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Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:25 PM

The Anti-Democratic Party. Part I: Needing to change the rules

Ultimately there are three reasons why anyone might propose changing how Americans elect our government(s); to make the process more or less fair, to make the process more or less inclusive, and/or to make the process more or less likely to deliver specific outcomes. Firm believers in the concept of democracy consistently seek elections that are as fair as possible, and as inclusive as possible, believing that is the best way to ensure results that best reflect the will of the American people. That goal after all reflects the heart and soul of democracy, and is what distinguishes it from other less egalitarian forms of government. That goal is not embraced by the Republican Party.

Republican’s newest election ploy involves changing how electoral votes are awarded to Presidential candidates, to be based largely on results inside of Congressional Districts, but it is only the most recent addition to their arsenal of initiatives to make elections less fair, less inclusive, and more likely to result in a specific result. That result of course is the election of more Republicans. The trial balloons Republicans have floated for their proposed changes have taken some hits but by no means have they all been shot down. While this “reform” effort needs more exposing for exactly what it is, a way to game election results, it can’t be viewed in a vacuum. It is part of a bigger picture that stretches back at least 50 years. Part Two will focus on a short historical review.

Though Republicans claim their current electoral vote reallocation scheme is meant to increase fairness that quickly fails the quack test. If it looks like rigging an election, if it sounds like rigging an election; Quack Quack, none should duck the logical conclusion. There are 24 States with Republican Governors and functional Republican control of the State legislatures. Prominent Republicans in six of them either called for considering or actually introduced legislation changing how those States reward their electoral votes. By some fluke coincidence those six are the only States controlled by Republicans where Barack Obama won the election in 2012, Under the “reform” plans Republicans want considered Mitt Romney would have reaped the majority of electoral votes awarded by those six states, instead of zero under the system actually used.

There is no such push for that type of reform in North Carolina though, which Republicans also control but where Mitt Romney eked out a small popular vote victory. Democrats won a majority of the Congressional Districts inside North Carolina. Of the States Republicans now control fully, eleven include Districts that elected Democrats to Congress 2012. Suffice it to say there is no new movement afoot within any State won by Romney to change how electoral votes are divided.

Even if in one fell swoop every state simultaneously changed how they allocate electorate votes to the manner endorsed by the Republican National Chairman that change would still deliver a decidedly partisan advantage to Republicans. Under such a system Mitt Romney would have defeated Barack Obama for President despite losing the popular vote by over 5 million voters. So much for respecting the will of the majority, if “reforms” are advanced that would knowingly and blatantly fly in the face of it.

Despite Democrats cumulatively winning over a million more votes for Congress than did Republicans, Republicans emerged from the 2012 elections with a clear majority in the House of Representatives because of how skillfully Republican controlled legislatures gerrymandered Congressional Districts to thwart overall majority rule. That is how, if Republican advocated changes had been in effect last November, Mitt Romney would ascended to the Presidency. That is why Republicans are advocating for those changes now, democracy be damned. This is not an isolated Republican outbreak of anti-democratic sentiments though; history bears witness to that...

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