Sunday, October 28, 2012

Should GOP Champion Proportional Electoral Votes?

Nebraska Republicans insist on winner-take-all. The National Council of Censors have me wondering if that's bad strategy for Republicans.

The Censors sponsored a forum on the electoral college and called for the nation to go back to the system intended by the founders: proportional electoral votes in each state, not winner-take-all.

The Censors argue that the evolution of winner-take-all has reduced meaningful political activity in presidential campaigns to a handful of states based on two factors: 1) How many electoral votes are in play? and 2) How balanced is the party competition? The more electoral votes your state has and the more closely balanced the parties are, the more attention you will get.

The latter is the real clincher. If the perception is that one of the two parties is dominant in your state, then you won't see either campaign. Why waste resources when the outcome, and all of your electoral votes, already are locked up?

Proportional electoral voting would change the dynamics.

California has 55 electoral votes, 62% more than #2 Texas with 34. Neither major party nominee spends resources in CA because it is considered a lock for the Democrat.

In 2008, in round numbers, Barack Obama got 8 million votes and 60% of the vote, while John McCain got 5 million votes and 40% of the vote. Obama of course got all 55 electoral votes.

Imagine if the electoral votes were proportional. McCain would have won 20-some CA electoral votes.

New York's 29 electoral votes are considered a lock for the Democrat. In a proportional system, a Republican might get a dozen or so NY electoral votes.

It means the GOP would surrender its lock on Texas, but states like Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and others that have significant Republican voting blocs could yield dozens of electoral votes for the Republican presidential candidate.

The Nebraska Republican Party considers it heresy to advocate proportional representation because of the possibility of losing the closely contested 2nd District electoral vote, as happened in 2008. As a 2nd District resident I hate the idea of losing that vote, but I would put that up for grabs in return for picking up a couple dozen CA electoral votes.

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