Saturday, January 26, 2013

Last Call

The GOP plan to steal the electoral college is getting some backlash, which means Republicans are both denying the plan at the state level...

What are the chances that this plan gets passed? It doesn’t look great for Republicans in favor of the bill. The proposal will likely make it out of the full Republican-controlled Committee on Privileges and Elections, but will face hurdles in front of the full Senate. The Virginia Senate is split between 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans. One Republican, State Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, abstained from voting in favor of the proposal in subcommittee and has said it is unlikely she will vote in favor of it on the Senate floor. Without her vote, the proposal is a no-go.

...And admitting they want to take to plan nationally to all of the GOP-controlled swing states that voted for Obama.

Jordan Gehrke, a D.C.-based strategist who's worked on presidential and Senate campaigns, is teaming up with Ken Blackwell, a former Ohio Republican secretary of state, to raise money for an effort to propose similar electoral reforms in states across the country, he told me this week.

Gehrke and Blackwell have been talking to major donors and plan to send a fundraising email to grassroots conservatives early next week. The money would go toward promoting similar plans to apportion electoral votes by congressional district in states across the country, potentially even hiring lobbyists in state capitals. 

Gehrke isn't saying which states the project might initially target. He says he'd like to see the plan implemented in every state, not just the ones where clever redistricting has given Republicans an edge, and he justifies it in policy, not political terms.

A presidential voting system where the electoral college was apportioned by congressional district might not be perfectly fair, he says, but it would be better than what we have now. It would bring democracy closer to the people, force presidential candidates to address the concerns of a more varied swath of the American populace, and give more clout to rural areas that are too often ignored. And while it might help Republicans in states like Virginia, it could give Democrats a boost in states like Texas. Ideally, this new system, implemented nationally, would strengthen both parties, he claims. 

Sure, and let's remember that if this plan had been in effect, Mitt Romney would be President now.

In fact, if every state awarded its electoral votes by congressional district, it's likely that Mitt Romney would have won the 2012 presidential election despite losing the popular vote by nearly four percentage points. (According to Fix projections and data from Daily Kos Elections, Romney won at least 227 congressional districts and 24 states, giving him 275 electoral votes -- more than the 270 he needed.)

In addition, if just the five states mentioned above changed their systems, Obama's 126-electoral-vote win would have shrunk to a 34-vote win -- close enough where a different result in Florida (which Obama won by less than one point) would have tipped the 2012 race in Romney's favor.

Republicans know exactly what and why they are doing this, they are trying to steal an election where just like gerrymandered Democratic votes are stuffed into urban and minority district.  If the entire nation had implemented the Virginia plan where the 2 Senatorial electoral college votes are doled out by the winner of the most districts, Romney's victory in the above scenario would have been even larger despite losing the popular vote by 5 million.

The vote under this plan would have been exactly the same.  The difference is the winner would be whoever can steal the most House districts, which thanks to 2010 gerrymandering, would mean the GOP would be a clear favorite in 2016 and 2020.  And what would the GOP do with that power?

What do you think?

I Believe I Have Found Your Activist Judges, GOP

If this ridiculous ruling from the three Republican-appointed judges on the DC Appeals Court is allowed to stand, the Republicans can shut down the executive branch, period.  Adam Serwer at Mojo:

On Friday, a federal appeals court ruled that President Barack Obama's appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, which regulates and oversees labor disputes, were unconstitutional. The Constitution allows the president to make temporary appointments, called recess appointments, while the Senate is on break—or recess, in DC terms. Obama did make the NRLB appointments while the Senate was on vacation. But Senate Republicans claimed that the Senate was technically still in session over their vacation because they were holding brief, minutes-long meetings over the course of the break. The three judges on the panel—all of whom were appointed by Republican presidents—agreed with the challengers. Now all the decisions Obama's NLRB appointees made since they joined the board are at risk of being invalidated.

The court's decision doesn't just affect labor law: it could also have an impact on the White House's broader economic agenda. The sweeping ruling throws into question the future of regulatory decisions made by one of the administration's most aggressive agencies, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

So two executive agencies that Republicans despise are now effectively out of business as of Friday: the people that keep corporations from screwing over workers, and the people that keep banks from screwing over everybody.  That's not allowed in the Republican worldview:  people are simply resources that must be exploited for maximum profit.

Also out of business:  The President can basically no longer make recess appointments.

Friday's ruling takes the sweeping view that recess appointments made during Senate breaks, like vacations, are unconstitutional. The court found that the recess appointment power can only be used during breaks between Senate sessions—and those only happen once a year, usually over the Christmas and New Year's holidays. It also holds that the president can only make recess appointments for positions that become open during a recess—as opposed to ones that already were open. The court's position would invalidate the vast majority of recess appointments made by Republican and Democratic presidents over the course of the last century, including that of John Bolton, George W. Bush's ambassador to the United Nations.

In other words, recess appointments were fine until the black guy made a couple.  Somebody please come up with an argument that says otherwise, because right now as it stands, Republican judges are really just putting a black man "in his place".

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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