Earlier this week, Addicting Info’s Michael Hayne reported on GOP Party Chairman Reince Priebus floating his approval of the idea that presidential electoral votes be divvied up based on each state’s congressional districts. In his post, “If We Can’t Beat ‘Em, Let’s Just Rig It: RNC Chair Likes Idea Of Rigging Next Presidential Election For Republicans,” Hayne quotes Priebus as saying:
“I think it’s something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at,” Priebus said of the plan to change how electoral votes are granted.
Well he no longer has to think it’s something states should look at—according to ThinkProgress, the notion has just moved from mere idea, one step closer to becoming reality.
On Monday, seven Pennsylvania Republican state representatives introduced a bill to make this vote-rigging scheme a reality in their state. Under their bill, the winner of Pennsylvania as a whole will receive only 2 of the state’s 20 electoral votes, while “[e]ach of the remaining presidential electors shall be elected in the presidential elector’s congressional district.”
Makes sense, I guess, if you’re a Republican who thought you could hand Mitt Romney the presidency by enacting minority-vote-thwarting voter ID laws in your state … and failed.
The GOP is no longer a party of ideas, but a party of tactics. President Reagan may have had some very bad ideas, but they were ideas, not electoral trickery.
Supply side economics was a bad idea, but it was an idea that won the hearts and minds of enough of the electorate to entice them to go to the voting booth and actually pull the lever for him. Reagan was a man of deep convictions and firmly held beliefs, and he was able to transmit these beliefs to the electorate with a rhetorical style that had been largely missing in presidential politics for 20 years. It was his passion for his ideas that propelled enough people to the polls for him to win—twice.
Now, some will say that Barack Obama won his first election because of a soaring rhetorical style, not ideas, since ‘Hope’ and ‘Change’ aren’t ideas, they’re slogans. Those are people—mostly Republicans—who not only weren’t paying attention to what he was actually saying, but weren’t paying attention to what was happening in the country all around them … actual change. Change in the attitude a majority of Americans had about gay rights. Change in attitude about our unsustainable health care system. Change in attitude about how we enter into and carry out wars.
And while the country was changing, the Republicans dug into their roster of candidates and put forth a man who had long since lost his relevancy. His ideas were antiquated and his positions untenable. People no longer wanted to discriminate against gays in our military or in marriage, and they sure didn’t want to go to war with Iran, so without any ideas that spoke to modern America, John McCain lost his last shot at the presidency.
This could have been a great opportunity for the Grand Old Party to take stock—to look inward and see how divergent their ideas are from those of actual (not the ones they claim) mainstream America—and revamp their policies to win the hearts and minds of the changing electorate.
But that would have been too difficult. Easier was the ability to take advantage of their majorities in several key states to coordinate a scheme to suppress a substantial block of what they believed would be reliably democratic voters. And instead of new ideas to attract those voters, what Republicans offered up was an uncanny number of Republican-led states enacting restrictions on voting rights that were glaringly transparent in being aimed at that very demographic.
Prominent and mostly respected former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell had this to say on the Jan. 13 episode of “Meet the Press”:
The country is changing demographically. And if the Republican Party does not change along with that demographic, they’re going to be in trouble. And so, when we see that in one more generation, the minorities of America, African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans will be the majority of the country, you can’t go around saying we don’t want to have a solid immigration policy. We’re going to dismiss the 47 percent. We are going to make it hard for these minorities to vote as they did in the last election. What did that produce? The court struck most of that down and most importantly, it caused people to turn out and stand in line because these Republicans were trying to keep us from voting.
With the leader of the Republican Party endorsing rigging presidential elections in their party’s favor, and legislators actually following through with introducing such bills, it’s clear that they not only haven’t learned from their recent loss, but they have no intention of listening to the clear warnings from one of their own.
I’d suggest celebrating their impending, inevitable demise once and for all, except that the consequences of them actually being successful this time, with a law we can’t overcome merely by showing up in increasing numbers and proving our determination by waiting however long necessary to vote, weren’t so dire.
Jill Klausen has 11 years of political consulting experience, and has worked with many Senators and Representatives including Xavier Becerra, Patrick Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, and John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. She’s also done field work for state and local candidates, and was a delegate to the California Democratic Party from 2010 to 2011. In addition to writing for Addicting Info, Jill owns and operates a Copy Editing consulting firm, and is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Winning Words Project; a site dedicated to formulating winning progressive messaging campaigns. Follow Jill on Twitter @jillwklausen