The plot to give President Obama no chance in 2012

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The plot to give President Obama no chance in 2012

Postby Faramond » Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:51 pm

Pennsylvania Elector Change Proposed

Commentary

I can only imagine the outrage that this plan will provoke. Wisconsin level outrage, perhaps. What are some synonyms for "evil"? :P

Such an act in PA and other states might spur adoption of the National Popular Vote Compact in other states to get closer to the 270 mark where the presidential election is decided by the popular vote. I doubt it would happen in time for the 2012 election, though. If Obama did lose the election due to strange electoral vote splitting in PA and MI even though he got 52% of the vote or so, then I think there would be a lot more motivated support behind eliminating the electoral college. I think this kind of plan that the GOP in PA is cooking up could only work once.

I think it would be better for all states to have the same process for assigning their electoral votes. Awarding EVs by district would be a good method in all the states if so many of these things weren't Gerrymandered. Going by popular vote may well be the best method, though an even better method would be to allow runoff voting and enfore a majority needed rule for electing the president.
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Postby Cenedril_Gildinaur » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:04 pm

I actually prefer the Maine system (by congressional district with 2 at large) and don't like the National Popular Vote system.

Now any and every system will have flaws and benefits compared to other systems. So what will you say about this plot if Pennsylvania actually goes majority Republican and Obama elected because he got part of the Pennsylvania electoral vote? Will it still be an anti-Obama plot?
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Postby Faramond » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:54 pm

So what will you say about this plot if Pennsylvania actually goes majority Republican and Obama elected because he got part of the Pennsylvania electoral vote? Will it still be an anti-Obama plot?


Then I will say the plot backfired badly, CG.

But if the Republican candidate wins the vote in PA it is very likely he will be on his way to a landslide victory where losing out on a few votes from PA will make no difference. The scenario you outline is possible but very improbable.

What might happen in 2016 or later is another matter. Then this plan might more realistically hurt the Republicans, because we don't know what the political landscape will look like that far out. Something the Republicans in PA might want to consider.

There are good arguments to be made for awarding votes by Congressional District rather than by entire state. I would like this better if the districts weren't gerrymandered and if all states used this method. Given the political realities it is hard to ignore the consequence that this makes it much harder for Obama to win. I think it is accurate to call this a plot to make it harder for Obama to win, since that is what would happen and they know it.
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Postby Dave_LF » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:39 pm

This is just the usual political games; no comparison to what they're doing in WI and MI.
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Postby Cenedril_Gildinaur » Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:34 pm

Faramond wrote:
So what will you say about this plot if Pennsylvania actually goes majority Republican and Obama elected because he got part of the Pennsylvania electoral vote? Will it still be an anti-Obama plot?


Then I will say the plot backfired badly, CG.


So, if it means Obama loses then that's proof it is an anti-Obama plot, but if Obama wins then that's proof it is an anti-Obama plot.

What would qualify as proof that it isn't an anti-Obama plot? A perfet tie?
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Postby Sassyfriend » Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:05 pm

What are you guys talking about?
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Postby Nadreck_of_Palain7 » Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:36 pm

I dislike the Electoral College. Why should one voter count for more than another?

I would not mind the some sort of proportional system if it was done in every state. That would more likely have the same result as the popular vote. But doing it in some states and not in others, and using gerrymandered districts, can be used to game the system. What would happen if 2 or 3 elections in a row were won by the candidate with fewer popular votes?

The common argument for the Electoral College is that it makes the candidates pay more attention to small states that otherwise might be ignored. But in actual practice, the candidates often pay little attention to large states with the current system. In recent presidential elections, how much attention has been paid to states like Texas or California? One candidate had a big lead, so both candidates spent little time in these large states. The swing states get disproportionate attention. If popular vote is used, gaining one percent of the vote in a state where you are behind 40% to 60% is just as valuable as gaining one percent where it is 50% to 50%. So I think campaigning would be much more even throughout the whole country.
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Postby Faramond » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:01 pm

Cenedril_Gildinaur wrote:
Faramond wrote:
So what will you say about this plot if Pennsylvania actually goes majority Republican and Obama elected because he got part of the Pennsylvania electoral vote? Will it still be an anti-Obama plot?


Then I will say the plot backfired badly, CG.


So, if it means Obama loses then that's proof it is an anti-Obama plot, but if Obama wins then that's proof it is an anti-Obama plot.

What would qualify as proof that it isn't an anti-Obama plot? A perfet tie?


I suggest you judge motives based on what people perceive as likely right now rather than what the result in the future is. Any political scientist will tell you that splitting Pennsylvania's votes in this way makes it more likely that Obama will be defeated next year. The motive for acting is based on what people know or think more likely right now, not based on what actually happens in the future. Obama winning or losing next year is proof of nothing.

The Republicans in PA know how this affects Obama's chances. There are, of course, also non-political reasons one might support this legislation, but as a rule politicians always look for their own or their own party's political gain first. Why is this a rule? Because the ones who don't follow this rule tend not to be elected or re-elected. There are idealists who will not act first out of a need for political gain, but they are almost always beat by those who will act first for political gain.
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Postby Faramond » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:04 pm

Dave_LF wrote:This is just the usual political games; no comparison to what they're doing in WI and MI.


I think you fail to understand how devastating this would be to Obama's chances of re-election if passed, especially if something similar happened in MI.
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Postby Dave_LF » Thu Sep 15, 2011 5:40 am

I do understand how devastating it could be to Obama's chances, but working the system to win elections is not evil in the way that tearing down unions and abandoning the poor is.
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Postby Voronwe_the_Faithful » Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:09 am

You ain't seen nothing yet in terms of "abandoning the poor" if this scheme succeeds, Dave.
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Postby Dave_LF » Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:57 am

Yet there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to partition your state's electoral votes, even if you're doing it specifically to help your party win an election.
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Postby TheEllipticalDisillusion » Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:08 am

Dave_LF wrote:Yet there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to partition your state's electoral votes, even if you're doing it specifically to help your party win an election.


Quite right. But if feels like a kick in the cajones to those of who wish to see fair elections... like those things our country keeps clamoring about in other people's countries.
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Postby Cerin » Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:44 am

Dave_LF wrote:Yet there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to partition your state's electoral votes, even if you're doing it specifically to help your party win an election.

I think it is wrong to do it in order to specifically arrange a certain result; in that case, it seems similar to passing voter laws so as to keep certain constituencies from voting, and to gerrymandering, both of which practices I object to.

On principle, I think any move that brings us closer to electing Presidents by popular vote is desirable. We are moving in that direction; I believe 3/4 of the number of states necessary have passed popular vote legislation. I think I agree with Nadreck, though, that as long as we maintain any connection to the electoral college, all states should use the same method for partitioning the electoral vote. We really need more uniformity across the board in the way we run elections in this country. It's a real mess as it stands now.
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Postby Voronwe_the_Faithful » Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:51 am

I agree. And if Cerin and I agree on something, it must be true!

:wink:
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Postby Frelga » Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:47 pm

And I agree with both of you. This is all part of the same push to concentrate the power and prevent those who disagree from successfully challenging it through elections. The less the chance that the opposing party will be able to win the next election, the easier it is to push through unpopular policies and the harder to repeal disastrous decisions.

And at the far end of that road lies the day when elections no longer matter and the disenfranchised turn to other means of balancing power. I hope we never get there.
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Postby TheEllipticalDisillusion » Thu Sep 15, 2011 2:07 pm

Frelga wrote:And I agree with both of you. This is all part of the same push to concentrate the power and prevent those who disagree from successfully challenging it through elections. The less the chance that the opposing party will be able to win the next election, the easier it is to push through unpopular policies and the harder to repeal disastrous decisions.

And at the far end of that road lies the day when elections no longer matter and the disenfranchised turn to other means of balancing power. I hope we never get there.


Concentrating power is exactly why these practices and policies should be abolished. I wouldn't have a problem with this country so long as I knew we were participating in a fair game. Unfortunately, that game is clearly to make sure those in power remain in power, while those with the wealth continue to control the wealth. Everyone else seems to be sheep. Cannon fodder.
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Postby Faramond » Fri Sep 16, 2011 7:44 am

Pennsylvania Plan Could Backfire on GOP

I was waiting for Nate Silver to weigh in on this. Unfortunately he doesn't run any simulations on the PA plan going in to effect, but maybe it is too early for that.

One of his points is that this plan could backfire on the GOP. Which is true, and may be a point some of the more enthusiastic Republicans in PA may be overlooking. However the plan would still make it more likely that Obama would lose, as Silver states:

Over all, somewhat more of these scenarios are likely to work for rather than against Republicans. That’s because of the way Pennsylvania’s congressional districts are drawn, and because Pennsylvania has historically been slightly Democratic-leaning relative to the rest of the country.

It's hard to come up with any scenarios in which splitting Michigan's electoral votes in this way hurts the GOP chances, however.

His last three points are all big picture objections that I think are all true and may well end up killing this plan in PA. This kind of plan might help the Republicans win an election but it would hurt them politically down the road. Now someone needs to convince the governor of PA that this is true.
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