Tuesday, October 30, 2007

How do you get a Republican elected president when the majority of Americans vote for the Democrat?

(Besides getting your friends on the Supreme Court to stop all the votes from being counted.) You pay for a ballot measure in California that would result in up to 40% of our electoral college votes going to the Republican, which would virtually guarantee a Republican win.

I mentioned this possibility earlier this year when I wrote about the National Popular Vote but now it might actually happen. This ballot measure could get on the ballot in California next year and people might vote for it because they don't understand what it means.

The voters will be told that it's a more fair system because, instead of all our electoral votes going to one candidate, they would be split up according the votes in congressional districts. And on the surface that is more fair (although only slightly, because congressional districts are gerrymandered and don't accurately reflect the popular vote, either). But obviously it isn't fair because it means a Democratic state would be giving up a lot of electoral votes while Republican states keep all theirs. And Republicans should remember that it could happen in a Republican state, so they shouldn't be too thrilled about this. It's basically a way to make sure the election of the president has absolutely nothing to do with what the American people want.

The only way that would be fair would be if all the states did it at the same time. But, as I said, that would still be a mess because of the gerrymandering of congressional districts. The only real solution is the National Popular Vote. (But that's not the topic of this post.)

So how would such a ballot measure that would almost guarantee a Republican win actually pass in a state that votes Democratic? Two ways:

It will be sold as a "fairness in voting" measure, or something like that. People who don't understand the consequences or even how the electoral college works may think it does sound more fair. Independents who might vote Democratic much of the time but don't like living in a state that is solidly Democratic might think it sounds like a good idea because they might think it would make the state more independent. But, of course, it doesn't make the state more independent; it only makes it useful to the Republican party.

The other way it could pass is that old standby of the Republican party: low voter turnout. Republicans love low voter turnout because the majority of Americans are moderates who would lean to the left if they were forced to make a decision but most of those people don't care enough about the issues to actually vote. People on the extreme left and right are more likely to vote but there are more people on the extreme right than on the left (even though, as I've said, the majority of the Americans are moderates who lean left on many issues). So this is why Republicans love bad weather on election day: they know they can get out their radical voters and many moderates will stay home. (This is also why they put things like anti-gay measures on the ballot: most people, often including those backing the measures, don't care about the issue but Republicans know it will bring out the religious extremists in large numbers and they can use that skewed voter turnout to accomplish other, more important things. This is also why a few Republicans are opposed to the National Popular Vote: because it would increase voter turnout and that scares them.) In the case of this ballot measure, it won't end up on the primary ballot, when people will actually vote; it will end up on some weird midterm election that nobody will bother with. This will give a huge advantage to the minority Republicans in the state.

But before it gets on the ballot it needs signatures. It will probably get the signatures because getting signatures is no problem if you can pay for it. It has been demonstrated that people will sign petitions for anything. People collecting the signatures are getting paid for it and the ballot measures never sound like what they will actually do. So they'll get the signatures.

But still, DON'T SIGN THIS PETITION! If you are asked to sign something for "fairness in voting" or something similar, DO NOT SIGN IT! You will be signing to guarantee a Republican president in the next election. If you know people in California, tell them not to sign this petition.

Actually, it is a good idea to never sign petitions for ballot measures since they are usually bullshit. I'll get into my hatred of ballot measures and the mess they've made in California in another post. Until then, stay away from this petition and, when it does get on the ballot (and it will), make sure you go to the polls (even if it is inconvenient; even if it means missing part of American Idol) and vote against it!

Thank you!


BigAssBelle said...

this thing was smacked down once, and now it rears its ugly ass head again. it is maddening. the rethugs just got out from under a consent decree on voter intimidation and here we go again.

i've just finished armed madhouse, wherein greg palast has described how 2004 was stolen and it is terrifying. what they started in 2000, refined in 2004, will be full force in 2008.

i fear that we are going to have a republican president in 2008 and i really, really fear that the vast majority of americans will simply accept that it was the peoples' choice.

ruining california in this way will be sufficient, i fear, to affect the whole process. some days i think i couldn't hate anything more than i hate the republican party and its culture of corruption, manipulation, racism, and disenfranchisement of voters. it is despicable.

oh yeah! and did you catch the big expose last night on CNN? well, on Fox? no, of course not, on ABC, wasn't it? NBC? CBS? where's the expose on how our democracy is being stolen from us? where the fuck is it??????

eric3000 said...

I'm still hopeful California will be able to vote down this ballot measure and, if we can't, I hope it gets caught up in a protracted legal battle. But it's going to cost a lot of money fighting it; money that could have been spent on other things. What a waste.

Big Fella said...

"Actually, it is a good idea to never sign petitions for ballot measures since they are usually bullshit."

That is probably the best advice that you can give anyone, Eric. I hate seeing these on ballots, because I know, invariably, that reading their descriptions, I will still have no idea what the actual intent is behind them.

In terms of this fair voting, bull shit, that is what it is, a bull shit initiative foisted by Republican operatives.

The way the Constitution is written, the states, not the people elect the president. The only fair way to address this issue, is to amend the Constitution, so that the people elect the president, by having each person's vote count the same as everyone elses, a true election by popular vote.

eric3000 said...

Exactly, big fella! But the great thing is that we can accomplish it without amending the US constitution. The states have the right to award their electoral votes any way they choose; all we have to do is get the states to award their votes to the winner of the national popular vote and the problem is solved, leaving our "sacred" constitution intact.