When You Can’t Win Fair, You Cheat

Republicans, gotta love the shamelessness:

Look at the map from 2012. Mitt Romney won the 1st (53%), 4th (50%), 5th (53%), 6th (59%), 7th (57%), 9th (63%), and 10th (50%) districts. Barack Obama won the four remaining districts — the 2nd (50%), 3rd (79%), 8th (68%), and 11th (62%). Had the Carrico plan been in place in 2012, Romney would have won nine of Virginia’s electoral votes, and Obama would have won four — even though Obama won the popular vote of the state by nearly 150,000 ballots and four percentage points.

It gets worse. You’ll notice that the 2nd, 4th, and 10th districts were squeakers, with margins between 4,000 and 5,000 votes. Carrico’s theory is that an electoral vote split would make rural areas more vital. But these districts cover the Tidewater region and the exurbs of Washington, D.C. One: Had Obama campaigned to win them, in particular, he wouldn’t have necessarily focused on anything that didn’t work statewide. Two: Had he won them, he would have taken eight electors to Mitt Romney’s five. Winning Virginia wouldn’t have been worth 13 votes. It’d have been like taking New Hampshire or Rhode Island. That’s because this reform is designed to disenfranchise Democrats, not make the state more important.

All votes are equal, but rural white votes are more equal.

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70 replies
  1. 1
    JPL says:

    Under the Constitution, states are allowed to allocate the electoral votes.

  2. 2
    2liberal says:

    republicans are scheming to win elections while numerically inferior. It is a losers game.

  3. 3
    JPL says:

    Hopefully Bill Clinton or another voice equally as strong, will start making speeches nationwide. If enough people are aware of the plan to steal the national election, maybe the republicans will back down.

  4. 4
    burnspbesq says:

    Completely legal. Only thing that can be done is to win back those state legislatures and repeal whatever gets enacted between now and then.

  5. 5
    Roger Moore says:

    @JPL:

    If enough people are aware of the plan to steal the national election, maybe the republicans will back down.

    Good one. Next thing, you’ll say that when people find out how awful the Republicans’ policies are they’ll be forced to change in order to stay politically relevant. I’ll believe that the Republicans respond to public opinion when I see it happen.

  6. 6
    Hill Dweller says:

    The Republicans are trying to subvert the will of the people at all costs.

  7. 7
    Baud says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I’ll believe that the Republicans respond to public opinion when I see it happen.

    Sandy relief.

  8. 8
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Norms, not laws, are why this country doesn’t look like 1990’s Grozny

  9. 9
    Lavocat says:

    This has GOT to violate the Voting Rights Act.

    I’d like to see what the Attorney General thinks of this horseshit.

  10. 10
    jl says:

    @2liberal: The GOP seem to think that the partisan turnout and vote differentials in marginal districts will remain the same after the electoral vote gaming. They won’t. Candidates will not have to run up huge victories in heavily red or blue areas in order to win the whole state, just enough to win that particular district. More effort will be directed towards the marginal districts.

    Edit: And GOP House gerrymandering has created more marginal GOP districts. In CA, a lot of ‘red’ CA is really nearly 50/50 purple.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    @Lavocat:

    The VRA is designed to protect the minority vote, not Democratic voters. I get the impression this was designed to avoid VRA problems.

  12. 12
    Joel says:

    @JPL: This is true. But it’s fundamentally undemocratic. Many of us are coming around to thinking that it might be time to destroy the Republican party after all…

  13. 13

    Meanwhile, the legacy networks decide this is too complicated a story and decide to cover Lipsynch gate 24/7. Also, too, ANGRY HILLARY!

  14. 14
    Baud says:

    If you want to fight this, the best strategy is to get the word out that this electoral gamesmanship would transform swing states into non-swing states, and therefore there would be less money coming into the state economy during election season. The local media will go ballistic.

  15. 15
    jheartney says:

    These sorts of things are the rear-guard actions of a movement in retreat. Demographics are killing the GOP, and all they can do is try to dig in and hold on for a few more years. If you want to get a glimpse of the future of Republicans, look at California. Still lots of Republican enclaves, but after years of crappy governors and then more years of sociopathic obstructionism, they’ve become so unpopular that they are completely irrelevant.

    The same fate awaits the national GOP.

  16. 16
    balconesfault says:

    I’d say its time for Maryland to hit em where it hurts – run ads like the Texas AG ran – but this time telling moderate high tech business in NoVa to move to a state where their young, educated, high paid workforce can have their votes matter.

  17. 17
    gopher2b says:

    @Baud:

    They passed a bill that was 1/10th what NJ and NY said they needed.

  18. 18
    gene108 says:

    There are two solutions.

    The easy solution is take back control of state governments prior to 2016, with enough Democrats to undo the damage.

    The hard solution is to eliminate the electoral college and elect Presidents via a direct popular vote.

    I hope the DNC is paying attention about the risks coming up in the 2016 election and will fight to regain control in 2014.

  19. 19
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Baud’s right. If a state’s maximum electoral vote advantage is gerrymandered down to that of a 3/4-vote state, it will get no attention and campaigns will go elsewhere.

    WBFK Live Eyewitness Action News Channel 6 doesn’t want its biannual injection of campaign dollars to go away, and management will put in the word to have reporters actually give a shit about statehouse politics for once.

  20. 20
    Baud says:

    @gopher2b:

    The House passed nearly the same amount as the Senate had passed last term. I think they just did it in two stages.

  21. 21
    👽 Martin says:

    @JPL:

    Under the Constitution, states are allowed to allocate the electoral votes.

    Under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, minority voters must have equal access to electoral processes as majority voters. The 14th amendment protects how states apportion their congressional districts.

    The VA plan for proportional delegation only works if they successfully undermine equal access to these electoral processes. Stop that, and they’ll repeal their own plan for proportional delegation.

  22. 22
    gene108 says:

    @jheartney:

    The same fate awaits the national GOP.

    There is no national GOP. There are 50 state GOP’s and 50 state Democratic parties.

    In the Mountain West, Plains states, and parts of the South the GOP has a serious strangle hold on power.

    In the 1990’s and 2000’s, Texas, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas all had Democrats holding statewide offices. When the Democrats in the South started coming unglued in the 1990’s and 2000’s, those state parties just fell apart to the point that they can no longer field opposition to Republicans.

    Where Republicans exist, they are super strong and I really don’t know what they can do to piss off their voters and lose elections to Democrats.

    For example, Vitter banged hookers and got re-elected.

  23. 23
    JPL says:

    @👽 Martin: I wonder how long the Voting Rights Act will be in effect. Some states need pre-clearance to change their voting laws, but do they need pre-clearance to change the electoral votes?

  24. 24
    SFAW says:

    The temptation is to make a Lance Armstrong analogy, because of the LOOK A BUNNY RABBIT! nature of the MSM. The problem with that analogy is that Armstrong was not the only one gaming the system, and he probably would have been in the top N riders without doping, assuming the others didn’t dope either. (OK, I’m talking outta my ass on that last assumption.)

    Perhaps a better analogy might be Mario Mendoza doping/juicing – when no one else was – and winning the Triple Crown batting above .250.

    Not good enough to win convincingly, but good enough not to get farmed out to Single-A.

    OK, so my analogies suck.

  25. 25
    👽 Martin says:

    @JPL:

    Some states need pre-clearance to change their voting laws, but do they need pre-clearance to change the electoral votes?

    No, they shouldn’t need it in that case. But the GOP wouldn’t be considering this if they didn’t have gerrymandered maps to back them up. If you look at the national play here – proportional delegation and gerrymandering go hand-in-hand. If you break the latter, you significantly undermine the desirability of the former, mainly because the GOPs must maintain state power to keep the plan running, and the only way to maintain state power in what are overall blue states is through gerrymandering. Otherwise, they piss off a whole bunch of voters, lose control of the legislature, and the Dems repeal the whole thing. The GOP achieves nothing and loses support in the long term.

    Overall it’s a deeply cynical play – one that can only hurt the party in the long term because they only believe in the selected application of the policy. There’s no interest in proportionate delegation in Texas, for instance. If we proposed doing this on a national level, the GOP would run from it in a heartbeat. I suspect this is going to be their prop 187 moment in a number of these states. Once the Dems work out how to overcome this disadvantage, they’re going to fucking steamroll the GOP like they have here in CA.

  26. 26
    jheartney says:

    @gene108: Once it becomes clear that there will be no more Republican presidents (and the coming blue Texas will make this abundantly clear), money for Republicans at all levels will start to dry up. A base in the South and the emptier parts of the West isn’t the basis for any sort of national coalition; it’s too toxic politically to attract support from the rest of the country.

    The money that funds the GOP won’t tolerate getting thrown away the way it was in 2012. Unless Republicans can start showing national strength, they’ll be on their way out.

  27. 27
    PsiFighter37 says:

    People really need to pay attention to this. First Pennsylvania, now Virginia. I have no doubt they are going to try and pull this off in MI, WI, and OH before 2014.

    National Democrats have got to highlight that Republicans are trying to win elections by a) gerrymandering the crap out of maps, and b) assigning each electoral vote to said district. We should just say, “Get rid of the EC – one person, one vote”, and make those fuckers contort themselves trying to explain that only white people living in the middle of Bumblefuck should decide who is in charge.

  28. 28
    mk3872 says:

    Fuck this whining about mean old REPUBS!

    The Dems have control in state legislatures, too, and could just have easily used tricks to increase their majorities.

    If you aren’t gonna even play the game to win, then expect to always LOSE!

  29. 29
    Brachiator says:

    All votes are equal, but rural white votes are more equal.

    Ah, the return of the “three fifths” rule. Everything old is new again.

    @jheartney:

    These sorts of things are the rear-guard actions of a movement in retreat. Demographics are killing the GOP, and all they can do is try to dig in and hold on for a few more years.

    They can do a lot of damage if they can continue to hold the House thanks to gerrymandering, and win the presidency with electoral vote manipulations.

    Demographics will not save the Democrats if they can be neutralized in this way. The public might get upset if a Democratic candidate wins 60% or more of the electoral vote and loses the presidential race, but even here, court challenges and inertia might see this crap continue long into the future.

    If you want to get a glimpse of the future of Republicans, look at California. Still lots of Republican enclaves, but after years of crappy governors and then more years of sociopathic obstructionism, they’ve become so unpopular that they are completely irrelevant.

    Good example. There are more red counties than blue in California. Imagine if the governor’s race was decided not by the popular vote, but by some allocation based on the number of districts or counties. We would have the crappy female version of Mitt Romney (Meg Whitman) as governor.

  30. 30
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @👽 Martin:

    It’s time to play defense by playing offense! Now is the time to call for presidential elections by popular vote!

  31. 31
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @gene108:

    True, but on the other hand, there’s states where the GOP is dead where they used to be more powerful. California’s been mentioned, but also the Northeast, Oregon and Washington, and parts of the Midwest.

  32. 32
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @Brachiator:

    The GOP is dying, the pattern has been death by overreach. But they can do a lot of damage in the process. In order to minimize it, it’s important to really twist the knife: democrats need to call for presidential elections decided by popular vote, as a countermeasure.

    (If you want to be clever about it, have the EC elect the vicepresident)

  33. 33
    gopher2b says:

    It’s insanity. They just don’t understand how out of touch they are. What do they think is going to happen once they gain control (through underhanded gerrymandering) of the state senate and slam through their crazy ass laws of requiring teachers to carry guns and forcing woman to be sexually assaulted by their doctor before getting an abortion. Do they think NOVA is just going to shrug their shoulders and move on. You could probably pull this off if once you had absolute power you acted reasonably but people who think this is a good idea don’t want to “just” balance the budget.

  34. 34
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @gene108: The GOP will remain strong in certain regions for some years, but I really think they won’t be much of a national party until they reboot in some way. The places where they are strong are not very densely populated… plus places like Montana have the potential to turn around

  35. 35
    👽 Martin says:

    @Brachiator:

    There are more red counties than blue in California

    Not really. 58 counties, and Obama won exactly half of them. He won San Bernardino, Stanislaw, Merced – those are places that wouldn’t exactly spring to mind as blue.

    Granted, the state isn’t as blue by county as the popular vote would indicate (Obama won by 3 million votes in the state) but the really red counties are those shoved up in the northeast corner, and there’s no fucking people in those. Modoc county had fewer than 4,000 total votes cast. As best as I can tell from the precinct numbers, Obama won my homeowners association by more than 4,000 votes.

  36. 36
    JMG says:

    These people are apocalyptic thinkers. They never think of consequences, because for them, the End Times are the day after tomorrow. Jesus will save them!!!

  37. 37
    22over7 says:

    One acre, one vote.

  38. 38
    👽 Martin says:

    @The Bearded Blogger: Well, we are. We’ve been building support for that since Bush v Gore with the popular vote interstate compact. Get more states on board and none of this other shit will matter.

  39. 39
    Suffern ACE says:

    @jheartney: lol. By the time Texas turns blue, you’ll be getting your first Medicare voucher at seventy and the draw down in Iran will have only begun.

  40. 40
    jheartney says:

    @Brachiator: I have a hard time believing you can have a stable electoral structure if it’s based on blatantly anti-majoritarian infrastructure. The GOP had its ass handed to it in 2006, 2008 and 2012. Being in power doesn’t make them popular, and if they take power with this crap they’ll end up even more hated than they already are.

    Remember how voting access shenanigans was going to deliver Florida and Ohio to Romney? Didn’t work; piss off enough voters and they’ll do what they have to to get rid of you.

  41. 41
    Peregrinus says:

    @22over7:

    That is more or less what Judson Phillips was proposing.

  42. 42
    Brachiator says:

    @👽 Martin:

    RE: There are more red counties than blue in California

    Not really. 58 counties, and Obama won exactly half of them. He won San Bernardino, Stanislaw, Merced – those are places that wouldn’t exactly spring to mind as blue.

    I was thinking more about the governor’s race and past state elections, but fair point in looking at the presidential race. And even here, imagine Obama winning by a comfortable 3 million votes, but Romney still being allocated electoral votes.

    @The Bearded Blogger:

    The GOP will remain strong in certain regions for some years, but I really think they won’t be much of a national party until they reboot in some way

    If they can twist the vote to retain power in state legislatures and a majority in the House of Representatives, then they are still a powerful national party.

    It’s almost like all of the crappiest aspects of a coalition government without actually changing to a parliamentary system.

  43. 43
    MikeJ says:

    @jheartney:

    The money that funds the GOP won’t tolerate getting thrown away the way it was in 2012

    Sheldon Adelson is worth $25 billion. I don’t think he;s that concerned about the $100 million he spent. He’ll continue to spend that much for every election until the day he dies.

  44. 44
    JPL says:

    @👽 Martin: Without two/thirds of the house, an amendment can’t be added. I think it will get state approval but it has to pass the house. I don’t think we’ll see a Constitutional Convention anytime soon.

    Bill Clinton won the electoral votes in GA the first time he was elected President and since then the Democratic Party in GA has disappeared into the wood work. Barnes lost his second term as Governor because he changed the state flag. The current Governor is probably a crook but no one seems to care.
    I’m afraid that if the Repubs get control nationwide, the same thing will happen

  45. 45
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @jheartney:

    Remember how voting access shenanigans was going to deliver Florida and Ohio to Romney? Didn’t work; piss off enough voters and they’ll do what they have to to get rid of you.

    Excellent point

  46. 46
    karen says:

    @mk3872:

    Man gets shot and killed by a gun.

    NRA: It’s his own fault for not having a gun.

  47. 47
    22over7 says:

    @Peregrinus:

    Oh, yay, we’re back to white male property owners voting. What can I say about that, let me think…NO!

  48. 48
    Suffern ACE says:

    @jheartney: yeah. But if it takes ten years to get rid of them and undo their laws, it might not be possible to start again. Luke the union movement, once they’re gone, they seem to be gone. Once you’ve sold the schools, it might not be so easy to restore them.

  49. 49
    karen says:

    I think that this should be investigated by the Dept of Justice for this reason:

    It may be “legal” but what they’ve just done is eliminate the need for elections. After all, if it’s rigged, what difference does an “election” make. It’s just a suggestion by that point.

    Also in VA the Lt Governor said he won’t sign off on this to break the tie.

  50. 50
    Original Lee says:

    Another example of cheating to win, that I need your help on (copied from an earlier thread):

    I am asking a huge favor of BJers. The We the People petition site has changed the rules for White House response to petitions. You now need 100,000 signatures for a response and 150 signatures for the petition to even show up on the site. A new petition started by a friend really needs signatures.

    The short version of the story behind the petition was printed in the Miami Herald today. Bottom line, CMS has told the state of Virginia not to respond to FOIA requests about hospital patient dumping (or other kinds of patient safety) complaints. We think it’s directly in response to the discovery that the Virginia investigators prepared two reports in the Van Putten case, one of which exonerated the hospital in time to get approval for a bond issue to expand the facility.

    I have been talking to the Van Putten family off and on for the last two years, and I strongly suspect that someone fairly high up at CMS has a big financial interest in hushing up patient abuse at this particular hospital.

    If there are legitimate reasons for CMS to classify a whole category of documents that used to be public, I would love to know them.

    Please go over and sign the petition!

  51. 51
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @karen: There was no tie.

  52. 52
    Roger Moore says:

    @Brachiator:

    Good example. There are more red counties than blue in California. Imagine if the governor’s race was decided not by the popular vote, but by some allocation based on the number of districts or counties. We would have the crappy female version of Mitt Romney (Meg Whitman) as governor.

    That’s a slightly misleading analogy. For one thing, the electoral college isn’t just a “one state, one vote” thing. The big states get more electoral votes than the small ones, just not as many more as their populations suggest. For another thing, the distribution of state populations is more even than the distribution of county populations in California. The most populous state (California) has about 66 times the population of the least populous (Wyoming). That’s a big discrepancy, but it’s tiny compared to the range of sizes of California counties; Los Angeles county has more than 8,000 times as many people as Alpine county.

  53. 53
    JPL says:

    @Original Lee: do you have a link

  54. 54
    Brachiator says:

    @jheartney:

    I have a hard time believing you can have a stable electoral structure if it’s based on blatantly anti-majoritarian infrastructure.

    They are getting away with it at the state level. For now.

    Rachel Maddow has been pounding the point home that some state legislatures are majority GOP in both the lower and upper house because of these electoral tricks, which in turn has also given the GOP an unnatural edge in the House.

    Voters are starting to pay attention, but not sure yet to what extent.

  55. 55
    22over7 says:

    That’s it. My outrage-o-meter is at maximum capacity tonight. I’m going to drink some wine and watch Justified on demand. Timothy Olyphant will soothe my damaged psyche.

  56. 56
    Original Lee says:

    @Original Lee: Bother. The links didn’t show up.

    Here is the Miami Herald story.

    The We the People petition can be found using keywords patient dumping or looking the health queue, or (risking FYWP)
    here.

  57. 57
    Original Lee says:

    @JPL: Yes, just posted. Don’t know why they didn’t go through the first time.

    Thanks a million for your signatures!

  58. 58
    weaselone says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Sure it’s legal. It’s also an actual example of why people supposedly need to own assault weapons.

  59. 59
    Peregrinus says:

    @22over7:

    Ann Coulter’s dreamland.

  60. 60
    robotswillstealyourjobs says:

    Those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent revolution inevitable. -JFK

  61. 61
    Peregrinus says:

    @robotswillstealyourjobs:

    I almost wonder if this is a bug or a feature. Sometimes it seems like the right wing wants tension to boil over and result in controlled violence that will scare the reality-based community into horrified silence.

  62. 62
    JPL says:

    @Original Lee: Post it again on another blog. There is always an open thread late night and early morning.

  63. 63
    redoubt says:

    @JPL: The current Governor is a crook

    Fixed.

    Georgia used to have the “county unit system” which is what this sounds like, and was declared unconstitutional fifty years ago.

    Also like Georgia, this is aimed at continued rural dominance.

  64. 64
    karen says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    My apologies. I reread the TPM article and the Lt. Governor said IF it came to a tie.

  65. 65
    Hill Dweller says:

    Charlie Pierce calls it what it is: racism. They’re trying to prevent “urban” voters in heavily populated counties from electing Democrats in statewide elections.

  66. 66
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @mk3872: Point me to a red state that is so heavily gerrymandered towards Democrats and controlled by Democrats the Republicans have no chance of winning if the EC was split.

    Yeah, I thought so. Know why? Because Democrats actually care about representative governance.

    You’re a goddamn idiot.

  67. 67
    Frank says:

    @👽 Martin: They’d still do it even if they didn’t have the gerrymandered maps. It’s all about the states that they do it to. If republican states are winner-take-all and most democratic battleground states are split, it’s a huge baked in advantage for them.

    Now, gerrymandering makes it that much worse, but it’s pretty much a secondary issue. That being said, republicans would perhaps champion for per-district electoral voting nationwide because of their gerrymandered advantage, but that’s not what’s going on here.

  68. 68
    Original Lee says:

    @JPL: Thanks. I’ll try again in the morning.

  69. 69
    karen says:

    They have a petition on We The People about the GOP gerrymandering:

    http://wh.gov/Ep9p

    I’ve already signed it. I’ve put it on my facebook. We need 100,000 signatures so if you think it should be stopped then email that link and sign the petition!

  70. 70
    dww44 says:

    @gene108: Exactly right. There is no single Democrat occupying a state wide office in Georgia. The GOP gerrymandered the districts in 2012 to insure that where I live in the center of the state will have a permanent Republican like the Tea Party Guy we have now. He booted the Dem in 2010 and had no opposition in 2012. The GOP has drawn the districts to insure that there are only 4 safe Democratic districts and the other 9 are virtually givens to the GOP, which is why we have Broun, Graves, Price,Gingrey, Westmoreland, and Kingston. No wonder they want to primary Chambliss. By their standards he’s an out and out liberal.

    If ever there was a need for a Dean-like 50 state strategy, now is the time to implement it. The Obama campaign did not exist in this non swing state. The state Democratic party has a good guy at the helm (he’s not a Southerner by birth or background) but they are having a hard time recruiting candidates. The truth is, if you are a white Democrat, other whites view you as an outlier. As if, literally, you had horns growing out of your head.

    Tis a tough time to be a Dem in these parts.

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