Republicans in other states are wavering, but not our die-hard right wingers
By Ian Millhiser
Feb 4, 2013 – Last month, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus called up “states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red” to rig future presidential elections by changing the way electoral votes are allocated.
Under Priebus’ proposal, blue states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania would stop awarding electoral votes to the winner of the state as a whole, and instead would award them one-by-one to the winner of each congressional district. Meanwhile, red states would continue to award 100 percent of their electors to the Republican. This plan appears to have lost steam, however, as several top Republicans in key states announced they will not support it.
Even as Republicans in key states such as Michigan, Ohio, Florida and Virginia came out against this election-rigging plan, however, Pennsylvania Republicans have been eerily quite. We now know why. According to the New Castle News a local paper in western Pennsylvania, Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R) will introduce legislation this month that will effectively give away a large chuck of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes to the Republican presidential candidate, regardless of who wins the state as a whole.
How This Election-Rigging Plan Works
Unlike the plan Priebus backs, the New Republican Plan would not tie electoral votes to congressional districts. Instead, it would award the overwhelming majority of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes proportionally according to the popular vote, with two additional electoral votes going to the winner of the state as a whole. If the New Republican Plan had been in effect in 2012, Mitt Romney would have received 8 of Pennsylvania’ 20 electoral votes, despite losing the state by a substantial margin.
The problem with the New Republican Plan is that it would only be enacted in blue states such as Pennsylvania — the Democratic candidate for presidential won Pennsylvania in every single election for the past two decades — while red states would continue to award all of their electoral votes to the Republican. Thus, the plan gives away Democratic votes to the Republican for free, while letting the Republican candidate keep all the votes they earn legitimately in other states:
Why Republicans Are Likely To Back This Election-Rigging Plan
In 2011, both Pileggi and Gov. Tom Corbett (R-PA) backed the original Republican Plan to rig the presidential election by tying electoral votes to congressional districts. The plan died, however, after most of Pennsylvania’s Republican U.S. House members rebelled against it. The problem with the original election-rigging plan, from their perspective, is that it would have encouraged the Obama campaign to move resources out of safe Democratic districts and into districts currently represented by Republican U.S. Representatives. In other words, the Republican lawmakers feared that tying the presidential race so closely to congressional districts could cost some of them their own jobs.
The New Republican Plan, by contrast seems designed to allay this fear among Republican U.S. Representatives by keeping the presidential race entirely separate from congressional districts — thus allowing Republicans to steal away Democratic electoral votes without risking Republican U.S. House seats.
Republicans Could Ram Their New Election-Rigging Plan Through In Just Four Days
In an interview with ThinkProgress, state Rep. Mike Sturla (D-PA), the Democratic Policy Committee Chairman in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, explained just how quickly this plan could become law if Republicans decide to ram it through before opposition to the plan can fully mobilize. In short, if Pileggi introduces the plan on a Monday, Republican lawmakers could have it on Corbett’s desk by Thursday:
They could have it out of the House in three days and it could go over to the Senate and they could have it out of there in three days and it could go to the governor’s office and he could sign it. . . . The Senate can suspend the rules and have it passed in less than 24 hours. [The House] has to have a 2/3s majority to suspend the rules so usually we can at least make them do the three days.
As Corbett supported rigging the 2012 election to place Mitt Romney in the White House, he is all but certain to sign this new plan to rig the Electoral College if he is given the opportunity to do so.