Friday, January 25, 2013

Nothing Ever Changes

After the election in November, we saw glimmers of hope for the GOP. Despite my liberal leanings, I really do want the GOP to be a viable party that has a decent chance of winning fairly. Our two party system has a lot of problems, but one of the greatest benefits is it requires compromise, negotiation, and intelligent debate.

Unfortunately, that's not what we have right now. The Republican congress has made it their priority to prevent Obama and the democrats from getting anything done. It's gotten so bad that McConnell even filibustered his own bill.

And to the very end, they believed they were winning. The addition of the Rasmussen Poll to the mix eliminated any chance of reality splashing them with water.

Then the election happened. Reality became undeniable. Even then, they still tried to deny it. Watching Karl Rove speed through the first 4 stages of grief in 8 minutes after Ohio was called was priceless. Bill O'Rielly lamented the loss of the white establishment.

But we also saw glimmers of hope. Republicans started blaming the far right (correctly) for losing them the election. Bobby Jindal called for change in the party (without being specific but hey). Republican leaders have talked a lot about reaching out to Hispanic voters and addressing their issues.

More recently, some phoenixes have started to emerge from the ashes of November 7th. Chris Christie is my favorite, breaking the unspoken taboo of criticizing the GOP from within over the outrageous way the lame duck congress handled Hurricane Sandy. I hope that Christie and those like him take over the party within the next 4 years. While I fundamentally disagree with him on some issues, he is at least willing to talk about it and have a reasonable discussion. That is exactly what we need now.

I watched all of this unfold with hope and anticipation of a time when congress's approval ratings soared into the double digits.

But then I read this article from Huffington Post.
On Wednesday, Virginia's Republican-controlled legislature became one of the first to advance a bill that would allocate electoral votes by congressional district. Last week, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus endorsed pushing through similar proposals in other states with Republican legislative majorities. 
The strategy would have states alter the way they translate individual votes into electors -- thereby giving Republican candidates an advantage. Had the 2012 election been apportioned in every state according to these new Republican plans, Romney would have led Obama by at least 11 electoral votes. 
Nothing has changed. Republican strategists have seem to have looked at how bad the election turned out for them and said "Hey, that's not right! Our guy was supposed to win in a landslide, but he lost big. The election system must be flawed and liberally biased. Let's fix that!"

Here's how the new strategy works. In states that Obama won (specifically Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, and Wisconsin) Republicans in the state legislature are proposing the removal of a winner takes all electoral college, adopting the Maine/Nebraska model of proportional distribution. The trick is because they are only doing it in large Democratic states, combined with redistricting votes are only moving away from the Democrats. This gives voice to Republicans in Democratic majority states a more substantial vote but leaves Democrats in red states without the same consideration.

Here's the actual election result: (Obama 50.5% to Romney 48.0% of popular vote)

Here's how the election would have looked under the proposed redistricting:

The winner takes all system is broken and should be replaced, but moving to a system that is intentionally designed to give one party an advantage through manipulation of an archaic election scheme is not a step forward.

An what's more, the solution to losing a popular election is not to rig the vote next time. The solution is to become more popular. 

I really want to like the GOP. In fact, I am a registered Republican. But I cannot abide by, much less identify with, a party that stoops to these tactics again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again.

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