Monday, December 17, 2012

Last Call

If 2008 was all about the GOP ending gay marriage at the state level, and 2012 was all about Voter ID laws designed to disenfranchise Democrats, 2016 is about the electoral college, and splitting electoral college votes in order to disenfranchise even more Democrats, permanently. The push to turn Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania (and possible Ohio) into split electoral states to screw the Democrats is on.

All three states have given the Democratic nominee their electoral votes in each of the last six presidential elections. Now, senior Republicans in Washington are overseeing legislation in all three states to end the winner-take-all system.

Obama won all three states in 2008, handing him 46 electoral votes because of the winner-take-all system. Had electoral votes been awarded by district, Republican nominee Mitt Romney would have cut into that lead. Final election results show that Romney won nine of Michigan's 14 districts, five of eight in Wisconsin, and at least 12 of 18 in Pennsylvania. Allocate the two statewide votes in each state to Obama and that means Romney would have emerged from those three Democratic states with 26 electoral votes, compared with just 19 for Obama (and one district where votes are still being counted).

In other words, the electoral vote would have been much closer under this scheme, but the popular vote would have been the same.  Throw Ohio into that mix, and Romney would have picked up 38 electoral votes, enough to have narrowed the President's win to 295 to 244.  If Virginia and Florida tried the same scheme, it could very well have made Romney President...or worse, Florida remains winner take all, and that winner in 2016 is someone like Jeb Bush. 

That's the GOP goal by 2016.   Another Bush in the White House.

Republicans are able to contemplate such a bold plan because of their electoral success in 2010, when the party won control of state legislative chambers and the governorships in all three states, giving them total control over the levers of state government.

"If you did the calculation, you'd see a massive shift of electoral votes in states that are blue and fully [in] red control," said one senior Republican taking an active role in pushing the proposal. "There's no kind of autopsy and outreach that can grab us those electoral votes that quickly."

The proposals, the senior GOP official said, are likely to come up in each state's legislative session in 2013. Bills have been drafted, and legislators are talking to party bosses to craft strategy. Saul Anuzis, the former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, has briefed Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Chief of Staff Jeff Larson on his state's proposal. The proposal "is not being met with the 'We can't do that' answer. It's being met with 'I've already got a bill started,' " the official said.

Republican state legislators are motivated to act after Romney's loss. And the party lost legislative seats in all three states, adding urgency to pass the measures before voters head to the polls in 2014.

So yeah, Democrats are going to have to put up a fight.  If they don't, the plan to steal the 2016 election could put a Republican in the White House despite a Democrat winning by 4 or 5% in the popular vote.

That's where the GOP is now.  If you can't win it, steal it.

Spread the word.

Meanwhile, Newtowns Can Be Prevented

And in Indiana at least, one potential shooting massacre was averted without firing a shot.

A man in northern Indiana was arrested Saturday after threatening an elementary school near his home.

Cedar Lake police officers found 47 guns and ammunition in the home of 60-year-old Von Meyer following his arrest, according to the Associated Press. Police were called after he allegedly threatened to set his wife on fire and “kill as many people as he could” at the Jane Ball Elementary School less than 1,000 feet from his home.

He was a “known member of the Invaders Motorcycle Gang,” according to police.

Meyer is currently being held in the Lake County Jail without bond. He faces charges of intimidation, domestic battery and resisting law enforcement.

So yeah, what we're seeing is conservatives screaming that the problem is people are crazy and our mental health system is irreparable, or that in the ultimate case of "she was dressed provocatively and she had it coming" victim blaming, gun-free zones cause people to get mowed down.  You know, anything but admitting having 47 guns and thousands of bullets might be the actual issue.

Meanwhile, we find out that the country's second largest gun lobbyist and gun dealer trade group the National Shooting Sports Foundation has its headquarters in...guess where.

Just across the highway from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in a stately white building with an American flag flying out front, is the headquarters of the United States’ premiere industry association for gun retailers.

It’s not the consumer-focused National Rifle Association. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has kept a lower profile over the years, but is likely the second-most-powerful force for firearms use in the country. 

Take its lobbying activities. While the gun lobby in general has spent less in 2012 than it has in recent years, the NSSF’s spending has exploded, spiking from about $100,000 in 2008 to $500,000 so far this year (in comparison to the NRA’s $2.2 million). The lion’s share of that went to Patrick Rothwell, the group’s director of government relations, who served for three years as chief of staff to the House Republican Policy Committee. He spent a lot of time this year working on legislation that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating chemicals in gun ammunition and fishing equipment, and the organization has backed a slew of concealed-carry bills.

The NSSF's offical web site statement mentions that their "hearts go out" to the families of the victims of the Newtown tragedy, and that "it would be inappropriate to comment or participate in media requests at this time."

I'm sure those guys are real popular in town these days.

Words Spoken, Will Deeds Follow?

President Obama gave a moving and truly heartfelt speech last night at an interfaith vigil for the victims of Friday's school shooting massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

“We gather here in memory of 20 beautiful children and six remarkable adults,” he said, “They lost their lives in a school that could have been any school in a quiet town full of good and decent people that could be any town in America.”

He continued, “Here in Newtown, I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation. I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts.”

Obama assured the people suffering in Newtown that the nation grieves with them.

“And you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide,” he said. “Whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it. Newtown, you are not alone.”

But the speech will be far more memorable than just for his all too tragically familiar role of the nation's Comforter-In-Chief.  President Obama took a turn towards calling for action to prevent another Newtown from happening again.

We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society, but that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this.

If there’s even one step we can take to save another child or another parent or another town from the grief that’s visited Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek and Newtown and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that, then surely we have an obligation to try.

In the coming weeks, I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators, in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine.

Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?

Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?

This is a President clearly willing to use the power of the Executive in order to get things done.  It looks like POTUS has put down a clear goal for his second term legacy here.

And I say, good for him.


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