Monday, January 28, 2013
The conservative's latest election-rigging proposal
Nate Silver has written how the Republican's latest favorite election-rigging tactic would go. Basically, it would accomplish what they want: a conservative "majority".
The system that's being proposed in places like Pennsylvania an Virginia would award Electoral College votes to a proportional system, instead of "winner take all". What that means is that rural areas, which tend to lean Republican, would outweigh urban areas (which tend to lean Democratic). So the distorted but viable "the winner is the one with most number of votes" would become "the winner is the one who gains the most *rural election districts* - regardless of the number of votes cast or who gained the most votes". Now add into that the overtly partisan gerrymandering most (all?) Republican state legislatures have indulged in - and you end up with one party rule. A *minority* party rule!
America would be, in effect, controlled by a small band of right wing and religious extremists.
That's not hyperbole, that's actually what would happen. Here's why: the conservative legislatures have gerrymandered their states to an appalling degree. They have rigged their states to ensure that most of the districts are safely Republican, or right or conservative. As a result, the main challenge for a United States Congresscritter is not someone from the opposing party. It is someone more extreme in their own party - the infamous "primary challenger". Extreme candidates get funded, even as the Tea Party fades in prominence (having outlived its astroturfed "usefulness"). But pro-business, Christianist (not Christian, but Christianist - it's the blending of religion with (right wing) politics) are very well funded; the funding for any Republican House member who works with Democrats to pass laws, etc is threatened with very real promises of a challenger and the pulling of any funding for them. It's happened far too often to House and Senate members for it be considered an idle threat - it's very a real aspect of contemporary conservatism.) As a result, the government wouldn't be "of the people, by the people, for the people" - it would be "of the people, by the people, for the elites and special interests".
(Awarding Electoral College votes on a strictly per-vote proportional basis would be fairer than the proposed "solution".)
It's a bad idea all round. Which is why so many conservatives are looking into it, and trying to portray it as "representative". It isn't, and never can be.