The Republican Effort to Steal Electoral Votes from Blue States

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Graphic via MSNBC

When reality began to disprove Republican ideas, instead of coming up with better ideas, conservatives created their own television news network to broadcast their "side" of reality, as if reality has "sides." When the neoconservative faction of the Republican Party wanted to invade, occupy and rebuild Iraq as a free market, oil-rich utopia, they fabricated evidence as a pretext for war. When they needed to ascertain information about terrorism, they engaged in the immoral, illegal act of torture. When voter demographics shifted and minorities and immigrants began to overwhelmingly favor the Democratic Party, Republicans disenfranchised those voters with nefarious plots like voter ID laws, voter purges, fewer voting machines at targeted precinct polling places and shortened early voting calendars. When the first African American presidential candidate was poised to win his party's nomination, the Republicans set about a campaign of disinformation and conspiracy theories in order to discredit him as an anti-white, Muslim terrorist, communist and, contradictorily, a Nazi fascist.

See a pattern? Whenever it's faced with a serious challenge to its seemingly dwindling power, the modern Republican Party cheats.

Such is the case with the Republican Party's newest plan to steal presidential elections.

Instead of improving their ground game or appealing to broader demographics to reinforce their dying and marginalized brand, Republican legislatures in at least four swing states are, with the support of Reince Priebus and the RNC, attempting to rewrite the rules for how each state's electoral votes are distributed to the presidential candidates.

My friend and podcast partner, Chez Pazienza, said on our show last week that the Republicans are using the James T. Kirk's Kobayashi Maru trick. When Captain Kirk was a cadet at Starfleet Academy, he, like all cadets, had to face the Kobayashi Maru test, which was designed to be a no-win challenge. So in order to ace the test, Kirk cheated by re-programming the simulation so he could be the only student to ever win. Likewise, when faced with a situation in which they can't win, the Republicans aren't necessarily changing their message or revising their positions, they're simply re-programming the game.

As I'm sure you're aware, the current system gives all of a state's electoral votes to the winner of the state's popular vote: a winner-take-all system (not including Nebraska and Maine). In the new Republican plan, each congressional district would represent one electoral vote up for grabs. The presidential candidate who wins that district's popular vote would win the electoral vote there. In other words, no more winner-take-all. Each state would have multiple electoral votes available. In Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin and Michigan, the additional two electoral votes (the "at large" electors representing the state's two U.S. senators) would go to the candidate who wins the most congressional districts.

In the case of Pennsylvania, where legislators are considering these changes, the president would've only won 12 electoral votes instead of 20. In Virginia, the redistributed results would be strikingly different from the actual results: the president would've only received four electoral votes, while Mitt Romney would've effectively won the state, hauling down nine electoral votes.

Ultimately, they're attempting eliminate the Democratic swing-state advantage, based on the 2012 map, and turn those blue states into mostly red states, even though President Obama won the popular votes in each one. They say it's because rural voters tend to be overlooked by the campaigns and that too much focus is placed on larger towns and cities. Unsurprisingly, however, there aren't any plans to change the electoral vote distribution in red states like Texas or Georgia where evidently the rural vote doesn't seem to matter as much to there. Interesting how that works. Toss into the scam the Republican gerrymandering effort to redraw congressional districts so as to contain the maximum number of Republican voters, and this massive vote theft really takes shape.

Florida Republican House speaker Will Weatherford, who opposes the legislation, accurately described it this way: "To me, that’s like saying in a football game, 'We should have only three quarters, because we were winning after three quarters and they beat us in the fourth.' I don’t think we need to change the rules of the game, I think we need to get better."

So why didn't they do this before the 2012 election?

Probably because they thought Mitt Romney was going to win the election without any rigging of the electoral vote count. How do we know this? Michigan state representative Pete Lund said so: "It got no traction last year. There were people convinced Romney was going to win and this might take (electoral) votes from him."

This confession from Lund is on par with Mike Turzai famously admitting that Pennsylvania's voter ID law was designed to get Mitt Romney elected.

Once again, it's important to emphasize that nothing like this has ever been proposed by Democratic state lawmakers, therefore don't let any aloof contrarian hipster try to tell you that "both parties are the same." One party is actively trying to steal presidential elections through disenfranchisement and electoral vote rigging, while the other party is trying to win election through the usual means: campaigning and fundraising. It's also important to note here the importance of state and local politics. It's critical that activists focus their attention on both national and state issues. Day after day, state-level Republican lawmakers are quietly passing far-right malevolent laws while Democrats engage in schadenfreude over the 2012 election results -- delighting in observing the allegedly rudderless Republican Party. It's the Kobayashi Maru in real life, and the Republicans might just get away with it.

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