Republicans in Virginia are mad at voters for supporting President Obama in 2012. So they’re planning to punish them by rigging the game next time:
A Republican-backed bill that would end Virginia’s winner-takes-all method of apportioning its 13 electoral votes in presidential elections cleared its first legislative hurdle Wednesday…Under [State Sen] Carrico’s revision, Obama would have received only four Virginia electoral votes last year while Republican Mitt Romney would have received nine. Romney carried conservative rural areas while Obama dominated Virginia’s cities and fast-growing suburbs.
Apparently the concept that the candidate who gets more votes wins has become utterly intolerable to Virginia Republicans. “This reform is designed to disenfranchise Democrats,” David Weigel points out. It’s a desperation move made by people who think that their victory is more important than the democratic process.
This isn’t just Virginia. It’s part of a trend:
After back-to-back presidential losses, Republicans in key states want to change the rules to make it easier for them to win. From Wisconsin to Pennsylvania, GOP officials who control legislatures in states that supported President Barack Obama are considering changing state laws that give the winner of a state’s popular vote all of its Electoral College votes, too…Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus endorsed the idea this week, and other Republican leaders support it, too, suggesting that the effort may be gaining momentum.
Republican leaders in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, where President Obama won in November, are among those considering a change. (Unsurprisingly, their allies in states that Mitt Romney won aren’t putting any thought into this.)
The congressional district plans like Virginia is proposing are particularly devious. Take Ohio, where state legislative Republicans drew a map to help send more Republicans to Congress. In Ohio, while President Obama won 51.5% of the vote, he only won a majority of votes in 4 of the state’s 16 heavily-gerrymandered districts. Under a plan like Virginia’s, Obama could win a clear majority of Ohio’s votes and yet Mitt Romney would walk away with 78% of the electoral votes. In Michigan, where Obama got 55% of the vote, a Virginia-style plan would award Romney almost 70% of the electoral votes.
It should come as no surprise that some of the same people behind Electoral College rigging laws are also those who support voter suppression and restrictions on the right to collectively bargain. And let’s not forget what happened on Monday, when Virginia state Senate Republicans waited until a onetime civil rights leader was away attending Obama’s inauguration to push through a new redistricting map just because they could.
There’s no defense for this. It’s a power grab by people who are angry about losing elections and don’t respect democracy. This is why we need to vote in every race, every year.