Comin’ On To Bring You The Banana Splits Show

Pennsylvania Republicans are going ahead with their cute little plan to steal a bunch of electoral votes in 2016 by splitting the state’s tally along House district lines.

On Monday, seven Pennsylvania Republican state representatives introduced a bill to make this vote-rigging scheme a reality in their state. Under their bill, the winner of Pennsylvania as a whole will receive only 2 of the state’s 20 electoral votes, while “[e]ach of the remaining presidential electors shall be elected in the presidential elector’s congressional district.”

Pennsylvania is a blue state that voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in every single presidential race for the last two decades, so implementing the GOP election-rigging plan in Pennsylvania would make it much harder for a Democrat to be elected to the White House. Moreover, because of gerrymandering, it is overwhelmingly likely that the Republican candidate will win a majority of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes even if the Democrat wins the state by a very comfortable margin. Despite the fact that President Obama won Pennsylvania by more than 5 points last November, Democrats carried only 5 of the state’s 18 congressional seats. Accordingly, Obama would have likely won only 7 of the state’s 20 electoral votes if the GOP vote rigging plan had been in effect last year.

It wouldn’t have made a huge difference by itself in 2012, but if Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Florida had all done it, all states that voted for President Obama with Republican governors and legislatures, you can begin to see the issue here.  Taking away a guaranteed 20 in the blue column and giving the majority of the electoral votes to the red guys (thanks to House gerrymandering) is still something of a problem, and pretty blatantly obvious even for the Nutjob Patrol here.

Not sure what can be done to stop this bananas split action, other than to point out to Democrats living in red districts that their votes won’t count for President now, either.  Ohio’s been lurking around the edges on this plan, and don’t be surprised if Michigan and Wisconsin try this next.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

83 replies
  1. 1
    Tom Levenson says:

    State referenda? A la the anti union busting referendum in Ohio. Need to get on this one yesterday.

    Also — retaking one or both houses of state legislatures next time round might make some sense.

  2. 2
    JoyceH says:

    Counterproposal – do away with the electoral college altogether and elect president by popular vote. The GOP would never win another presidential election. Ever.

  3. 3
    Gus diZerega says:

    Might call for a second amendment solution in those states….

  4. 4
    Doug Galt says:

    La la la, la-la-la-la, la la la, la-la-la-la.

    I dig your old school ways, Zandar.

  5. 5
    JGabriel says:

    Zandar @ Top:

    It wouldn’t have made a huge difference by itself in 2012 …

    No, but it would have given Bush fils more comfortable electoral college margins in 2000 and 2004, which is reason enough to oppose it.

    @JoyceH:

    Counterproposal – do away with the electoral college altogether and elect president by popular vote. The GOP would never win another presidential election. Ever.

    The GOP would never allow that — whaddaya think this is, a democracy?

    .

  6. 6
    JPL says:

    @Tom Levenson: PA gerrymandered so it might be awhile before they can retake the legislature.
    They could win the governorship though.

    @JoyceH: They would have to change the Constitution. Even if two-thirds of the states wanted to repeal the amendment, Congress would never vote for it.

    We are so screwed.

  7. 7
    dmsilev says:

    @JoyceH: That exists; it’s called the National Popular Vote (NPV) movement. The idea is that states pass laws saying that
    (a) they will give their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote
    and
    (b) Clause (a) goes into effect once 270 EV worth of states pass such laws.

    The point of (b) is so that no state unilaterally removes itself from relevance in the campaign until there are enough sign-ons to actually make it matter.

  8. 8
    dmsilev says:

    @JPL: Nope. NPV can be implemented at the state level. See my response to Joyce at #7.

  9. 9
    brettvk says:

    I’m really worried about this because I see no way to block it in gerrymandered state legislatures, and I don’t see the courts disallowing it. Rove may get his Permanent Republican Majority yet.

  10. 10
    Gravenstone says:

    This was touched on on Maddow last night. Wisconsin is indeed entertaining this sort of legislation as well. So it seems are several other states with Republican governors and legislature control. All introduced within a very short time frame after the first of the year. Sounds like ALEC, doesn’t it?

  11. 11
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Article IV, section IV of the Constitution:

    The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.

    See, right there: “a Republican Form of Government”.

    Why do liberals hate the constitution?

  12. 12
    Gus diZerega says:

    Read Madison’s Federalist 10 with the Republican Party in mind. The constitution never anticipated centralized political parties with national agendas that made states simply tools for taking power. Its logic breaks down when such a thing exists and puts power ahead of every other value.

    The Republican Party has become a greater threat to America’s well being than the old Communist Party ever was, and it is time Americans woke up to that fact.

    If these criminals ever do win national power, how long do you think it will take them to eliminate what remains of a democratic system? They are totally upfront about it.

  13. 13
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Doug Galt: I was more of a Sigmund the Sea Monster kind of guy myself.

  14. 14
    PeakVT says:

    @JoyceH: In reality that’s not an equivalent counter-proposal, because it requires 3/4 of the states to agree. There really isn’t an equivalent counter-proposal that would gain the Dems some kind of an advantage because for the most part they already control states governments where they already win at the federal level. That status quo favors the Dems for now because of the on-year/off-year voter demographic pattern.

    Perhaps this effort could be stopped in the courts, but I would imaging that has already been tried in NE and ME, and failed.

  15. 15
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Gus diZerega: We have a cold civil war, and an ongoing crisis of legitimacy, that very few people are talking about.

    A non-trivial portion of the country doesn’t believe in the periodic peaceful transfer of power to the other party.

    A one-party state isn’t here yet due to luck, and a lack of opportunity, not due to any particular virtue on the part of the GOP, or diligence on the part of the Democrats.

    I said in 2000, on the occasion of the Supreme Court’s filleting half-a-dozen norms of democratic behavior, that a party doesn’t make enduring changes to the organic law of a country that would of necessity redound to their disadvantage when next they inevitably return to the minority unless they plan to never return to the minority at all.

    And people called me ‘paranoid’ and ‘oversensitive’

  16. 16
    kindness says:

    Sounds like Tyranny to me…..

    Tongue in cheek but in all honesty if these folk think they can put this through and nothing bad will come to them….well, they just don’t understand karma or angry peasants.

  17. 17
    The Fat Kate Middleton says:

    I agree with what a commenter said over at GOS: This has the stench of ALEC all over it…and it’s a desperation maneuver by a dying political party. That said, I also take hope from another commenter:

    I have doubts this ALEC plan would work. 1) Some states, like Pa., are hesitant to go along with blatant election rigging—even the GOP pa. leg. has significant problems with Corbett’s attempt to privatize the very lucrative state lottery.
    2) GOP voter suppression backfired in 2012. 3) If states (say Pa., Ohio, Michigan, Wisc., Virg. did follow one of the ev manipulation schemes it could have a reverse effect. Democrats would gain a significant percentage + the number of battleground states would shrink. A quite possible result could be a closer electoral vote but also one with less opportunity for the GOP to get 270.
    4) By shrinking the current “battleground;’ states resources could go to emerging battleground states such as Georgia- which democrats would probably not otherwise emphasize 5) There would be areal chance of some pinkish GOP districts (suburban Phila. for example) could be put in play. It could cost Republicans 5-10 Congressional seats in the northeast and Midwest.

    by TofG on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:19:58 AM PST

    Am I being too optimistic by taking that analysis seriously? Based on what happened in this last election, when the Repubs were blocked in all their nasty little attempts to suppress the vote, I can see this might have validity.

  18. 18
    p.a. says:

    Doing away with the EC could be the way go. There should be some decent potential frames to put before the public.

  19. 19
    ericblair says:

    This has been raised before and has a fatal flaw for the state: the state itself becomes politically irrelevant. If you divide up the electoral votes this way and are in any way competitive, you’ve just fucked yourselves. Instead of the parties kissing your ass to get 20 EVs, they’re looking at maybe moving one or two and having the others sewn up. Who’s going to bother. It looks good at the national level, but the state pols get turned into useless mooks.

  20. 20
    gene108 says:

    @Gravenstone:

    Under reported, but in a similar vain the 2010 Republican wave election was a highly coordinated effort.

    I fully expect the GOP bigwigs and money brokers to be behind pushing this through, because they know, even with gerrymandered districts they’ll lose the governor races in Florida, Ohio Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania and won’t get another crack at this.

    It’ll be interesting to watch, if or when this happens, how the MSM will say a Republican President-elect has the “Will of the People” after barely winning the EV because of this radical change to the laws and losing the popular vote by four or five percentage points.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    David Hunt says:

    @JPL:

    They would have to change the Constitution. Even if two-thirds of the states wanted to repeal the amendment, Congress would never vote for it.

    Actually, that’s not true. For the same reason the jerks in PA can do this, you can, effectively, have a true direct election of the U.S. President. This was a thing a few years back. Several states had legislation enacted that would give ALL their electoral College votes to the winner of the popular vote, but the legislation had a trigger. The law would only take effect is there was matching legislation in enough states win a majority of the Electoral College. If 270 EC votes worth of states passes such a law, we’d effectively have the direct election of the president, since the winner of the popular vote would be guaranteed to win the EC.

    Presto. Direct election of the President with no constitutional amendment needed.

  23. 23
    Chris says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Luck, lack of opportunity… and until now they didn’t think it was necessary.

  24. 24
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @gene108: A Republican president has the will of the people because he’s a Republican president. The converse is also true. No non-Republican president can have the will of the people, because he’s a non-Republican. And if we elect him, the crops will fail, and the lambs will not ewe.

    Look, these people don’t actually believe in government in any form of majoritarian government. They’re divine-right absolutist monarchists.

    Sell your Federalist Papers to some unsuspecting AP Government student and buy yourself some Bossuet. That’s how you need to approach American politics today.

  25. 25
    David Hunt says:

    @David Hunt:

    Teach me to post without reading further. @dmsilev: explains it more succinctly.

  26. 26
    karen says:

    Thanks to all the people who had a hissy fit and stayed home in 2010. (not aimed at anyone personally at Balloon Juice)

  27. 27

    @dmsilev: I am a fan of National Popular Vote to ensure we never have a repeat of the 2000 election.

    The bill preserves the Electoral College, while ensuring that every vote in every state will matter in every presidential election. The National Popular Vote law has been enacted by states possessing 132 electoral votes — 49% of the 270 electoral votes needed to activate it.

    This is a good interim solution until the Constitution can be officially amended.

  28. 28
    Tone in DC says:

    The fact that Rachel and Zandar are putting this out there will help.

    When Mourdock, McDonnell and the rest of these gooper misognyists tried to implement those invasive pre-abortion laws, they were beaten back. Doesn’t always work, but at least get it out there that Pennsylvania is trying to put forth the ultimate gerrymander.

  29. 29
    Paul says:

    Not sure what can be done to stop this bananas split action

    Oh, it is pretty easy – how about showing up to vote next time we have a redistricting year…

    Here’s what Ed Schultz told Democratic voters to do in 2010:

    But I’m not giving up on this (advocating for extension of jobless benefits for long-term unemployed). And I think the best way for the 99ers to get the attention of the Congress is to form an unemployed coalition and just flat-out tell the Democrats, we’re not voting in the midterm. Look, if they don’t realize the seriousness of this, then they don’t deserve to be in office. It’s that simple. Because they are not serving the people and they’re just taking the problem and passing it to the next generation. We have got unprecedented unemployment in this country and the people have to be heard. The people have to be heard! This isn’t about saving anybody’s congressional ass. This is about saving lives at this point. And if Harry Reid doesn’t have the guts to keep the Senate in to move on this issue, in my opinion, he should not be re-elected in Nevada. I don’t care who he’s going up against. We’ll just have to go through this generational fight and make it a lesson for the Democrats and make sure that they know that the grass-rooters are serious, that we mean business, and you gotta do it for people and if you don’t, we’re not going to vote!

    And I’m announcing today, I’m not gonna vote in the midterm. I’m not gonna do it! You can say it’s un-American. No, it’s rather revolutionary is what it is. I’m at that point. I’m checking out. I’m checking out of the Democrats because they are proving to me that they don’t know how to handle these big babies over on the right that say no. You know what you do? You get in the driver’s seat, you hit the throttle and you run over ’em. That’s what you do. And the Democrats just don’t have the guts to politically do that. So they have to be taught a lesson.

  30. 30
    General Stuck says:

    Maybe I have more general faith in the ordinary voter in this country, than would fall for this scheme. To start having permanent GOP governance at the national level, while dems win the popular vote by 10 percent. Don’t think so, and would likely justify a 2nd amendment solution by liberals, if it went on for long. Liberals with guns, now there is a scary thought, wingnut.

  31. 31
    Gus diZerega says:

    @Davis X. Machina: I like your term “cold civil war.”

    Someone pointed out recently that while the guys with assault weapons are a total joke in terms of taking on the military they would be a wonderful “civil guard” for enforcing right wing domination once it was institutionalized. I think they had a point.

    The critical thing is to prevent it ever being institutionalized. This threat is truly enormous if they can game the presidential elections and then further pack the Supreme Court. Truly those Pennsylvania Republicans are committing treason and waging war against the American people. They should be described as such.

  32. 32

    @The Ancient Randonneur: This also makes EVERY vote important. A Republican voting in California would have the same weight as a Democrat voting in Mississippi. (Which is true now but only in that neither vote makes much of a difference in the outcome of the Presidential election.

  33. 33
    nemesis says:

    Between this EC bastard plan, which I highlighted around Nov 10th, 2012, gerrymandered districts for the House and the filibuster in the Senate, the gop is at the cusp of near complete government control, while maintaining a minority status (exception:House).Obviously what the Founding Fathers envisioned.

  34. 34
    Joe Buck says:

    The way to stop it is for people in Pennsylvania to organize and make in a campaign issue. Once the consequences are explained, independents as well as some moderate Republicans will find it repulsive. It’s a way to award most of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes to the loser.

  35. 35
    danimal says:

    It sounds good for the GOP, superficially, but once it becomes a trend across a few states, the stench of desperation will make this toxic for Republicans. Once people see election manipulation, they respond by punishing the manipulators (see minority vote suppression, 2012).

    I predict the GOP will play with this for awhile before pulling back and trying some other electoral manipulation that doesn’t have their fingerprints all over it.

  36. 36

    @General Stuck: Heh. Probably because many of us are a good enough shot to not require a 30-40 round magazine. While sustained fire can be important in certain situations, effective fire is generally what decides the outcome of any engagement.

  37. 37

    @Gus diZerega:

    Someone pointed out recently that while the guys with assault weapons are a total joke in terms of taking on the military they would be a wonderful “civil guard” for enforcing right wing domination once it was institutionalized. I think they had a point.

    They’d have to wear identical-colored shirts. So we could tell who was who, of course.

    What color shirt, though? Black? Brown? Orange?

    So much to choose from.

  38. 38
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Paul: Brand Ed didn’t suffer. It strenghtened Brand Ed.

    And isn’t that what matters? It’s not like politics is about governing or anything. It’s about self-expression, and telling people about how I feel, and look at the world, especially via my choice in consumer products. In this case, sort of a No Logo politics (No Logo people know that No Logo is actually a logo-in-effect, right?)

    If people could go down to the town hall and register to vote “Carhartt” — or “Proenza Shouler” — the lines would stretch for miles.

  39. 39
    Paul says:

    Despite the fact that President Obama won Pennsylvania by more than 5 points last November, Democrats carried only 5 of the state’s 18 congressional seats. Accordingly, Obama would have likely won only 7 of the state’s 20 electoral votes if the GOP vote rigging plan had been in effect last year.

    This is pushed by the very same people that wanted to export “Democracy” to Iraq. You can’t make this stuff up…

  40. 40
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @nemesis:

    Obviously what the Founding Fathers envisioned.

    Hell yeah.

  41. 41
    Todd says:

    It could be interesting to see what happens if PA does this – picture the next D candidate bypassing the easy win districts and taking it to the marginal districts – the suburbs, the mountains with pockets of impoverished rural dwellers, the college towns.

    It may well be the biggest mistake these assholes ever made.

  42. 42
    Tone in DC says:

    Off topic, from Digby…

    They’re cutting off one finger at a time in hostage negotiations

    by digby

    If you thought that Obamacare was a sacred item for Democrats in any budget negotiations, think again:

    When Congress struck a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, it also dealt a quiet blow to President Obama’s health overhaul: The new law killed a multibillion-dollar program meant to boost health insurance competition by funding nonprofit health plans.

    The decision to end funding for the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans has left as many as 40 start-ups vying for federal dollars in limbo. Some are considering legal action against the Obama administration, after many spent upwards of $100,000 preparing their applications.
    […]
    The Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan, or CO-OP, program was aimed at spending as much as $6 billion to help launch nonprofit health insurance carriers. It came into favor with Democrats when it became clear that a government-run plan, known as the public option, could not gain enough political support.

    Why did they do it? Nobody knows. It seems to have been part of the Biden McConnell agreement. But I’m sure it helped that this was the last thread of hope for public option proponents who had thought that these non-profits could end up operating as it might have. It had to feel good to drive a stake into that idea once and for all.I’m sure Biden and McConnell shared a toast afterward.

    But apparently the lamest GOP hissy fit on record had more of an impact than anyone could imagined:

    In theory, nonprofit health plans could offer lower premiums, which would put pressure on private insurance companies to cut their rates. But over the past three years, the program has come under congressional investigation as Republicans questioned whether the nonprofit plans would make good on their loans, or go belly-up like the solar panel company Solyndra. That manufacturer borrowed more than a half-billion in federal loans, only to go bankrupt in 2011.

  43. 43
    PeakVT says:

    @Paul: You continue to be completely wrong on who is to blame. Look at the FSM damn demographics.

  44. 44
    handsmile says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    That’s a brilliant citation/recommendation of Bossuet! In the divine-right vein, let me also recommend Joseph de Maistre, particularly his Considerations on France.

    Those who desire (and those who dread) even more God in Government (e.g, Christian Reconstructionism) might also want to take a look at Maistre’s St. Petersburg Dialogues.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_de_Maistre

    (also, DXM, just to be clear, are you denying claims that you are “paranoid and oversensitive?”)

  45. 45
    Todd says:

    @Gus diZerega:

    Someone pointed out recently that while the guys with assault weapons are a total joke in terms of taking on the military they would be a wonderful “civil guard” for enforcing right wing domination once it was institutionalized.

    We can just call them the Civil Order Posse, and they can drive around looking for things to report. Armed, of course, for the protection of self and others. There would be no shortage of white volunteers for this task.

  46. 46
    NonyNony says:

    @nemesis:

    Obviously what the Founding Fathers envisioned.

    We’re talking about the same Founding Fathers who created the US Senate, right?

    I’m fairly certain that the Founding Fathers were perfectly okay with the minority running wild over the will of the majority, so long as the right minority had power. This is why we had to have a Civil War to finally get the will of the majority enacted (not the end of slavery even – just the will of the majority that slavery not be allowed to expand outside of its current borders).

  47. 47
    Mike E says:

    @Davis X. Machina: This. However:

    people called me ‘paranoid’ and ‘oversensitive’

    By ‘people’, you mean ‘voices in my head’ amirite?

  48. 48
    Paul says:

    @PeakVT:

    Seriously? You think the Democratic voters in 2008 showed up in 2010? Hell, your own damn link says the following:

    By that I mean that midterms always, always produce an electorate that is older and whiter than presidential cycles.

    It is true that you can distort whatever with statistics.

  49. 49
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @The Fat Kate Middleton:

    Am I being too optimistic by taking that analysis seriously?

    Yes.

    SATSQ.

  50. 50
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @Doug Galt: Flippin like a pancake, popping like a cork

  51. 51
    different-church-lady says:

    How in hell’s name is it possible for those congressional districts to be THAT skewed by raw population?

  52. 52
    General Stuck says:

    @Paul:

    You think the Democratic voters in 2008 showed up in 2010?

    No, but that had nothing to do with Ed Schultz and his bakers dozen internet progressives. It was due to historically normal tendencies for the party of the president in a first term mid term, to not bother going to vote. And the other side energized from anger at what that president had done the past two years. IE passing the hated ACA, and a little mediscare, and a dollop of incipient voting from common racists. .

  53. 53
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Paul: Wow. I listen to/watch Ed Schultz everyday. Very disappointing. Reminds me of his freak out (along with Chris Matthews and Andrew Sullivan) after the first Presidential debate.

    Who’s hurting now, Schultz?

  54. 54
    👽 Martin says:

    @Tone in DC:

    Why did they do it? Nobody knows.

    Part of the reason why they did it is that the overall implementation of the program was flawed, and that undermined the very success of it. It takes a minimum of two years to bring a new insurance product to market – there’s a TON of work involved on the actuarial side, on actually getting contracts in place to get the cost estimates in line with the projections, on getting all the state regulations in order and state insurance commissioners to sign off, testing the product, and so on. The feds didn’t give the co-ops enough time in the program. Basically, the startups would have had to have everything in place on day one to meet the timetable, and that was impossible given the restrictions on who could participate (they wanted startups, not outfits that already had products ready for market). That’s not to say that there weren’t a number of startups trying – there were, but it was really iffy if even the best of them could have launched on the federal schedule. They needed to have started the program a year earlier than they did.

    I know one such startup very well. The principles were former not for profit insurance executives and a former state commissioner. They were going after a a very specific market that they were extremely familiar with. They had as good a shot at this as anyone, and they admitted they were a year behind on day one.

    I’m not sure specifically where the blame should land on this, but broadly somewhere in getting this program up and running the feds dragged their fee or were held up. They stuck to their 2014 launch deadline, but kept getting information out later than needed, etc.

    It’s a very worthy idea, but they really need to get the timing and requirements right around something like this if they want it to succeed.

  55. 55
    PeakVT says:

    @Paul: No, idiot. What I’m saying is that the voters who didn’t show up in 2010 don’t watch Ed Shultz.

  56. 56
    Chris says:

    @Gus diZerega:

    Someone pointed out recently that while the guys with assault weapons are a total joke in terms of taking on the military they would be a wonderful “civil guard” for enforcing right wing domination once it was institutionalized. I think they had a point.

    That might have been me. I’ve been saying for a while that the militia/NRA freaks in real life don’t want to lead the resistance after America goes fascist, they want to be the local militia supplementing the military and police by hunting down and beating up Undesirables.

    (And, probably, settling old scores in their local communities by accusing the people they’ve held grudges against all their lives of being among the Undesirables).

    Heck, isn’t this basically the story of the KKK? Started out as a Second Amendment Liberty Militia fighting Union troops, but that lasted as long as it took them to figure out that 1) Union troops can kick your ass and 2) civilians from the disenfranchised underclass (e.g. black people) can’t.

  57. 57

    …. other than to point out to Democrats living in red districts that their votes won’t count for President now, either ….

    Which makes me think this can’t possibly be constitutional?

  58. 58
    Paul says:

    @PeakVT:

    Have a nice day. I don’t respond to name calling.

  59. 59
    👽 Martin says:

    @different-church-lady:

    How in hell’s name is it possible for those congressional districts to be THAT skewed by raw population?

    Easy. Obama won some of those districts around Philly by 90 points. That allows multiple rural districts along the northern and western part of the state designed to go GOP by 5 points. Republicans barely win a pile of rural districts leaving all the Dems piled up in a handful of dense urban districts, which is all they win.

  60. 60
    angler says:

    Bring on the Ec gerrymander. It makes the GOP’s chances in these states in 2014 that much tougher, and highlights how f’d up the Electoral College is to begin with. Does the hard right really want to make voter access and election fairness an issue in the next election? See how well that worked in 2012 when minority turnout spiked up partly in response to disfranchising schemes.

  61. 61
    Paul says:

    @General Stuck:

    While you are correct, people have little right to complain about the consequences when they didn’t show up to vote. Elections (even mid-terms) have consequences.

  62. 62
    Chris says:

    @NonyNony:

    I’m fairly certain that the Founding Fathers were perfectly okay with the minority running wild over the will of the majority, so long as the right minority had power. This is why we had to have a Civil War to finally get the will of the majority enacted (not the end of slavery even – just the will of the majority that slavery not be allowed to expand outside of its current borders).

    This.

    It’s one reason why I don’t share the unconditional love so many Americans have for the Founding Fathers as the epitome of all that is good and true.

  63. 63
    General Stuck says:

    @Paul:

    While you are correct, people have little right to complain about the consequences when they didn’t show up to vote. Elections (even mid-terms) have consequences.

    True. Plus there were more than a few true progressives that showed up here declaring they weren’t going to vote due to late delivery of promised ponies by Obama the poopyhead. And that is fair game to comment on. Just not that it had any real effect on the 2010 mid term election.

  64. 64
    Chris says:

    @Chris:

    Heck, isn’t this basically the story of the KKK? Started out as a Second Amendment Liberty Militia fighting Union troops, but that lasted as long as it took them to figure out that 1) Union troops can kick your ass and 2) civilians from the disenfranchised underclass (e.g. black people) can’t.

    Off-topic addendum: from what I understand, if you substitute “al-Qaeda in Iraq” for “KKK” and “Shi’a” for “black people,” this is also basically the story of the AQI.

  65. 65
    Joel says:

    Time to polish those guillotines, it sounds like.

  66. 66
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @👽 Martin:

    Easy. Obama won some of those districts around Philly by 90 points. That allows multiple rural districts along the northern and western part of the state designed to go GOP by 5 points. Republicans barely win a pile of rural districts leaving all the Dems piled up in a handful of dense urban districts, which is all they win.

    Which is why I keep pointing out that gerrymandering Congressional districts is a leveraged bet against the volatility of the electorate in those districts. You win more districts today but take a risk in doing so by shaving your margin of victory down in those same districts.

    The reason this bet makes political sense is that the districts are going to be redrawn every 10 years regardless, so you’re only betting against 10 years (= 4 future election cycles) worth of “drift” on the part of the voters. That will come back to burn you only if voter drift (due to some combination of changing demographics and shifting ideological sentiment) is unusually fast. This is exactly what happened to the GOP in 2006.

    In the long run, if the GOP leans more and more heavily on gerrymandering to continue to hold seats in Congress out of proportion to their overall popularity, the result should be to push the party in the direction of fewer extremists and more RINOs, because of their shrinking margin of error for continuing to win those swing districts. But this process will take multiple election cycles to play out.

  67. 67
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Pretty simple.

    Revert national elections back to landholds and suddenly we have feudalism again.

    Universal suffrage doesn’t count; what counts is the land area you hold in your fiefdom. Voters who live close by to each other are drunks and thieves and lazy and shiftless and . . .

  68. 68
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @angler:

    Does the hard right really want to make voter access and election fairness an issue in the next election?

    Yes.

    See how well that worked in 2012 when minority turnout spiked up partly in response to disfranchising schemes.

    The hard right aren’t exactly “numbers people”.

  69. 69
    jl says:

    @👽 Martin:

    ” Republicans barely win a pile of rural districts leaving all the Dems piled up in a handful of dense urban districts, which is all they win. ”

    That is why this vile GOP plan to gerrymander of the electoral vote is not fool proof. The way House districts are apportioned, you can gerrymander to have some very safe seats, or more seats, but not both more seats and safer seats.

    If states with gerrymandered GOP House seats do this, look for much more competition in marginal GOP House districts during presidential campaigns.

    Edit: and, what LtAbq said at 66, also too.

  70. 70
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    Voters who live close by to each other are drunks and thieves and lazy and shiftless and

    The anti-urban bias in our culture goes all the way back to Hesiod and his goddamm plow.

    Also, you left out ‘sluts’. One of the traditional slurs leveled at city dwellers by champions of rural morality is that urbanites are shameless horndogs. Of course this made plenty of sense given that for most of history large cities needed a net influx of population to cover their demographic losses on account of epidemic diseases, so a high urban birthrate was a net positive, while the countryside was normally under Malthusian population pressure in the opposite direction (too much fucking + no more new land = everybody starves).

  71. 71
    Chris says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    I think that pretty much describes America back in the days when political bosses had their entire county or city locked up via machine, and for all intents and purposes were the local version of feudal lord. That’s the America that the conservatives want to bring us back to.

  72. 72
    Tone in DC says:

    @👽 Martin:

    Thanks for that, Martin.
    Hopefully the next set of principals will do a better job.

  73. 73
    catclub says:

    @Chris: ““Shi’a” for “black people,” this is also basically the story of the AQI.”

    Not really. The Shi’a had a lot more guns than the blacks,
    and also had (so I hear) the backing of Iran. Canada was backing southern blacks during reconstruction? Who knew?

  74. 74
    Chris says:

    @catclub:

    Yeah, it didn’t work out nearly as well there, which explains why the AQI isn’t currently ruling Iraq like the KKK once did the South. I’m just talking about how the original “we’re here to fight the U.S. Army” mission statement pivoted to “we’re here to purge society of its undesirables.” As you point out, it didn’t work out nearly as well for them.

  75. 75
    feebog says:

    I have brought this up before, and it is germane to this thread. Why aren’t states like Ohio and Michican, who have an iniative process pushing for an iniative to take redistricting out of the hands of politicans and into the hands of a citizen commission? We did it in Califonia, over the protests of both Republicans and Democrats who would rather draw as many safe districts as possible. Net result, four more Democratic House members and Super majorities in both the State Senate and Assembly. And, you don’t have to wait until 2020 to redraw the lines, as Texas already proved.

  76. 76
    Gus diZerega says:

    @different-church-lady: Sadly yes. When I taught American Politics I would draw a map of a city on the board- 50% republican and 50% Democratic. Students had to figure out how to draw 5 districts so each had 20% of the population but in one map Democrats would always win 3 out of 5 and in the other the Republicans would.

  77. 77
    Gus diZerega says:

    @Chris: If it was you, thanks. In extended debates with droolers over at HuffPost I’ve gotten some to admit that the real reason they have the guns is to shoot Americans when civilization collapses.

  78. 78
    Matt McIrvin says:

    There was an attempt to do this in California in 2007, which flopped miserably.

    If Republican legislatures in blue states want to do this, they can do it. I think there will be terrible consequences for them the next time a presidential election rolls around.

    But it may take a Republican President actually being elected with a much smaller popular-vote minority than Bush, with the added proviso that nothing like 9/11 can happen afterward to give him magic legitimacy.

  79. 79
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Huh, I thought rural dwellers needed multiple children to provide for parents in their old age? Only landowners are faced with multiple children issues and some European countries solved this by male only land inheritance (unless there were no males), first son inherits, second son goes to the Church, third son goes into the army (the “cadet”).

    It seemed that land fell into fewer and fewer hands over time, just like in the United States and everywhere else.

    Malthus was writing at the dawn of the industrial age, when there were suddenly excess hands without work. And the potato had reduced mortality in Northern countries, meaning that the numbers of the desperate were simply greater when stupid political decisions caused economic upsets. While he only had so much data to work with (to be fair), unlike Adam Smith his powers of observation and intuition about economics were inferior and his predictions never remotely panned out.

  80. 80
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @feebog: Who’s going to pay to fly Cali activists out there to get that started?

    GLBT activists were funded by wealthy gay donors sick of not having everything their straight peers did. (That’s why gay marriage went to the top of the agenda once such looked possible–issues that poor gay people deal with aren’t on the national radar at all.)

    What wealthy people would fund that?

    I think it happened in California because a LOT of Cali petty bourgeoisie are TED-talk watching sorts who think they can make their state an “incubator” for a superior political process. (Because politics is about self-expression and where’s the candidate that expresses “me”?)

    I’m not sure you have that kind of class in other states.

    Only organized Dem donors could do this I think, or labor, if either thought it was enough in their best interest.

    I know a lot of the stuff that happened in Cali would be opposed by entrenched Dem Party interests on the state level. They would lose personal power even at the expense of the party.

    And labor can only fund a few things a year. Fighting right-to-work and similar stuff is more vital.

  81. 81
    Cluttered Mind says:

    @Chris: Some people like that do still exist on the local level. Bloomberg in NYC and Menino in Boston, to name a couple.

  82. 82
    Not Sure says:

    @JoyceH: OK, all you have to do is get 2/3 of each house of Congress and 3/4 of the state legislatures to agree. Lots of luck to you. Meanwhile, do you have any ideas that might have a snowball’s chance of working?

  83. 83
    Not Sure says:

    @Todd: Hmmmm, interesting. Instead of piling up the votes in Philly and Pittsburgh, start pounding away at the purple areas. One problem, though. Gerrymandering has pretty much neutralized those.

Comments are closed.