Earlier this month, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) proposed rigging the 2012 presidential election for the Republican candidate by effectively giving away as many as a dozen of the blue state’s electoral votes to that candidate. Under Corbett’s scheme, each of the state’s 18 congressional districts will allocate one electoral vote during the 2012 election, rather than having the state’s entire electoral vote go to the overall winner of the state. Because the GOP will also gerrymander these districts ensure that up to 12 of them are solidly Republican, the purpose of Corbett’s plan’s is to ensure that President Obama will get less electoral votes than his challenger even if he wins the state as a whole.
Yesterday, however, nearly every single Republican member of Congress from Pennsylvania met with state lawmakers to oppose Corbett’s vote rigging scheme — warning that it could potentially endanger their own ability to hold their seats. According to the subscription-only site Capitolwire:
Most of the state’s Republican congressional delegation met with top state House and Senate leaders backing colleagues who want to sideline a pair of controversial bills: a Senate-proposed electoral college change bill, and a mandate that Pennsylvanians show photo ID before voting.Eleven members of the state’s 12-member congressional Republican delegation met with Senate leaders this afternoon . . . . The congressmen also voiced opposition in both meetings to Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi’s proposal to split up the state’s 20 electoral votes by congressional district, in 2012. Pileggi, R-Delaware, heard out comments against his proposal from U.S. Reps. Bill Shuster, R-Blair, Tim Murphy, R-Allegheny, Jim Gerlach, R-Chester, Charlie Dent, R-Lehigh and Meehan.
All stressed the negative impact this could have by making swing U.S. House districts more competitive, and more expensive.
The fact that several Republican lawmakers objected to the Pennsylvania GOP’s proposed voter ID law is a particularly interesting wrinkle in this drama. Voter ID laws, which disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of poor, minority and student voters, have been the centerpiece of the Republican Party’s war on voting — an effort which also includes making it harder to register to vote and taking away opportunities to vote early.
As it turns out, however, Republican members of Congress in Pennsylvania care a whole lot less about mucking with the rules to benefit the GOP as a whole than they do about keeping the same rules in place that allowed them to get elected in the first place.