Splitting vote dumb
You’ve heard the old cliché: Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.
Republican Pennsylvania lawmakers might want to keep that in mind as they continue their relentless, thus far quixotic, efforts to game the state’s electoral system to “help” GOP presidential candidates.
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Next was the proposal to award the state’s electoral votes by congressional district — as opposed to the winner-take-all method that Pennsylvania and the vast majority of other states currently have in place.
If that had been in place in the last presidential election, Mitt Romney would have “won” Pennsylvania, gaining more electoral votes than President Obama — despite the fact that Mr. Obama had a solid majority of the statewide vote. That’s because Republicans have done a very effective job of gerrymandering congressional districts in the state.
Now comes a “new and improved” electoral proposal from state Senate Majority Leader Mitch Pileggi. Under Sen. Pileggi’s new plan, the electoral votes would be awarded proportionally according to the statewide vote. Eighteen of those electoral votes would be awarded proportionally, with two more awarded to the statewide winner.
That’s a little bit better than the previous plan. The “loser” of the statewide vote couldn’t win the state under such a scenario. But what is the virtue of this idea? It basically takes Pennsylvania off the table as a national player in the presidential election.
Rather than get the attention of candidates as a nominal “swing state,” a prized big-state electoral cache, it will be ignored by candidates. It would always be a virtual wash for the major party candidates.
It seems Republicans think that if they can get at least a handful of electoral votes out of Pennsylvania, that would be a win for the party candidate. Perhaps. Or perhaps this system could lead to a narrow presidential loss for some future GOP presidential candidate. Instead of getting all of the heystone state’s electoral votes, that candidate would get just a share — and that could be the difference between winning and losing a national election.
If the motive for changing the system is to better UHflHFW WKH wLOO RI WKH HnWLUH 3HnnVyOYDnLD HOHFWRUDWH,
there’s a much better way to accomplish that: Sign on to the National Popular sote initiative.
Here’s how it works: Enabling legislation is passed in states promising to award all of that state’s electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. That change is put on hold until states with 270 electoral votes — enough to win the presidency — pass the enabling legislation.
No constitutional amendment is needed.
There’s no need to expel the Electoral College.
So far, that legislation has been passed by states with 132 electoral votes.
Once the initiative becomes active, we can be assured that the winner of the national popular vote will win the election — and that everyone’s vote for president counts, whether they live in the cities or out in the countryside. Whether they live in Texas, a “red” state, Massachusetts, a “blue” state, or Pennsylvania, a “purple” state. Most people — conservative or liberal — can agree that the person who gets the most votes nationwide should be president.
Passing National Popular sote legislation would be a much more productive effort on the part of Sen. Pileggi and his GOP colleagues.
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