Republicans in control of Pennsylvania’s state legislature are considering a significant change to how that state awards its electoral votes in presidential elections:
Now, Pennsylvania, like most states, has a “winner take all” system, in which the winner of the statewide popular vote gets all the electoral votes; in 2008, Barack Obama won 55 percent of the state’s popular vote and 100 percent of its 21 electoral votes.
The proposed change would award the electoral votes based on the winner of each Congressional district. Redistricting, which is controlled by Republicans, will leave Pennsylvania with 18 districts next year, 12 Republican seats and 6 Democratic seats. The state will have 20 electoral votes, one for each of the 18 House districts plus two others for its senators.
Under the proposal, the candidate who wins the statewide popular vote would win the two others. If the change were in place next year, Mr. Obama, as the Democratic nominee, could win the popular vote and carry the six Democratic districts but end up with just 8 electoral votes, while the Republican nominee would take 12.
Bare knuckle politics is nothing new, but this seems a step too far. How could it possibly be palatable to even Republican Pennsylvania voters, not to mention the majority of citizens who vote for the Democrat, to have the popular vote winner in a presidential election not win the majority of the electoral votes? I can’t remember the last time I heard about a realistic effort to do something so anti-democratic.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Nothing about the Republican Party over the last 15 years at least hasn’t suggested anything less than a ruthless, uncompromising, and increasingly extreme organization.