Friday, January 25, 2013

More info on the GOP's plans to avoid another bad year like 2012

After  a defeat of the magnitude of 2012, the Republican Party searches for a way forward.  This is more information about what their soul-searching has come to.  It shouldn't matter that five million more people voted for the Democrat than us; our guy should still win.  Those votes count less because those people live closer to each other.

This is not idle speculation.  The chairman of the RNC endorses it.  Such a plan is clearing hurdles in Virginia.  Maine and Nebraska have cast their electoral college vote in the way for several elections.  It is legal. It is being introduced in Pennsylvania and, I believe, Michigan.

One would think that such a move would be so far outside the norms of our political tradition that it could not happen.  But look at what has occurred in Wisconsin and Michigan already.  Michigan, the home of the auto industry, Walter Reuther and the UAW is now a "right to work" state.

Were it to be enacted, it would be a legal hijacking of the democratic process -- not in some obscure procedure, but at the place where more Americans participate than any other.  It is naked and transparent and justified by no other principle other than the GOP's desire to win.

It will either succeed, or it will fail, because of massive levels of resistance, greater than what we have seen in Madison and Lansing and Ohio.  Will UU churches, congregations and ministers be a part of that resistance?

Or will Unitarian Universalism, which went to Selma for the right of African Americans to vote in the South, retain its political neutrality when the power of everyone's vote is diluted by one of the two parties?


2 comments:

Elz Curtiss said...

In turning away from "Winner Take All" electoral allotments, the GOP is adopting a position long advocated by progressives -- namely, "Proportional Representation." Rather than argue about going back to Winner Take All, I celebrate this as a major step toward Prop rep. The correct rebuttal is not "Who wins each state?" but "what designates a unit of voting?" The hijackers want it to be the congressional districts, the left wants it to be the individuals.

So let's go after them plena voce on prop rep -- "yes! Yes! You're right! Minority interests HAVE been subverted by Winner-Take-All. So why would not YOU -- the GOP, the original voice of the individual -- not fully support simple vote-counting, one by one, to elect presidents?"

Indeed, we could even use Prop Rep to eliminate the concept of separately drawn congressional districts by using the Census to allocate seats by county or group of contiguous counties. Parties or primaries would elect slates of candidates, and then after the general election, Prop Rep would send the top finishers to Congress from each jurisdiction or cluster thereof.

Tom Schade said...

Elz, I agree that there are better ways of voting. I would prefer abolishing the electoral college entirely and allowing a national popular vote with an instant runoff option.
But that is not what is on the agenda right now. That issue is in the very furthest back burner on the national stove. What we have now is the GOP plan which would be implemented only in states where the GOP controls the state government but the Dems win the presidential vote.
The only way that this issue breaks open is if there is massive resistance nationally to any one state GOP trying to rig the system in this way.
So whatever the end you want, the journey begins in the same place.