“How could fairness be bad?” you might wonder. Consider, the fairness in question today is one brought to you by the spawn of Mayberry Machiavelli Karl Rove, soon-to-be jailbird (hopefully) Tom Delay, and other now disgraced Republican Congressional crooks.
Stealing an election through Florida, and likely another through Ohio wasn’t enough. Now Republicans are trying to rig the election game so they can win more “legally”, though far from justly.
I’d mentioned this subterfuge a few weeks ago, but then it died. Unfortunately, as with its evil kin, zombies and vampires, death doesn’t seem to be permanent. I’m discussing, of course, the Republican backed proposition to change the way California’s Electoral College votes are allocated.
Currently, all but two states follow the pattern of casting all their Electoral College votes (the number of Representatives they have in the House, plus two for the Senate) for the presidential candidate who carries their state. That’s why it’s possible to have more individual citizens, countrywide, vote for candidate A and still have candidate B win the election, because B won more Electoral College votes than A by carrying a juicier set of states. This whole absurd setup is a relic from a time when “common people” could not be trusted to elect their own leaders. It was set up at the same time as slaves were counted as 3/5 of a person.
What this Republican backed piece of treachery would do is make California’s Electoral College votes go to whoever wins a majority of popular, individual, votes in a particular Congressional district. Effectively, this would take almost 20 votes (with 270 needed to win the presidency) from the Democratic side and put them in the Republican column. On the surface, it seems to make sense. It seems “fair”. But, as usual, it’s not that simple.
If this is such a great idea, why not apply it to Texas, Florida, and other Republican leaning states? Naturally, this won’t be advocated by our Republican purveyors of faux-fairness because it would work in reverse. A Democratic Party presidential candidate would then get Electoral College votes that would otherwise have gone to the Republican. We can’t have that, you see.
After some funny business with out of state money contributed to this effort, organizers backed out and the whole project seemed to fizzle. Then, about two weeks ago, it was reanimated. They hope to gather enough signatures in time to put this on the June election in California, which would then allow it to take effect in time for the November presidential election.
Meanwhile, some states have already passed, and California’s legislature is considering, a different solution to the Electoral College problem. A constitutional amendment eliminating this bit of 18th century foolishness is unlikely to pass since it gives the small-population states more leverage and they would of course vote against such a change. To get around this reality, the law being considered in California says that all of California’s electoral votes would go to the winner of the popular vote. This law, if passed, would go into effect as soon as enough other states pass equivalent laws to commit at least the 270 votes needed to win the presidency. Now that’s real fairness and sensible election law.
Weakening California’s say in the presidential election weakens the Armenian voice too. Why? Because we have enough votes in California to make a difference in which way the state goes.
So for those living in California, if someone approaches you chirping cheerily about making elections fairer and asking you to sign a petition, make sure it’s not this perversion of justice you’re being duped into helping get on the ballot. If it is, hoot-n-holler. Make a scene, lest others fall into this malevolent trap.