOP calculus seems to be: We can never appeal to minorities, and we cannot win the presidency without them, so let's rig the system to reduce their influence -- and, in the process, really tick them off. The result will be to make minorities feel even more unwelcome in the Republican Party than they already do, and more likely to step up their organizing and voting efforts.
In all but two cases, Maine and Nebraska, all of a state's electoral votes go to the winner of the popular vote. Republicans loved this system when they were regularly capturing the White House (five of seven times between 1980 and 2004). But Barack Obama's two victories have scared the heck out of them, and with good reason.
In 1980, the electorate was 88 percent white, and Ronald Reagan won 56 percent of that vote in easily defeating Democrat Jimmy Carter. Last year, Mitt Romney actually bested Reagan among whites, winning 59 percent. But whites accounted for only 72 percent of the total vote, and Obama crushed Romney with minorities, taking 93 percent of blacks, 73 percent of Asians and 71 percent of Hispanics.
These minority voters, often clustered in urban areas, provided key margins for Obama in swing states such as Ohio, Florida and Virginia. So, figured those brilliant GOP strategists, perhaps the law could be changed to allocate electoral votes by congressional district, thus boosting the leverage of rural areas and undercutting that Democratic advantage. If that alternative system had been in effect last fall in Virginia, for example, Romney would have won nine of 13 electoral votes -- even while losing the state by 150,000 popular votes.
From a crass political viewpoint, it might be worth enraging minorities if the GOP ploy had any chance of working. But it doesn't.
Smart Republicans are appalled. "It's not going to happen in Virginia," insisted the state's ambitious Republican governor, Bob McDonnell. State Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel called the scheme "pretty shortsighted." Then a state Senate committee controlled by Republicans killed the bill.
Even if these proposals somehow became law, they would immediately be challenged in court as racially biased. And that's exactly what they are. State Sen. Charles Carrico, the lead sponsor in Virginia, candidly explained his motive in The Washington Post: "The last election, constituents were concerned that it didn't matter what they did, that more densely populated areas were going to outvote them."
Most federal judges will surely understand that "densely populated areas" -- along with "urban" and "metro" -- are code words for race. And by the way, Sen. Carrico, that's how democracy works. The majority wins. Blacks in Alabama and gays in Idaho also feel outvoted.
Just because an idea is stupid doesn't make it surprising. Attempts to rig the Electoral College flow from the same motives that inspired Republican lawmakers to pass laws limiting voter participation in a dozen states last fall. Many of the laws were tossed out on legal grounds, but they gave Democrats in "densely populated areas" a pitch-perfect rallying cry.
The Nation quoted Matt Barreto, a pollster specializing in the Latino vote: "There were huge organizing efforts in the black, Hispanic and Asian communities, more than there would have been, as a direct result of the voter suppression efforts." The Rev. Tony Minor, an African-American minister in Ohio, added: "When they went after big mama's voting rights, they made all of us mad."
Sanity has not completely deserted Republican ranks. In Florida, state House Speaker Will Weatherford told reporters that Republicans don't need "to change the rules of the game" and offered a different option: "I think we need to get better." Fellow Floridian Sen. Marco Rubio is doing exactly that, bravely joining a bipartisan group of U.S. senators in proposing a reasonable compromise on immigration reform. Jeb and George Bush have both proved that Republicans can win a decent share of Hispanic support if they respect and understand those voters.
Subverting democracy by suffocating minorities is the opposite of respect. It ignores Jindal's advice and damages the Republican brand. Talk about stupid.
The author is Cokie Roberts? No wonder the article is full of crap.
I’m sure Cokie Roberts has the best interest of the GOP at heart and is really just trying to help.
Heard Karl Rove bashing Todd Akin on O’Reilly the other night and speaking about “stupid” within the gop. Want to talk stupid? the GOP just reelected Reince Priebus as National Chair. The man could not even carry his own state of Wisconsin for Romney. Looks like they want the same old status quo but to oust selected conservatives.
As for me..I am sick of the race card..no more cowtowing to any group for the sake of bringing them onboard. ANYONE that supports the constitution, fights the environmentalists, supports protecting our borders are the types I want to vote for and race, income, etc do not matter.
GOP should get rid of Rove too and Priebus should have resigned in disgrace.
I propose 1 vote per county in the nationals. Whether you win Orange County or a county with 5000 people, the vote should be equal. Most counties won in the state gets the electoral vote.
Someone run that scenario and see where we would have been in 2012.
This elderly Leftist Democrat couple are the last people to give advice to Republicans. One just as well ask Vladimer Putin for his tips for GOP success.
I support the effort and think that it is high time that rural counties stand up against the big cities.
Hale Boggs’ daughter still making waves.............
The fact that Hokey Roberts is screaming this loud about it is clue that it’s a good strategy. Forward ho!
Notice how the RATS all seem to know our supposed code words. If they were really our code words, shouldn't we be the only ones to know them?
WE WILL NEVER APPEAL TO A LARGE NUMBER OF MINORITIES!! NEVER!
So stop being stupid in trying.
So why should your opinion and vote count more if you live in a rural area than in a city?
You need a better answer than "because that will help Republicans to win" or "I agree with people that live in rural areas."
Would certainly help here in Pennsylvania (as has been well-documented)
If leftist Democrat hacks like Cokie Boggs Roberts oppose something, you know it’s the right thing to do.
“Subverting democracy by suffocating minorities is the opposite of respect. It ignores Jindal’s advice and damages the Republican brand. Talk about stupid.”
First of all, who the hell gives a damn what Cokie Roberts thinks?
And second of all, changing the method of allocating Electoral College votes has nothing, NOTHING, to do with minorities. It’s a way to once again balance the population centers (who tend to have one view and support one party) with the more rural areas (who tend to have another view and support the other party). The Electoral College is a representative assembly. And the whole people are not being represented. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are choosing all the representatives from PA; Detroit is choosing all the representatives from MI, Cleveland and Cincinnati are choosing all the representatives from Ohio, etc.
The result of this is that the president is not elected by the whole people, but only by the population centers, which is the very thing that the electoral college was created to prevent.
Roberts and the intelligentsia do not like the people, through their representatives in the states to take over the voting model they have created. Red States, Blue States, Swing States, Voter Fruad in all the big cities to sway states one way or the other. That power comes to an end should states change how the Electoral College is populated.
The elites have never liked the Electoral College because it spreads power out. And just when they’ve gotten the system rigged, the state legislatures are threatening to take their power away. Again. Well too bad!
(Note the proper color scheme of Red=Democrat and Blue=Republican)
So lets say you had to explain to a black voter in Chicago why the vote of a white guy in Mattoon should count 2 or 3 or even 4 times as much as their vote?
What would your argument to them be?
Republicans must be Republicans. Don’t try to be something they are not. This is the folly of the RINOS—you can’t out democrat Liberals by trying to copy them. They must go back to Reagans Roots. The Liberals are self destructing—let them. When the folks turn on Obama and his crew it will be ugly.