Friday, August 17, 2007


Just say no to electoral college "reform"

In case you haven't heard, activists with ties to the GOP want to change the way California awards its electoral votes. California now allots all of its 55 electoral votes to the statewide winner in presidential elections, a practice followed in most states.

A proposed ballot initiative, The Presidential Election Reform Act, calls for awarding two electoral votes to the statewide winner in California, with the rest allocated according to results in each congressional district. Only Maine and Nebraska currently allocate their electoral votes by congressional district.

California has voted Democratic in every election since 1992. If the Presidential Election Reform Act is approved by voters next June, however, the Republican presidential candidate could win 20 or more electoral votes in 2008. (Four years ago, President Bush carried 22 congressional districts in California while losing statewide by double-digits.)

Democrats, naturally, are up in arms at the prospect of not being able to pencil in California's 55 electoral votes before the election takes place. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer told the Associated Press that the proposal is a "power grab" orchestrated by Republicans "to keep the presidency in Republican control."

Democrats were curiously silent when North Carolina's Democratic-controlled legislature approved a measure to abandon its winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes a few weeks back. That state, though, is one Republicans have carried in every presidential election since 1980. Thus, the Democratic legislature, which was egged on by the Democratic governor, was doing the "people's business" when it voted to ensure that Democrats pick up a couple of electoral votes in the Tar Heel State.

As most Creeder Readers know, I'm agin' efforts to tinker with the electoral college. However, if all states began to proportionally allot their electoral votes, I'd be all for it. Why? Republicans would have a lock on the electoral college that Democrats would find impossible to pick. Indeed, if such a sytem had been in place in all 50 states in 2000 and 2004, President Bush's margin of victory in the electoral college would have been even greater. Check out the county-by-county map from 2004 if you don't believe me (red counties, of course, are counties carried by Bush):

Since it would be well nigh impossible for a proportional system to be implemented nationwide, I just cannot bring myself to support the California ballot initiative. The last thing we need is for California to set a precedent and have a dozen states follow suit, turning the electoral college into a patchwork of winner-take-all and proportional systems. That'd make the electoral college something very different from what the Founding Fathers envisioned: A check on the unreasonable and fleeting passion of the masses.

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?