In 2000, the Republicans used Florida to fuck over voters. In 2004, they used Ohio.
They’ve got quite the strategy going here. They seem to have figured out that when you steal an election, the public starts to get suspicious. But when you steal the election in different ways, using different officials each time as your evil pawns, you start to look less liable to the public eye, can just shrug your shoulders and say “hey, that’s a state issue.”
So obviously, for 2008, they had to pick a different state. I mean, Florida and Ohio are still good, and clearly very easy, but we’re watching them, now. That’s how they were able to quietly rig voting machines in Ohio while all of the national media attention was focused on Florida. Sure, there will still be some vote-fixing, some disenfranchisement of minority voters and people turned away at the polls, but it’ll be more low-key and less sanctioned by those at the top, and though absolutely horrid, it will be be all puppies and rainbows compared to what else they’ve got up their sleeve.
You know who the nation won’t be watching on election night or in the long, drawn out months of campaigning leading up to next November? California, of course.
Republican donors are pumping new life into a proposed ballot initiative, considered all but dead by Democrats a month ago, that would alter the way electoral votes are apportioned in California to the benefit of Republican presidential candidates.
Though the financing remains uncertain, the measure’s leaders said Friday that they were confident they would get the signatures required by the Nov. 29 deadline to qualify the initiative for a statewide vote next June. The effort, begun in the summer by a prominent Republican lawyer, lay in peril in October after its top proponents quit over questions about its financing.
Last week, a new organization began raising the roughly $2 million thought to be needed to get the initiative on the ballot. The new effort is being spearheaded by David Gilliard, a Republican consultant in Sacramento, aided by Anne Dunsmore, a prolific fund-raiser who recently resigned from the presidential campaign of Rudolph W. Giuliani.
“You can’t just fold up every time somebody says they killed you,” Ms. Dunsmore, in a telephone interview, said of the effort to resuscitate the initiative.
The initiative would ask voters to replace California’s winner-take-all system of allocating its 55 electoral college votes with one that parses the votes by Congressional district. It has attracted strong opposition from Democrats because it would transform California from a reliably Democratic state in presidential elections by handing the Republican nominee roughly 20 votes from safe Republican districts.
This is what they call the Maine Method — instead of tallying up the votes from each district and granting all of the electoral votes to the candidate who has won the most districts, an electoral vote would be granted to each candidate based on the number of actual districts he or she wins. In the California example, instead of the Democratic candidate getting all 55 electoral votes, he or she would most likely get only 35 electoral votes, while the Republican candidate would get 20.
On the surface, the idea that this ploy might succeed sounds absolutely nuts. I mean, California? Of all places? The legislature already laughed you out of the chambers — do you think that the voters are going to go for it? I’d be ready to dismiss the effort out of hand, if only the Republicans hadn’t already pulled off shit that is far scarier, not to mention far more illegal.
What do all three of the state situations tell us? Well, that we need to get rid of the electoral college all together and revert to a popular vote.
The proposed Maine Method is certainly not the answer, though many will claim it is. I’m all for national voting reform — immediately. Change the damn Constitution, please. But I can’t help but feel that this type of initiative is innately moronic.
Firstly, it’s imminently unfair — probably even more unfair than the current electoral voting system. To do the Maine Method on a state-by-state basis is always going to be unfair to one party. To split up California in this way and not Texas is clearly highway robbery.
If we were to try to institute the system on a nationwide basis, it would still be granting the Republican party free and indefinite control over the country, even when they haven’t earned it. A very quick look at the 2004 election results show that if using a district allocating system, Bush would have beat Kerry with 60% of electoral college votes. The analysis in the linked piece is entirely wrong, though — it doesn’t show how unfair our current electoral college system is, it shows how even more unfair this one would be. Why? Because the popular vote in 2004 was a 50% to 48% split. Doesn’t that seem, oh, I don’t know, a little bit off to you? Doesn’t the unfairness strike you faster than you can say “gerrymandering?”
Of course, the Republicans know this. But using actual facts to make a point, while omitting other facts that directly disprove it is a tried and true method.
As for a popular vote system, yes, there would be some problems for small states, but as someone who isn’t particularly down with the whole “state’s rights” attitude, it seems to me that if your numbers are fewer, you naturally ought to get less say. And in any case, I in no way try to represent “NY” when I vote, I only represent me. As for minority voters, I’m in no way convinced that this is going to harm them — there are probably a lot more minority voters in NY or California than there are in Florida and Ohio combined. A popular vote would require that candidates not just pander to minority voters in one location, but actually take a genuine interest in their issues to get their votes in Blue states as well as Swing states. It would be even more important for those who live in traditionally Red states, where racial minorities are currently openly and guiltlessly ignored. And yes, Bush probably would have won 2004, anyway, if we used the popular vote method. But at least the fucker would have actually earned it.
But back to the original question of what we have on our hands here: a new election scandal, or some rich assholes wasting their time? I’m not convinced either way, yet, but I do know that we can’t say we weren’t warned.