Why do you try to cheat?

There’s been a lot of discussion about Republicans’ new efforts (in Virginia and elsewhere) to rig the electoral college by changing the way in which certain states allocate their electoral votes.

These efforts are shameful, and they should be condemned. But they should also be seen for what they are: a doomed, short-sighted plan that will only further alienate American voters.

Republicans can try to gum up the works all they want. And no doubt they can hurt the country in doing so. But there’s no real way to remain a viable national party without coming to grips with Democrats’ registration advantage.

So, yes, get mad, you sons of bitches, but don’t get scared.

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107 replies
  1. 1
    Tom Levenson says:

    This is exactly right. Moves like the VA one are troubling, and could cause huge trouble in 2016. They are, however, the last tactic available to a party that is doing to itself what McConnell or Bohner (whichever it was) whined Obama would do to/for them. That would be unravelling on the ash heap of history.

  2. 2
    dr. bloor says:

    It blows, but anything that highlights how bizarre and antiquated the EC is isn’t all bad.

    ETA–Also, too, I think “gaming the system” is probably a better way of putting it than “cheating.” Which is what political parties generally do.

  3. 3
    NotMax says:

    Trying to exclude the blahs (mostly) backfired.

    Rather than accepting demographic reality and incorporating that into strategy, they are now trying to herd their votes into electoral Bantustans.

    Quelle surprise.

  4. 4
    Doug Galt says:

    @dr. bloor:

    When the Clash record a song with the lyrics “Why do you try to game the system?” I will use that as a title for such posts.

  5. 5
    dr. bloor says:

    @Doug Galt: Ah. Didn’t get the reference.

  6. 6
    RyMaN600 says:

    Oh, I’m mad alright.

    The Virginia state senate is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, 20-20. Republicans really hate this, but what can they do? Answer: wait for a Democratic state senator to be absent and jam through a mid-decade redistricting plan that switches one seat from D to R by creating a new pack-and-crack majority black district just south of Richmond. The vote was 20-19.

    But wait! That’s not all. The deed was done on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and at the end of the session Republicans adjourned in memory of Confederate general Stonewall Jackson, whose birthday is today.

    Oh, and did I mention that the state senator who was absent is a veteran of the civil rights movement? And that he was in Washington to attend the inauguration of our country’s first black president?

    They know exactly what they’re doing, and they don’t really care to hide it anymore.

  7. 7
    IowaOldLady says:

    I wish I wasn’t worried about them screwing around with the EC, but it looks to me that if this kind of vote allocation is enacted, we could have presidents who don’t win the popular vote much more often. These guys don’t believe in democracy so it doesn’t trouble them, though I’m sure it will trouble the voters. But will that voter dismay be strong enough to make a difference if the Republicans are in power?

    Talk me down, I beg you.

  8. 8
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Republicans have not legitimately won a presidential election since 1988. The Bush victories have conclusively shown to be the result of increasingly desperate cheating/rigging the system. Now even that has failed them.

    So now we’re going to get open Calvinball for a few elections, and eventually that will fail as well.

    The future of the national GOP is currently on display in California. It’s not pretty.

  9. 9
    Schlemizel says:

    Understand though that the work they are trying to pull off could fuck up a lot more than the 2016 Presidential election. If they can maintain the gerrymandered stat districts they can remain in control of states where they don’t have a majority. This already is done in PA and WI pretty well. That can allow them to control the redistricting in 2020 to continue the cycle of abuse even longer.

    Plus with some shit for brains in the White House & control of the House they can tie the Senate into knots, tip some of those blew dog types there & continue the destruction of America so ably begun under St. Ronnie and damn near completed under Boy Blunder.

    Yes, we should all be scared to death and fighting for our lives, the life of our nation and the safety of the entire world.

    Not to get to over-wrought about it.

  10. 10
    Schlemizel says:

    @IowaOldLady:

    Had the goopers had this system in place last fall Willard Rmoeny would be President today despite drawing 5 million fewer votes. The media would be telling us all to remain calm, that he really did get a broader section of AMerican than Obama and we would have more of those damn maps like we got in 2000 proving that the GOP won large sections of prairie dogs and pine cones while the Dems only managed to win the places people actually live in.

  11. 11
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Don’t you know it is wrong to cheat the trying man?

    NB: no Soft Cell lyrics were harmed in this blog post.

  12. 12
    White African-American says:

    @NotMax:

    Bantustan? Gosh, I haven’t heard that word in nearly two decades now. What an apt description.

    Are you by any chance from South Africa?

  13. 13
    Napoleon says:

    @dr. bloor:

    ETA–Also, too, I think “gaming the system” is probably a better way of putting it than “cheating.” Which is what political parties generally do.

    It is neither – it is a slow motion coup, nothing less. Its the effective ending of democracy in this county on the federal level.

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    So now we’re going to get open Calvinball for a few elections, and eventually that will fail as well.

    Why do you think that? It appears to me that they quite easily will make it stick through at least 2 or more national elections. The lack of concern on the left at, well at least what I think, is a frontal assult on a free society from within is amazing.

  14. 14
    LGRooney says:

    Fuck you, this scares me!

  15. 15
    IowaOldLady says:

    @Schlemizel:

    I said talk me down!

  16. 16
    Napoleon says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Not to get to over-wrought about it.

    This is the kind of thing it is not possible to get over-wrought about.

    So carry on.

  17. 17
    BFR says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    This is exactly right. Moves like the VA one are troubling, and could cause huge trouble in 2016

    Here’s the thing someone pointed out on another thread. There’s no way that the GOP can win the presidency in 2016 without also carrying VA, particularly if someone like McDonnell is the nominee.

    So for my money, this bill is both reprehensible and idiotic. I’d be very, very surprised if it’s passed into law.

  18. 18
    Barry says:

    @Tom Levenson: “This is exactly right. Moves like the VA one are troubling, and could cause huge trouble in 2016. They are, however, the last tactic available to a party that is doing to itself what McConnell or Bohner (whichever it was) whined Obama would do to/for them. That would be unravelling on the ash heap of history. ”

    As we’ve seen, it doesn’t take long for them to trash the country, and cause massive harm to the world. Anybody up for Bush II the sequel?

    Also, given that they’d likely have control of the House, the Senate, and the backing of the crazies and the economic elites, what’s to stop them from pushing this farther? As has been pointed out, the next step would be to simply assign 1 EV per Congressional district, thus locking in the same gerrymandering
    which gave them the House this year.

  19. 19
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Oh, and did I mention that the state senator who was absent is a veteran of the civil rights movement? And that he was in Washington to attend the inauguration of our country’s first black president?

    @RyMaN600: As was pointed out numerous times yesterday, while I appreciate the guy wanting to take the day off, the VA Senate WAS in session and everyone knew that this was the Republican plan, and he left work anyway.

    Can’t really complain if I don’t show up for work on the day when they’re handing out offices and I find that my new office is the former broom closet, parked right next to the men’s bathroom.

  20. 20
    Steve M. says:

    I disagree. Say what you will about the wingnut rabble, but they pay attention to politics, even if half of what they “know” is utter fantasy. If Democrats tried to pull something like this, they’d all know (Fox and Rush would tell them), they’d get outraged, and Dems would have to back down.

    Our voters — not engaged lefties but rank-and-file Democrats — won’t even know this is happening. They’ll just wake up one day and find out that Marco Rubio lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton in 2016 by 5 million votes, but somehow became president — just the way George W. Bush lost by half a mil in 2000 and became president. And they’ll shrug and go back to their lives, leaving President Rubio and a GOP Congress free to repeal the rest of the 20th century.

  21. 21
    Waynski says:

    They need to start paying a price for this shit. And they need to start paying it now.

  22. 22
    DFH no.6 says:

    I’m not “scared” by what the fascists are doing to rig the electoral college in their favor, but I am fairly pessimistic about the outcome in the short-term.

    Meaning, I think they will be at least somewhat successful at using their ownership of legislatures and governorships with gerrymandered House districts in states Obama won last year to push more electoral votes their way the next time (or two), even if they lose the majority of these states’ overall presidential votes.

    And I am not sanguine that the public at large will care all that much (Bush/Gore 2000 being instructive here).

    Damn I hope I’m wrong (I seem to say that a lot around here, sorry).

  23. 23
    BFR says:

    @Waynski:

    They need to start paying a price for this shit. And they need to start paying it now

    Or they can pay for it in 2016, when McDonnell wins the popular vote in VA but loses out on a handful of EVs because the GOP idiotically decided to hand them to the Democratic nominee.

  24. 24
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Why do you think that? It appears to me that they quite easily will make it stick through at least 2 or more national elections. The lack of concern on the left at, well at least what I think, is a frontal assult on a free society from within is amazing.

    @Napoleon: I am concerned; I’ve also seen what happened to the GOP in my native state, California. They pulled all this shit and then some. It worked, and then it failed. They went to the next step, which worked. And then it failed. Etc.

    And as of now they’re done. No hope of a comeback, no way to get their hands on the levers of power. Permanent super-minority.

  25. 25
    eemom says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    no Soft Cell lyrics were harmed in this blog post.

    tee hee.

  26. 26
    Napoleon says:

    @Barry:

    As has been pointed out, the next step would be to simply assign 1 EV per Congressional district, thus locking in the same gerrymandering which gave them the House this year.

    The very day after the election the Sec of State here in Ohio proposed just that, and Ohio has the heavily gerrymandered districts so that even though Obama won Ohio he would have gotten something like 1/3 the EVs of the state. The fact that he had that proposal in his head the very next day all but tells you that amoung a certain proportion of Republican office holders they decided going in to the election that if they won great, if not they would run a slow motion de-facto coup so that it never happened again.

  27. 27
    RyMaN600 says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    I agree on that, but it’s the dedication to Stonewall Jackson on MLK day that put it over the top for me. It’s a giant middle finger to Democrats and minorities on top of gaming the system against them. It makes it blatantly obvious who these people are and what they stand for when they pull crap like this.

  28. 28
    Todd says:

    In 2016, the scary black dude won’t be on the docket. It’ll be a vague, generic sort of white guy like John Tester.

    How is that going to work out in the R+5 districts?

  29. 29
    zagrobleny says:

    Because they get away with it. The conservative media and their audience will cheer them on or deny the evidence that it is happening and the mainstream media will ignore it or claim “both sides do it”.

  30. 30
    WereBear says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: And as of now they’re done. No hope of a comeback, no way to get their hands on the levers of power. Permanent super-minority.

    I never get tired of this story.

  31. 31
    Hungry Joe says:

    I can’t figure out why this won’t work for the GOP. They’ve got the governorships and the leges in some large blue states, so those electoral votes will get divided up while those in red states won’t. Heads — ours, for example — will explode, but that’ll be about the extent of the protest … unless we go all out and, you know, break a few shop windows and get ourselves teargassed.

    Okay, I need talking down, too. Now would be good.

  32. 32
    dm9871 says:

    Doug, i think you are just wrong. They very easily could get away with this, at least in the short and medium term: just like they get away with gerrymandering many state legislatures beyond recognition; just the way they get away with disfranchising “felons,” in some cases for life – most of whom are Dems; just the way for 70 years Dixiecrats got away with disfranchising African Americans through poll taxes and literacy tests.

    This very same faction has been doing this stuff for most of American history. What makes you think they can’t continue to get away with it, at least mostly and for awhile?

  33. 33
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    They wouldn’t have to resort to dirty tricks if they were winning. We are in for some ugliness in the short term, but this is a rear guard action.

  34. 34
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    I never get tired of this story.

    @WereBear: Me either. Some local Republicans wanted to put up a statue of Pete Wilson in downtown San Diego here. I wish they had allowed it. I’d walk by and thank him every day.

    Couldn’t have done it without you, Pete. You turned the largest red state in the country permanently blue.

  35. 35
    Scott de B. says:

    So if this system were in place in 2004 in Ohio and Virginia, I think we’d be very close to having a President Kerry.

  36. 36
    IowaOldLady says:

    @Scott de B.:

    Yes, but since 2004, we had the 2010 election in which Republicans took control of a ton of statehouses, which in turn meant they controlled the redistricting resulting from the 2010 census. We’ll be paying for that for a long time.

  37. 37
    jrg says:

    Guess those dickhole teabagger Paul Revere wanna-bes don’t care about “taxation without representation” when it’s happening to someone else.

    Oh, that’s right. I’m a Dem, so the taxes I pay are imaginary.

  38. 38
    danimal says:

    I’ll be surprised if this ever becomes operative. It’s terrible politics that can drive nominal conservatives into the Dem column just because cheating/gaming the system pisses people off. This scheme reeks of desperation–“we know we can’t appeal to you with our message, so we’re rigging the vote instead.”

    It would take colossal stupidity for the GOP to do this. Which is why I can’t totally rule it out.

  39. 39
    Doug Galt says:

    So if this system were in place in 2004 in Ohio and Virginia, I think we’d be very close to having a President Kerry.

    Bingo.

    That’s why I’m not worried.

  40. 40
    azrev says:

    We need to set up a mechanism for a national, economic boycott targeting any state that does this: no conventions, no vacations, no shopping, etc. It needs to be announced ahead of time and then immediately implemented should any state be so foolish as to pass this kind of legislation.

  41. 41
    DFH no.6 says:

    In order to placate Southron slave-owners (all right, more than placate) our lovely Constitution gave states the right to decide how to apportion presidential electors, which anti-democratic right exists to this day (and isn’t going away anytime soon).

    The fascists already have a built-in electoral college advantage with all those empty square states in the middle (2 Senators and thus 2 electoral votes for Wyoming, for instance, same as California with 100X the population).

    Democrats have no way to stop Obama-won states with fascist guvs & leges from this scheme to apportion electors based on gerrymandered House districts.

    Due to such gerrymandering, the fascists can (and will, for some time, unfortunately) hold onto the House majority even when losing the overall House vote nationwide by millions (as they did last year).

    This electoral college scheme intends to push that same “advantage” (i.e., anti-democratic – though constitutional – election-rigging) into the presidential arena.

    Evil but clever motherfuckers, these fascists. Might not gain them the presidency in 2016 or 2020, but it will certainly tilt the scales in their favor.

    Kinda the opposite of “talking down” IowaOldLady, as she requested, I know. But that’s my view.

    Dustbin of history, my ass.

  42. 42
    kay says:

    Well, if they pass it in Ohio we can overturn it by referendum.
    I think, depending on some supermajority rules I may have to look up :)
    Come on. There’s lots of state process to be used in a creative manner.
    If we put half the effort into this that we did into the trillion dollar coin thing we should be FINE:)

  43. 43
    kay says:

    @danimal:

    Doesn’t it throw GOP statewide and Senate candidates under the bus? They’ll have millions of angry Democrats all fired up to beat anyone who has to run statewide.

  44. 44
    IowaOldLady says:

    I was hoping for the National Popular Vote Compact, by which states agree to give all their EC votes to the popular vote winner. Some states have signed on, I know, but it doesn’t go into effect until enough states agree to control 218 votes, ie the number needed to win. It’s a way to prevent the vote loser from becoming president without having to amend the Constitution.

  45. 45
    Xenos says:

    @Todd:

    In 2016, the scary black dude won’t be on the docket. It’ll be a vague, generic sort of white guy like John Tester.
    How is that going to work out in the R+5 districts?

    This is the critical flaw to the sort of redistricting they are doing. When there is a Democratic candidate that does not have the racial handicapping of Obama, a lot of those districts are going to flip, and all at once. They won’t have nearly as many safe districts as they would have had if they had not gerrymandered.

    The key is to get a moderate white guy who is secretly beholden to the liberals, and who will have huge coattails. Any suggestions?

  46. 46
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Xenos: Me?

  47. 47
    DFH no.6 says:

    @danimal:

    It’s terrible politics that can drive nominal conservatives into the Dem column just because cheating/gaming the system pisses people off.

    It would be pretty to think so, wouldn’t it?

    But I’m much less sanguine about any popular “uproar” against this electoral college scheme.

    How’d that work against the very gerrymandering this is based on?

    And “terrible politics” over cheating/gaming the system didn’t stop the fascists from pushing all their voter suppression last time, either, did it? That was only stopped (and only in some cases – excessively long lines at Democratic-leaning polling places were very much a part of fascist voter suppression) by federal courts, not the “court of popular opinion”.

    With their electoral college scheme the fucking fascists have the Constitution on their side.

    We have principled notions of fairness opposed to (legal) cheating/gaming the system on ours.

    Sure, that puts us on the side of the angels. Unfortunately, there are no such things as angels.

  48. 48
    mir13 says:

    Man, it’s going to feel really good rounding up all the GOP losers and putting them in FEMA camps. I plan on bringing a sack lunch and making a day of it.

  49. 49
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @DFH no.6: The court of popular opinion is what created those long lines. People decided they would not accept being disenfranchised.

  50. 50
    Tonybrown74 says:

    I’m with Doug on this one.

    I’m not scared; I’m PISSED OFF!

    But I’m in Massachusetts. People in Pennsylvania and Virginia are the ones who need to get PISSED off.

    Just like when Blacks, Latinos and college students in Florida and Ohio got pissed off. And stood in line for HOURS to vote. The GOP underestimates it’s constituents at their own peril.

  51. 51
    hoodie says:

    @kay: It’s of some concern, but more because it could be very politically destabilizing. Gerrymandering, even though sometimes egregious, slips under the radar because people don’t intuitively grasp the effects of congressional districts. You can also play games like this in primaries because it’s viewed as an internal party issue. However, I’m not so sure you’d want to try governing this country as President having won an electoral majority using games like this but lost the popular vote by a relatively significant amount. The current system did it once in the recent past, but it was very close and muddled because of Florida. If they change the electoral vote process in a bunch of battleground states to the point that it produces such result, however, it’s likely to create an uproar and undermine the legitimacy of the government, as it pretty much tramples the mythos of American democracy, one person/one vote. It could lead to all kinds of weird things. For example, it could lead California to actually consider secession because it’s getting screwed by the structure of the Electoral College and the construction of the Senate, i.e, nobody bitches about the latter now, but it is pretty ridiculous that California’s 35 million people have the same number of senators as a handful of antelope in Wyoming. California could probably do just fine without the rest of the US; most of the Republican south might have some real problems. I think Republicans live under the illusion that, if they could only complete their mission to destroy the New Deal, everyone would realize how grand it is and thank them profusely and not pay attention to what they did to get there. Like they say, be careful about what you wish for, you may get it.

  52. 52
    DFH no.6 says:

    @Doug Galt:

    That’s why I’m not worried.

    Really?

    You’re not worried because this might almost (but not quite) usher in a President Kerry in 2004?

    Yeah, that’s flip.

    But seriously, this isn’t theoretical – the fascists are already moving on their electoral college scheme.

    I don’t think their concern about it maybe throwing the presidency to the Democratic candidate in some fairly far-off election (no earlier than 2024) is enough to stop them.

    This tips the scales in their favor for 2016 and 2020 at least as much as voter suppression.

    They’ve got ten years to figure out how to keep this from biting them in the ass. Forever in politics.

  53. 53
    kay says:

    @hoodie:

    I’m somewhat hopeful because I saw a real change in public opinion ( and media attention) on voter supression between 2005 and 2012.

    Enough people got it. Eventually, they got it.

    We just saw Rick Scott in FL, a person who is a crook and a scumbag, BACK OFF on voter supression. I know why he did that. He did tgat because those photos of black people waiting in long lines made him look like a monster.

  54. 54
    Tim c. says:

    i’m with hoodie on this one. it’s one thing to cheat with the methods that have always been there. it one thing to win the EV but lose the popular by less than half a percent. it’s quite another to change the rules so visibly and then get the whitehouse even when you lose popular vote by 5 or 6 million votes. Particularly combined with GOP incompetence and confusion between fantasy and reality. If the GOP won like that in 2016, I doubt the party would be viable for any office outside the south by 2020.

  55. 55
    Tim c. says:

    i’m with hoodie on this one. it’s one thing to cheat with the methods that have always been there. it one thing to win the EV but lose the popular by less than half a percent. it’s quite another to change the rules so visibly and then get the whitehouse even when you lose popular vote by 5 or 6 million votes. Particularly combined with GOP incompetence and confusion between fantasy and reality. If the GOP won like that in 2016, I doubt the party would be viable for any office outside the south by 2020.

  56. 56
    Citizen Alan says:

    The National Popular Vote Compact worries me and here’s why: I think it’s only going to pass in blue states. Which means that if the Republican wins the popular vote, blue states will simply give him their EV’s,but if the Dem wins the popular vote, red states will not reciprocate. And with this VA scheme, purple states will split their votes in a way unfavorable to the Dems.

    I am not nearly as optimistic at how this will work out as Doug. I’ve been hearing people gloat about “The Coming Democratic Majority” for ten years, and I just shake my head. I’ve said all along the fascists can maintain control for years to come if they can institute Jim Crow style voting suppression and they’ve started doing that. I’ve also said they can maintain their hold indefinitely if they’re able to create apartheid states, and now it seems they’ve started doing that.

  57. 57
    catclub says:

    @Xenos: Joe Biden. I suspect you already knew that.

    I am almost ready to predict a Biden Landslide in 2016.

  58. 58
    BobS says:

    @White African-American: You obviously don’t pay much attention to what Israel is doing in the West Bank.@DFH no.6: These attempts to “game” the system (as it was generously referred to upthread) deserve descriptive labels- ‘the Republican 3/5 Person Act’ would acknowledge the history you refer to, or ‘the Republican Enabling Act’ would pay homage to their fascist forebears.

  59. 59
    liberal says:

    @Napoleon:

    It is neither – it is a slow motion coup, nothing less. Its the effective ending of democracy in this county on the federal level.

    Agreed. I don’t quite get the equanimity of many of the comments here.

    @DFH no.6:

    With their electoral college scheme the fucking fascists have the Constitution on their side.

    As I think some bloggers have pointed out at Lawyers, guns, and money, there’s more to a nation than laws; there’s also norms. This shit is a complete violation of those norms.

    Sure, under the EC, the loser of the popular vote could win the election, but it wasn’t all that likely, the pop vote margin would be close, and (unfortunately, I’d agree) it was well within accepted norms.

    This is well outside. While I’m sure Burnsie would bleat about the definition of treason—sadly for him, the one in the Constitution isn’t the only one given in the dictionary—all Republican leaders who push this and all state legislators and governors who vote for this should be viewed as traitors, in the strongest sense of that word.

  60. 60
    liberal says:

    @BobS:
    Hey, that’s a thought—just convince the usual suspects that somehow this is bad for Israel, and the problem will be taken care of very, very quicky.

  61. 61
    liberal says:

    @BobS:
    Re the “enabling act,” now is a timely reminder of that discussion with Godwin that Glenn Greenwald published, where Godwin agreed that his law doesn’t apply to situations where such analogies are appropriate.

  62. 62
    Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    Any governor that would sign any of this shit into law should be on notice that a recall will be launched against him/her. Someone may need to be used as an example, but that would put the kibosh on the movement.

    So, yes, we do need to run around squawking about this as if our hair is on fire. Whatever it takes to wake people up before this country is locked into Mike Judge’s Idiocracy mode.

  63. 63
    Gus diZerega says:

    @Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn: Amen. This is a direct assault on the constitution and the people. A president owing his election to such stuff could be guaranteed to appoint Supreme Court judges who are apparatchiks and nothing more. It should be made clear that many Americans will absolutely refuse to support, obey, or do anything but resist such an assault on the country.

    Anyone who think that if these matters flip an election it will just take time till things return to their present sorry state as the Republicans decline is utterly naive.

  64. 64
    DFH no.6 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    The court of popular opinion is what created those long lines.

    Well, you’re half right – not being dissuaded by the long lines is how the “court of public opinion” beat the goddamn fascists’ deliberate creation of the conditions for long lines.

    But both were necessary for the long lines – the schemes to disenfranchise, followed by the pushback to not be disenfranchised.

    What mechanism does the desire to not be disenfranchised have to defeat the fascists’ electoral college scheme?

  65. 65
    BC says:

    One way to defeat them, even in gerrymandered districts, is to register Democratic voters. Expanding our base is really better than trying to beat them up. There are many of our voters who do not bother to register to vote. So if organizing for Action can just do the Acorn thing of registering voters, then getting those voters to the polls, the gerrymandered districts won’t matter. Also, too, the way the people in this country move around, the gerrymandered districts, which stretch the GOP voters and concentrate the Democratic voters, may just go away as people move from one district to another. There’s a reason we redo the congressional maps every 10 years – mobility.

  66. 66
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    I can’t imagine this thing lasting longer than it takes for every media outlet in Virginia to leave a severed horse head in Bob McDonnell’s bed. That’s a lot of valuable battleground state attention and ad money the Teahadis want to flush down the drain.

  67. 67
    Gus diZerega says:

    @DFH no.6: Mass civil disobedience. The Democrats in the VA Senate should make it clear the state will conduct no business until these things are eliminated. Good citizens in VA should conduct sit ins and such in government offices to support them. Learn from what the civil rights movement did in the 60s.

  68. 68
    karen says:

    1. I posted a link for the petition to stop the GOP gerrymandering, did anyone sign it?

    2. I don’t understand how the GOP can fail at this. The way I see it, since they already have the House gerrymandered so they always win and isn’t this new system based on those districts? So even if the votes are there to kick them out, the GOP votes are the only ones that get counted. If that’s not the case, please explain it to me because I was under the impression that these districts were gerrymandered in such a way that the GOP will always win.

  69. 69
    pat says:

    Doesn’t Maine already do this, apportion the EC vote based on leg districts? Or some other small state?

    If so, there is already a precedent. Living in Wisconsin and seeing the damage that can be done by repub rule, I am very afraid.

  70. 70
    DFH no.6 says:

    @liberal:

    there’s more to a nation than laws; there’s also norms. This shit is a complete violation of those norms.

    Well, I (mostly) agree with you, at least in principle.

    But here’s the thing – Nebraska and Maine already apportion their electoral votes by House districts. It’s not like it’s unheard of or anything.

    Since the Constitution allows this, and some states already do it, it’s a complicated argument beforehand (i.e., before an election where a popular-vote winning candidate loses the electoral college due to gerrymandered House districts in states like Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania) why this is wrong. At least, why it’s wrong enough for the people in our country to stop it (somehow) before it happens.

    I say “stop it (somehow)” because I do not see a mechanism for doing so except for taking back the legislatures and governorships of these states, and thereby putting back “winner-take-all” electoral apportionment (as well as un-gerrymandering the House districts).

    And that will be up to the people of those states, not the country at large.

  71. 71
    Gus diZerega says:

    @pat: No, Maine does not. You cannot win a majority of electoral votes and receive a minority of the popular vote. For more details see

    http://mentalfloss.com/article.....oral-votes

  72. 72
    Gus diZerega says:

    @DFH no.6: The constitution was written before parties existed. Its entire logic goes against this method. Read James Madison’s federalist 10.

  73. 73
    redshirt says:

    @pat: Maine (and Nebraska) currently awards their EV’s by congressional district. Maine has never split, though Romney made a slight push for the northern district. Obama won a Nebraska district in 2008.

    But both these states are small and homogenous. Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia are totally different ballgames.

    If Hillary or Biden are the nominees in 2016, I assume that actually puts many more districts in play. For example, is West Virginia and Arkansas back in the Dem column if Hillary runs?

    One way to defeat this tactic, for good, is to turn Texas blue. It can be done, and all efforts should be put towards the goal, as it will kill the Repukes.

  74. 74
    liberal says:

    @DFH no.6:

    But here’s the thing – Nebraska and Maine already apportion their electoral votes by House districts. It’s not like it’s unheard of or anything.

    Two tiny states of almost no electoral consequence, which have been doing this for how long?

  75. 75
    TenguPhule says:

    People need to start being executed for this crap. Only way to get them to stop.

  76. 76
    DFH no.6 says:

    @Gus diZerega:
    Mass civil disobedience?

    In Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania? Over electoral college voter apportionment by House districts?

    Never happen.

    In another comment you said “this is a direct assault on the constitution and the people”.

    On the people, yes. But mostly because of the even-worse House gerrymandering, which I’m not seeing much outrage about – effective outrage, anyway – let alone mass civil disobedience.

    On the constitution? Not at all. Perfectly, 100% Constitutional.

  77. 77
    Gus diZerega says:

    @DFH no.6: Yes and no. The constitution was written BEFORE parties existed. That is a major reason for the electoral college, which never worked as intended. The logic of the constitution is 100% undermined by this tactic. It will destroy the country because the Republicans have raised the stakes of winning and losing so high that only fair rules make it in the loser’s interests to accept defeat. Look at this in historical perspective and you will see they are playing with fire.

    If Democrats in those states have any balls at all, there will be mass civil disobedience. But given the performance of the party;s leaders, balls are, admittedly, in short supply.

  78. 78
    DFH no.6 says:

    The constitution was written before parties existed.

    Despite (some of the) Founding Fathers’ naivete regarding parties, they formed immediately anyway, and have been with us ever since. It was inevitable.

    Not only that, but our non-parliamentary-style representative republic is structured (constitutionally) so that we will always have two (dominant) parties.

    I think the electoral college works as it was intended (though it is long an anachronism). It was intended to get the South on-board.

  79. 79
    NotMax says:

    @http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....nt-4165968“DFH no.6

    Minor consideration, but also too, many, many of those who were at the Constitutional Convention were alive and certainly politically active once the establishment of a two-party system had essentially been cemented.

    That no attempt was pushed to amend the Constitution or the structure of the electoral college should serve to demonstrate that the party system was not automatically perceived as anathema to the republic as originally conceived and that the elections process as defined was elastic enough to accommodate it.

  80. 80
    Gus diZerega says:

    @DFH no.6: Not really.

    The rules for plurality vote in elections to House and Senate are not in the Constitution and could and should be changed at the state level. They were made to secure the monopoly privileges of the Federalists and Democratic Republicans, and have been retained for just such reasons. State initiatives could abolish them easily. We would then have multiple viable parties.

    The House in particular could easily be elected with all representatives chosen at large. That is constitutional. Doing so would almost immediately lead to multiple parties in larger states.

    The framers were not naïve- they did not exist anywhere. They did not do much damage for most of our history because they were decentralized and because the national government did relatively little. The Republicans are now more like a parliamentary party in a system without the checks a parliamentary system has.

  81. 81
    Gus diZerega says:

    @NotMax: People have found that political parties are natural outgrowths of democratic rules. Jefferson and Madison were the first effective organizers of a national party. Given that they were necessary even if unforeseen, no one after they formed thought they should be abolished, and it would be difficult to even imagine how they could be in a free society. Citizens have a right to combine to push their views and parties grow from that.

  82. 82
    DFH no.6 says:

    @Gus diZerega:

    It will destroy the country because the Republicans have raised the stakes of winning and losing so high

    I don’t think so. Not the US of A.

    Oh, if this electoral college scheme works for the fascists according to their wildest dreams (i.e., they lose the nationwide presidential popular vote, but still win the electoral college due to the gerrymandered House districts in these several states) there will be a great hue and cry across the land.

    Followed by “get over it” and “we’re a republic, not a democracy” and so on.

    And in the meantime the losing Democratic candidate will concede – as he/she should, since we are a republic organized under the Constitution, which, unfortunately, means the president is elected by the electoral college, not by popular vote. But that’s the law.

    And unless and until we change that law, we will, indeed, have to “get over it”.

    I don’t think this scenario is likely, but it’s certainly possible.

  83. 83
    Gus diZerega says:

    @DFH no.6: On the electoral college- weighted voting was for the slavers, to bring them on board, alas. The college itself existed because no one felt anyone had a big enough national reputation to win nationally after Washington was president. (no electricity, no steam trains, fastest communication was by horse, local economies for most, etc.) They thought that in practice the House would often choose the president.

  84. 84
    Gus diZerega says:

    @DFH no.6: Major conservative and neocon scholars have already indicated we should have a military coup if the wrong people win, and have praised dictatorship as necessary to protect against liberalism. Off the top of my head, Thomas Sowell and Michael Ledeen have done so. They were not condemned by their colleagues to the best of my knowledge.

  85. 85
    feebog says:

    Kay’s comment at 42 is a partial answer. At least three of these six states OH, MI, WI) have a referendum system that can overturn legislative overeach such as this. The answer in PA is to retake both houses of the legislature and Governer in 2014.

    This is should be OFA’s first priority in those states; let these Republican lawmakers know that if they try to mess with the EC, they will be up against a public referendum immediately.

  86. 86
    NotMax says:

    @Gus diZerega

    Of course. It is a recognition of the fractious reality of the system as opposed to an idealization.

  87. 87
    Gus diZerega says:

    @NotMax: Right. But the fractiousness needed to be kept from tearing the system apart, as it is doing today by raising the stakes of elections while trying to game who wins.

    Systems are not immortal.

  88. 88
    kay says:

    @feebog:

    Does Wisconsin? I didn’t think they did.

    Corbett in PA is unpopular. He’s a disaster. They should be able to beat him. 2010 was a wave year. The political climate is different. I would hope we could knock out some governors.

  89. 89
    Gus diZerega says:

    @kay: In PA you also need to retake the legislatures.

  90. 90
    kay says:

    @feebog:

    I personally don’t think Kasich will do it. I don’t think he gives a shit about the national GOP. I think he’s purely self-interested. He’s busy privatizing public assets.

  91. 91
    DFH no.6 says:

    @Gus diZerega:
    Yes, which is why the motherfuckers on the other side are fascists, and we are not.

    Won’t happen, though.

    They talk big, and they’ll do as much fascism as they can get away with.

    But no military coups or anything that would take that much physical bravery. Not really necessary, anyway.

    There are lots of fascist things can be done (and are done) with the system just as it is.

  92. 92
    feebog says:

    @ Kay:

    I fact checked myself. Wisconsin does not have a referendum or iniative process. However, Florida does have an iniative process for constitutional changes, which could overturn any such scheme in that state (assuming Dems got off their collective asses). That leaves VA, PA and WI, which would be a switch of about 30 electoral votes, still a very significant number.

  93. 93
    NotMax says:

    @Gus diZerega

    Again, of course. That, however, is not the historical argument/opinion I was positing. Any take on the contemporary dilemma was not a part of the comment.

  94. 94
    kay says:

    @Gus diZerega:

    Well, you don’t know if they’re going to get it thru. I’m a little wary of Dave Weigel’s reporting on these issues. He writes very sympathetic portrayals of the voter supression Righties. He uses the term “ballot security” and tgat phrase is a bit of a red flag for voting rights people. I just hate his voting rights stuff. It leans Right. So, I’ll have to look around and see how real a threat this is.

  95. 95
    DFH no.6 says:

    @Gus diZerega:
    Enjoying our back-and-forth here, and I would really like to pursue a discussion (argument?) about why I believe our Constitutionally-structured non-parliamentary government necessarily means a de-facto two-party system (there’s a reason why we have always had two, and only two, main parties – it’s baked in that way).

    And I say the Founders were naïve to believe we could somehow avoid “party factionalism”. That was as inevitable as the sun rising, but they opposed “parties” primarily out of idealism (thus the naivete).

    But I have to bug out now, so another time.

    Oh, and fuck all fucking fascists. Wanted to get that in.

  96. 96
    kay says:

    @feebog:

    The ballot referendum in OH didn’t even have to go on the ballot. We got the signatures we needed to put it on tge ballot and Republicans panicked and repealed their own voter supression law. They were afraid we were going to use it to drive up turnout and they were right. That’s exactly what we were going to do.

  97. 97
    liberal says:

    @TenguPhule:
    That’s certainly my emotional sentiment, though I’m opposed to it because I don’t think it would lead to desirable results. (As far as “just deserts” are concerned, death to traitors and all that.)

  98. 98
    liberal says:

    @kay:
    I really wonder why the Dems don’t use that tactic more often.

  99. 99
    kay says:

    @liberal:

    That was perfect, because we passed the voting petitions along with the union busting repeal petitions. OFA did the viting petitions and labor did the collective bargaining petitions. Same time. We were able to tell union people “sign this voting petition”. Just a good match. I don’t know if we would have been able to do it w/out labor. A lot if middle class Democrats don’t care about voting rights.

  100. 100
    thefax says:

    @The Sheriff’s A Ni-: I really worry about national gerrymandering, but the ad money thing is why I think it will fail. These states get an advertising and media windfall every four years; if they make themselves less powerful they’re hurting themselves.

    That said, the issue needs to get national media attention, and soon. It does worry me that left-wing blogs are the only places I really see anything about this. Monday’s redistricting scheme doesn’t seem to be going over well in VA, so if the national gerrymandering gets some national attention, that might be enough to stop it.

  101. 101
    Gus diZerega says:

    @DFH no.6: I enjoyed it as well. Bye!

  102. 102
    liberal says:

    @kay:

    A lot if middle class Democrats don’t care about voting rights.

    I’d like to think that that’s not so, but one best never underestimate the selfish/self-centeredness of fellow humans.

  103. 103
    J R in W Va says:

    I agree that this Republican effort is a coup in slow motion. It’s obvious that Republicans don’t believe in either Republican or Democracy, they believe that the country is theirs, for keeps, and anything else is unAmerican.

    The party leaders (at least) are internal terrorists, using fear, threats, and actual violence to push people into voting for them. They still can’t win a real election, and so will take every opportunity to steal them.

    I knew we were in big trouble when they stole Al Gore’s election after the fact, with the collusion of the news media, that didn’t report that the “demonstration” in Florida was a bunch of Republican staffers, brought in to help stop the legal process of counting votes.

    And a Supreme Court that had a couple of justices dumb enough to believe they were following the law and 3 who didn’t vare about the law, they were going to accept great wealth from conservative speaking engagements, and help their party’s nominee steal an Presidential election in front of the world.

    I’m not a political historian, so I’m not sure this was the most baldly stolen election in the history of the USA, but it was sure enough stolen. Until the votes are counted, the election isn’t over, and no clique of Nazi justices should be able to short circuit the will of the people.

    Some nights I have trouble, thinking about the end of the great American Experiment, and it keeps me from sleeping in the wee hours of the night.

  104. 104
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    Sorry Doug, but this scares the shit out of me precisely for the reason @Barry says:

    As we’ve seen, it doesn’t take long for them to trash the country, and cause massive harm to the world. Anybody up for Bush II the sequel?

    If they succeed in using this crap to take a term or 2, the results would be nigh disastrous. We’ve seen how quickly they work, especially with their essential dominance on the state-level.

  105. 105
    Irony Abounds says:

    Sorry Doug, but you’re nuts if you think this isn’t a big deal. All it takes is one election where the Republicans control all 4 branches and it’s lights out for the Dems. If you think they will stop at gerrymandering their way into the House and the Presidency, don’t think they won’t find other ways to cheat. The Republican Party and leaders are a totally corrupt organization that will fight like a cornered badger to keep whatever power it can. You scoff at the danger at your own risk, and, as Biden might say, literally the country’s risk.

  106. 106
    eyelessgame says:

    Okay. Talking people down – if you take Obama’s states and eliminate VA, WI, MI, OH, and PA, you still get 255 electoral votes. That means the next Democrat only needs to win 15 districts in those five states combined, and s/he still (narrowly) wins.

    Now, couple that with the loss of NV and CO and FL, and we start to get into trouble. But just redistricting the Rust Belt and VA doesn’t by itself necessarily lose the election – just makes it that much harder.

  107. 107
    liberal says:

    @J R in W Va:

    Some nights I have trouble, thinking about the end of the great American Experiment, and it keeps me from sleeping in the wee hours of the night.

    Yeah, I was so pissed last night that I woke up and couldn’t fall back asleep…

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