Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Michael Barone explains difference between Electoral College and House of Representatives

by Clifford F. Thies

In an extended interview (PJTV), Michael Barone discusses the failure of the polls to predict the outcome of the U.S. President election, where the average of the better polls on the day before the election was just about even-steven, and Obama was re-elected with a 3 point margin.

Barone said, among other things, that the polling technique of calling people by telephone may no longer work. (I, myself, think voter preferences were changing during the week leading up to the election. Some people suspect something more sinister may be involved.)

He also said it should not be surprising that an incumbent President would be re-elected 51 to 48 present, as that almost exactly replicates the result in 2004. (Yet, economic conditions in 2004 were conducive to the re-election of the incumbent. Based on economics alone, Romney would have been elected by a 2 point margin according to Ray Fair's model. I, myself, have argued that the difference, in 2012, was affinity voting.)

He finally talked about the difference between Republican control of the House of Representatives and the Democratic advantage in the Electoral College. He said that Democrats are disproportionately concentrated in inner city districts. This enables Democrats to overwhelmingly dominate those districts, and that this advantage is difficult for Republicans to overcome with the outer-ring suburbs, small towns and rural areas of states. But, not being concentrated as Democrats are, Republicans win in more Congressional Districts.

This is a very important point. But, we, at LR, were on to this reality from the start, Early during 2012, when it appeared that the election would be close, we suggested, semi-seriously, that the Republicans just steal the election by shifting all the purple states in which they totally controlled the state government to the Maine-Nebraska method of awarding Electoral Votes.

If Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Virginia had shifted to the Maine-Nebraska method for this year, and if the winner of the popular vote for President followed the winner in the Congressional Districts, then Mitt Romney would have received 66 more Electoral Votes, for a total of 272, and he would have been elected President.

Obviously, there would have been tremendous opposition to this outcome, since Obama won the popular vote by 3 points. But, there wouldn't be anything the Democrats could have done to stop it. Each state is absolutely able to decide how it will cast its Electoral Votes. And, just as Maine and Nebraska allocate EVs one per Congressional District and two at-large, so could every other state.

Could the Democrats have retaliated, by shifting a Red state to the Maine-Nebraska method? No. The only states the Democrats completely control are Blue states, where shifting to the Maine-Nebraska method would actually help us. This idea is so absolutely brilliant, I don't know why the Republicans didn't figure this out, and we, at LR, had to figure it out. but, there it is. We can lock up a victory in 2012 anytime we want to.

But ... would it unfair for Republicans to do this? Would it be ... not nice?

To placate concerns over fairness, here's what the Republicans in Congress can do while their buddies in the Purple States just go ahead and guarantee a Republican victory in the next Presidential election: Propose the following Constitutional Amendment:
1. All states shall cast their votes in the Electoral College as follows: one for the slate of candidates for President and Vice President finishing first in each of the state's Congressional Districts, and two for the slate of candidates finishing first in the statewide popular vote if the slate receives at least 60 percent of the votes cast, or else one for each for the slates of candidates that finishes first and second in the statewide popular vote.

2. For the purpose of apportionment of members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the election of U.S. Senators and Presidential elections, the District of Columbia shall be treated as part of the state of Maryland.

3. Should a slate of candidates for President and Vice President not receive a majority vote in the Electoral College, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives shall gather in a joint meeting, each one of them casting one vote, and vote for President and Vice President among those slates of candidates receiving at least 20 percent of the vote of the Electoral College, until one such slate of candidates receives a majority of the votes cast.
The amendment forces all states to adopt the Maine-Nebraska method, treats the people of the District fairly with respect to representation in Congress and the election of President, and cleans up the election of President and Vice President in the event no slate of candidates receives a majority in the Electoral College.

Of course, even if the necessary two-thirds majority could be obtained in Congress, there's the huge problem of getting three-fourths of the states to ratify the amendment. In the meanwhile, we'll have a huge, almost insurmountable advantage in the Electoral College. And, even if the amendment passes, there'd be little point to the Democrats doing whatever they're doing in those inner city precincts to cause 100 percent of the vote to be for their guy.


ajnock1976 said...

"Michael Barone explains difference between Electoral College and House of Representatives"

Wow. If you ever have trouble falling asleep: play this.

yours for sanity

Alan Turin


Check out Roger MacBride's book on the Electoral College for a real education.


Gary said...

Elect Presidents based on ultra-corrupt Congressional district gerrymandering. It is the insane giving advice to idiots.

mitsukurina said...

Why have an electoral college at all -- why not elect the president based upon the popular vote?

The Right Guy said...

Why not just appoint a president based on their EEO score. Can you imagine a black jewish paraplegic lesbian that is over 40 and was born in Mexico? I imagine then we could feel good about how progressive we are.

Chuck said...

Why have elections at all? Why not just let Communist College professors appoint everyone?

The Right Guy said...

Or pompous left wing journalists that while failed at ditch digging decided they could tell the world how it should be.