Wednesday, September 14, 2011

good idea done wrong

actually splitting the electoral votes more-or-less proportionately is a better system than the winner-take-all approach. we would have a better system, one that is far less likely to have a presidential race where the winner of the popular vote loses the election, if all states allocated their electoral votes by congressional district, like maine and nebraska currently do.

at the same time, on a purely selfish level, it's stupid for PA to do this when all the other states don't. PA has been deemed a "swing state" (even though it has ultimately swung blue for two decades), which means that presidential candidates pay attention to us. but they don't just pay attention because PA is a swinger (as in, to swing), they do it because PA is an alleged swing state with a big fat juicy portion of 20 EVs (down from 21 thanks to the 2010 census). in 2008 montana was also deemed a "swing state" but didn't get nearly as much attention with its measly 3 EVs as PA did. if PA starts allocating its EVs proportionately while other swing states like florida and ohio continue to use a winner-takes-all system, PA will cease to be a critical state in the race. a swing state with a proportionate allocation system is just a state expected to have a roughly even split of EVs, a wash to the two campaigns. the state legislature is trying to peel away EVs from obama's 2012 reelection tally, and it probably will do that. but it will assure that much of the country to ignore us in the upcoming campaign.

the best solution would be for the legislature to enact the bill proposed by the national popular vote campaign. under that proposal, states would pass a proportionate EV allocation system than would only go into effect if enough states pass the same legislation. if PA passed the bill it would undermine its importance as a swing state, but it also would move towards abolishing the swing state phenomenon in US presidential races and force candidates to run truly national (as opposed to state-by-state) campaigns.

of course, that won't hurt barack obama's reelection chances. so i expect the current governor and legislature is completely uninterested.