President Obama won Pennsylvania by more than 10 percentage points in 2008, and Democrats have won the state in every single presidential election for the last two decades. In a close election, it is difficult to draw an electoral map that sends a Democrat to the White House without that Democrat winning all of Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes. So the state’s GOP Gov. Tom Corbett has a simple plan — give away nearly half of the state’s electoral vote to the Republican presidential candidate for free:
Gov. Tom Corbett and state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi are proposing that the state divide up its Electoral College votes according to which candidates carried each Congressional district, plus two votes for the statewide winner. The system is used by Maine — which, despite the system, has never actually split its four electoral votes — and by Nebraska, which gave one of its five votes to Barack Obama in 2008. [...]
Had this proposed system been in place in 2008, when Obama won the state by a ten-point margin, he in fact would have only taken 11 out of the state’s 21 electoral votes at the time — due to a combination of past Republican-led redistricting efforts to maximize their district strength, and Obama’s votes being especially concentrated within urban areas.
Let’s be clear, the Electoral College is a terrible idea. It has, on three occasions, allowed the loser of the national popular vote to enter the White House. It forces presidential candidates to pander to swing states and ignore the needs of the vast majority of the nation. Without the Electoral College, Bush v. Gore would never have happened and former President-elect Al Gore would have succeeded Bill Clinton. If the entire nation were to adopt Corbett’s plan of doling out electoral votes by congressional district, it would eliminate many of the problems caused by our current system.
But when a major blue state’s Republican leadership adopts this kind of reform piecemeal, it is nothing less than an attempt to rig the election. One hundred percent of Texas’ electoral votes will still go to the Republican, but that same Republican will be guaranteed a share of Pennsylvania’s historically blue electors under Corbett’s plan.
And Corbett’s electoral giveaway to the GOP is merely the most audacious prong of a nationwide GOP strategy to steal democracy away from the American people. Numerous GOP state legislatures rammed through “voter ID” laws, which disenfranchise thousands of elderly, disabled, and low-income voters. Other states have erected new barriers to voter registration or reduced early voting opportunities — both of which make it more difficult for working class Americans to vote. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) gutted his state’s public financing system for candidates to pay for a voter disenfranchisement law. A 5-4 Supreme Court decision just declared laws enabling publicly financed candidates to defend themselves against unlimited corporate attack ads unconstitutional.
Because in the GOP’s America, We the People can elect anyone we want, so long as they are a Republican.