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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Virginia State Senate Tries to Ensure no Democratic Presidential Candidate Will Ever Win Virginia Again

Posted by on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 1:51 PM

This is bullshit.

Virginia's Republican-ruled legislature has taken the first steps toward ending the state's winner-takes-all system of apportioning its 13 presidential electoral votes.

A Senate subcommittee recommended Sen. Bill Carrico's bill on Wednesday on a 3-3 party line vote.

His bill would apportion electors according to which presidential candidate carries each of the state's 11 congressional districts.

David Weigel at Slate points out the problem with this bill: It gives an unfair advantage to Virginia's rural congressional districts. In the 2012 election, Mitt Romney would have won nine of Virginia's electoral votes to Obama's four. This proposed system is anti-city, anti-Democrat, and anti-democratic.


Comments (21) RSS

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You could say the mirror of your comment about Texas - I imagine the Austin area would be blue at least
Posted by Tyro on January 24, 2013 at 1:08 AM · Report this
kk in seattle 20
This is not lying, or cheating, or stealing, or dirty tricks. It's all perfectly legal and above board. Folks, the Republicans play for keeps. They knew 2010 was a census year and they cranked up the heat and gave the Democrats a shellacking that is going to be exceedingly painful for years to come. Democrats just have to get off their fat lazy asses and compete at the State legislature level. They lost the Senate in Washington, of all places. How do you expect them to compete in Virginia. Get out the vote and win elections instead of crying about the rules. In other words, think like the Obama campaign and win even when the odds are overwhelmingly against you.
Posted by kk in seattle on January 23, 2013 at 9:45 PM · Report this
Good news. We need these dirty tricks to motivate Democrats to wake up and finally support a Democratic electoral process once and for all. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is 49% of the way towards delivering us a real democracy and if Democrats don't want to play a rigged game, they better get serious about creating a fair one.
Posted by LukeJoe on January 23, 2013 at 9:05 PM · Report this
NotSean 18
Congessional districts are gerrymandered.

Using them as a basis for electoral proportioning is a TERRIBLE idea.
Posted by NotSean on January 23, 2013 at 7:32 PM · Report this
The system is already rigged toward rural voters, with each state getting two bonus electoral votes just for being a state, regardless of whether they have a bajillion people like California, or three people, like Wyoming. Virginia's plan would just make things even worse.
Posted by NotYourStrawMan on January 23, 2013 at 4:49 PM · Report this
If Virginia had this system in 2000 we would have had President Gore.
Posted by seajake on January 23, 2013 at 3:16 PM · Report this
Because their platform is unappealing to a majority of voters, the only way Republicans can win national elections is to lie, cheat, and buy. Looks like the cheating part is already in full swing.
Posted by Keenan C on January 23, 2013 at 3:15 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 14
@ 11, the key word used by @ 6 (twice!) is "landslide." Besides, it wasn't until 2000 that we really got to understand what lengths the GOP will go in order to steal elections. It was too shocking to induce rioting.

Anyway, actions like Virginia's tend not to be terribly popular because the current system gives a lot of power to winner-take-all swing states. Virginians aren't going to be happy about diluting their own influence this way.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 23, 2013 at 3:15 PM · Report this
#10 You are right of course, and I've often wondered why dems are so reticent to play hardball. My conclusion, at least for now, is that democrats fundamentally believe in democracy, believe in playing 'nice' because they want to be inclusive, they want the system to work for everyone. Democracy is, as a system of government goes, fundamentally a liberal proposition (one man, one vote... very liberal idea when you think about it). Republicans (at least the current incarnation of it), on the other hand, don't really give a rat's ass about democracy, of being inclusive, of making the system work for everyone. No way. They have a plantation owners mentality about the natural order of things. If what they do fundamentally harms democratic institutions (like voting rights, or an independent judiciary, or regulations on business, or anything 'liberal'), their attitude is, so what? Let's break America and change the system to make it more corporate, more totalitarian, more conservative. They are not interested in playing nice, or being fair, or trying to create a more perfect union. They care about Money and Power. That is all. Everything else is noise, expendable. Might makes right to conservatives, always has, always will. Fundamentally conservatives are anti-democracy and anti-America. From their perspective, it is ok to lie, cheat, steal, whatever. Its all a means to an end, survival of the fittest. Democrats/liberals don't look at the world that way and because of it aren't willing to play dirty.
Posted by screed on January 23, 2013 at 3:12 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 12
@1 - Nebraska (and Maine, while we're at it) split their votes so rarely, and they decide the election so rarely that it's hardly even worth talking about. But now that a sizeable state like Virginia, which is actually pretty contestable these days, suggests doing it, it does kind of require some national attention.

@5 - Me, I'm a fan of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. It'll be a good long while before that even becomes a real issue, though.
Posted by MacCrocodile on January 23, 2013 at 2:41 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 11
@6, no one rioted when the supreme court chose George Bush so I wouldn't worry about anything happening in 2016
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on January 23, 2013 at 2:41 PM · Report this
Yes, unfair, but also yes, like the gerrymandered cong. districts, long lines at polling places, denial of rights to DC and puerto rico, and the filibuster.

GOP bad, no doubt. But also: GOP uses power in ways Democrats don't.

Democrats don't even seek to gain more power when they legitimately can, and should. They let the filibuster rule go unchanged. They don't complain to high heaven about the unfairness of no representation for DC! While it's unlikely complaining would ...change sure would stimulate the Democratic base to point out there's ongoign denial of voting rights to a largely African American population. Including many descendants of the folks who built the god damned capitol building under bondage.

They do not seek to get representation for puerto rico either.

If the democrats can't even change the filubuster rules, don't expect them to figure out how to deal with this kind of crap, the GOP simply outplays them as they seem to have more intense desires to win. By far.
Posted by use power, democrats! on January 23, 2013 at 2:31 PM · Report this
Catherwood 9
And of course, you certainly don't see states that reliably vote Republican doing the same thing -- they're going to KEEP the winner take all thing in the states they win, of course. Every time I'm amazed by the scumminess of politicians, they manage to eclipse the previous turd with an even more horrifying pile.
Posted by Catherwood on January 23, 2013 at 2:26 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 8
This is how the union dies. Cascadia, Cascadia, Cascadia!
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on January 23, 2013 at 2:24 PM · Report this
The point of this exercise by Virginia and likely several other republican controlled swing states (that are increasingly blue as demographics change) is too slant the electoral college so that no democrat has a chance of winning the presidency for the foreseeable future, regardless of the popular vote. The math is simple - if the major swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, etc. that tend to vote democratic in presidential races but are currently (even if only temporarily) republican controlled at the state level switch to proportional allocation of electoral votes, the democrats would never get enough electoral votes to win the presidential race.

Here is a good summary of it at TPM:…
Posted by screed on January 23, 2013 at 2:22 PM · Report this
Looking forward to the riots in 2016 when the Republican candidate wins the freshly-rigged Electoral College vote in a landslide and the Democratic candidate wins the popular vote in a landslide.

That'll be fun.
Posted by Dan Savage on January 23, 2013 at 2:19 PM · Report this
So, why not just go with the old tried-and-true "winner of the popular vote takes all"? Oh, right. Because that would STILL leave the advantage to the Democrats.
Posted by COMTE on January 23, 2013 at 2:14 PM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 4
@2/3--actually I'd argue that it depends on the state (which was kind of my point). If a majority of a state's population is in urban districts (like VA, and WA for that matter) then winner take all is slanted against rural voters. If you have a relatively small urban population (NE, ID, WY, etc.) winner take all favors rural voters.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on January 23, 2013 at 2:12 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 3
@2 what rural areas? Have you even looked at the 2010 census data?
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 23, 2013 at 2:07 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 2
It is anti-Democrat, but not anti-city nor anti-democratic.

In fact, it is more democratic than winner takes all, so long as all of the congressional districts have the same population.

In fact, the winner takes all system we have is very slanted towards the city and against the rural areas.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on January 23, 2013 at 2:06 PM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 1
This proposed system is anti-city, anti-Democrat, and anti-democratic.

True, but couldn't you say the exact opposite thing about Nebraska, which has exactly the same system?
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on January 23, 2013 at 2:03 PM · Report this

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