2007/08/02

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Cheat 'Em

I'm late to this party, but the Culture Ghost had a blurb about Republican efforts to rig the next presidential election, and it's just too important to pass up.

This brilliant piece of subterfuge comes in the form of a California ballot initiative that would ditch our 'winner-take-all' system in favor of splitting our electors roughly in line with the popular vote. Proposed by Thomas Hiltachk, a Sacramento lawyer with deep ties to the GOP, this measure would basically give Republicans the presidency in 2008 by stripping as many as 20 electors from the Democrats, and if you think that Hiltachk isn't getting his orders from the RNC or Karl Rove, think again.

But to get this passed in California, Hiltachk and his supporters will have to tell three BIG LIES. These are:

This System Would Be More Fair - Almost certainly true, but only if it's implemented all over the country, all at once! As it stands, it does nothing more than tilt the electoral college further toward the GOP.

This System Is Better For California - The argument being that candidates will spend more time campaigning in California. But moving our primary up will accomplish the same thing without rigging the election's outcome.

This Isn't Any Different Than the 'Popular Vote Movement' - The biggest lie of all because the popular vote movement has a built in fail safe--it doesn't go into effect unless 19 states carrying the balance of the electors all agree to join. This measure does exactly the opposite. Without being rolled out nation wide, it fixes the election's outcome, probably for a generation.

With such bad prospects for 2008, Republicans have apparently decided, "If you can't beat 'em, cheat 'em!"

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20 Comments:

So, Kvatch, you think this has any chance of working? I hope someone calls old Howie Dean up and gets something like this going in some red states.

You know, I still don't think 20 extra votes is going to help them.
Station Agent... Remember that it's not really just 20 votes. It's a 40 vote differential. That said...no...I don't really think it has much of a chance, but the Democrats will still have to spend a bit of cash to defeat it.
"Cheat em,"
Could definitely be the Republican campaign motto.
Right 40! Zounds. Kerry would have actually lost.
Aaron... Who needs a motto when you've managed to neuter California's influence at the national level?

SA... a 40 elector differential could put John 'I sold my sold my soul to Jerry Falwell' McCain over the top.
Shameless how the people opposed to leveling the playing field in the world of equal oppurtunity don't have a problem with tilting the table so all the balls go in their hole.
With such bad prospects for 2008, Republicans have apparently decided, "If you can't beat 'em, cheat 'em!"
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Hasn't that always been their way?
The problem Lew is that talk is cheap, especially for 'Thuglicans. They talk like they're interested in leveling the playing field, but they aren't really. Just look at CEO pay--up from 30X the average worker to 400X the average worker in 20 years.

Suzie-Q... More so than ever it seems.
I sure would be worried about what the Rethugs will do - they are going to go down, crash and burn.
this is seriously fucked up.

I live in Cali...we can't let this happen.
I absolutely agree with you. I truly believe in scrapping the electoral college and having presidents elected by popular vote (or allocating electoral votes based on the popular vote) - only if it is NATIONWIDE. There is no good reason NOT to do this, but I am very weary of doing this for "specific" states in order to manipulate the outcome.
And I still say that we have probably seen our last election in 2006.

They will never give up the power they now weld.

I hope I'm wrong, but don't believe I am.

God Bless.
Curious that there seems to be no similar call to apportion Texas' electoral votes, which would otherwise almost certainly go red. I wonder why that is? Maybe it's the same reason that Tom DeLay's rationale for mid-decade redistricting in Texas (GOP presidential candidates kept carrying the state by large margins) wasn't applied to Florida or California, where the Republicans hold Congressional seats out of all proportion to their Presidential vote percentages.
Peacechick... If all they were going to do was "crash and burn" I wouldn't get too worried about it. ;-)

Polishifter... I don't think it's got much chance of passing, but the money Democrats will have to spend defeating it is a bother.
AnonP... I think I said in another post, there's no reason to execute a coup when you can still guarantee your hold on power with a veneer of legitimacy.

LC... DeLay, like most 'Thuglicans knows which states butter his bread and which don't. California is so reliably Democrat, it's the prize catch. But hell, I'd be willing to put an initiative on the ballot in Texas. Do you have such a process?
Hello, Kvatch.
As you say, I believe it would be a good idea if more states would do it.
Even NM could be split to the Albuquerque vote and the everywhere-else vote.

But say if the ten most populous states were to go this route, I think it would work well.
Reminds me of the Japanese method of republic that determines the number of votes by geography rather than population.
I support doing away with the electoral college. As it is the vote of a Wyoming resident has almost double the electoral value of that of a Californian.
ProgressiveT... As TomCat says, I don't think that there is really any point in messing with permutations on the Electoral College. The whole institution is outmoded and needs to be dumped.

TomCat... Word!
"But hell, I'd be willing to put an initiative on the ballot in Texas. Do you have such a process?"

No, and frankly it's probably just as well we don't, given our low voter turnout and high proportion of wingnuts. We'd have a constitutional amendment to repeal the law of gravity, round pi to 3.15, make shitkicker the official language or stone witches to death in a heartbeat.
Proportional representation with reasonable thresholds and compulsory voting (it is a DUTY, not a right). That's the way to get real representation of the popular will, which is - in principle - what democracy is really about.

I favor unilateral disarmament, i.e. having California go proportional while Texas and Florida stay winner-take-all. Frankly, I don't think the Democratic party is that much different or better than the Republican, and I suspect they are trying to make sure their hides are safe too, using scare tactics just as their Republican brethren. In the end, if third parties become viable, all donkeyphants lose. Only voters would win. And neither donkey nor elephant will let that happen...

No election reform will happen that would threaten the two-party system. Not without a popular revolt.

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