Saturday, January 26, 2013

Charles M. Blow 
2012 Election map for Obama/Biden

You know how on election night you look at that map of the United States and you think, wow the Republicans have got the whole country wrapped up--there's just so much RED on that screen?  But, of course, most of what the Republicans control is just empty desert, prairie, or swamp--aren't many people actually living in those red states, those massive states like Montana, Idaho and Wyoming and the Dakotas, pretty empty spaces there. 

So, the Republicans must have awaken on November 7 and said the same thing to themselves--if only we could win elections by geography, by land mass rather than by people. 

So, here's what they came up with:  Rather than awarding electoral votes to the presidential candidate who has the most people voting for him, we'll award the state to the candidate with the most Congressional districts voting for him.

That way Mr. Obama would have lost Michigan, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. In all those states, Mr. Obama won precious few districts but he won the popular vote.
So, let's just count districts.

The breakdown looks like this:
Michigan:  (16 electoral votes) Obama won only 5/14 districts but won the popular vote by 449,313. 
Ohio:  (18 votes) Obama won 4/16 districts but won the popular vote by 166,241
Virginia:  (13 votes) Obama won 4/11 districts but won the popular vote by 149,298
Wisconsin: (10 votes) Obama won 3/8 districts but won the popular vote by 213,419.

How could he lose so many districts but win each of these states in popular votes actually cast? The districts he did win were heavily populated cities; the districts he lost had mostly cows or birds but few people living there.

So, the Republicans have come up with a new plan. Don't count people any more. Count districts. That's much more fair, don't you think? No, don't think. That's part of the problem, part of why we keep losing these elections.

Charles Blow, who writes a political column for the New York Times, which is very heavy on numbers and charts and graphs lays all this out, and concludes, in his very understated way, the Republicans are trying to "chip away" at democracy by this sort of manipulation of the electoral college.

Chip away? 

Our Constitution, when it apportioned representation for Congressional seats granted so many seats for each voting white male in each state, and also gave credit to each state for 3/5 of a person to account for the "other persons,"  you know, slaves. 

So, there is precedent for this sort of funky counting in our Constitution.

"Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons."

It is the genius of the Republican party, having failed at voter intimidation, trying to prevent people from casting ballots this last time around--which only got them a legion of really angry people waiting on line for 6 hours in Florida to vote against them--so now they figure, not necessary. We can simply stop counting people and start counting something else. Square miles, maybe.  Land mass. Cows. Sheep. Give us credit for 3/5 of all the sheep owned by Republicans and throw in the Congressional districts we Gerrymandered and, well, why bother to vote at all? Just give us the election from now on. We won't bother you. We'll just go back into our gated communities on off shore islands, not pay taxes but we will buy stocks and just leave us in control of the government so we can cut taxes and keep up defense spending, because, you know, we know what's best for you.

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