GOP

GOP’s latest strategy to win back White House

 

joyannreid@gmail.com

Having failed to settle on a strategy to win over nonwhite, young, female and urban voters without putting off the Archie Bunker crowd, Republicans are toying with a novel strategy to get back into the White House.

In swing states that Republicans took over in 2010, GOP state houses and governors may soon use the remaining window of opportunity created by the perennial failure of Democrats to turn out in sufficient numbers during midterms, to rig future presidential elections in their favor.

This is how Katrina Trinko of the conservative National Review, described the plan:

“If states stop awarding votes on a winner-take-all basis, Republicans could also win — and without necessarily getting more votes,” Trinko writes. “Determining Electoral College voting by congressional districts represents one obvious opportunity for Republicans: In that scenario, the effect of urban Democratic strongholds (such as those Philadelphia precincts where Obama was supported by 99 percent of voters) would be isolated. Instead of shifting the entire state’s electoral votes, those precincts would only influence their congressional districts.”

Read more directly, Republicans can reduce the power of large urban centers — with their sizable black and brown populations — by literally giving those undesirable voters less than a full vote apiece. Talk about constitutional originalism! It seems the three-fifths compromise survives.

There is, of course, precedent for gaining the White House without winning the national popular vote. Three American presidents, all of whom happened to have been Republicans: Rutherford Hayes in 1876, Benjamin Harrison (the president sandwiched between Grover Cleveland’s non-consecutive terms) in 1888, and of course, George W. Bush in 2000, got to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that way. So you might call the concept of minority rule a Grand Old Party tradition.

And two states, Maine and Nebraska, already award their presidential delegates by congressional district.

But the idea of applying the kind of gerrymandering that locks Republicans into state legislative and congressional power in purple states like Florida, to presidential elections, is something that’s frighteningly new.

It’s also entirely feasible, if Republican governors are willing to risk the wrath of voters in their states’ largest population centers, who would find their votes literally nullified by the decisions of more conservative rural counties. Then again, I suppose they could fix that by awarding the governorships by district apportionment, too.

Republicans in Michigan, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are reportedly considering jamming through presidential gerrymandering while there’s still time; before voters can potentially punish the anti-majority rulers in 2014. Backed by ALEC, the conservative legislation factory that gave us Stand Your Ground and voter ID laws, they’ve got their eyes on Ohio and Florida, too.

The idea has met with the enthusiastic support of Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, who took the scheme out for a test drive during the 2012 Republican National Convention by using it to set aside Ron Paul delegates, and to prevent future primary election inconveniences from annoying the party bosses’ preferred candidate going forward.

Recently, FairVote — an organization that advocates replacing the arcane Electoral College with a national popular vote — ran six scenarios based on presidential gerrymandering, and in two of them, Mitt Romney won the Electoral College vote by margins of 274-264 and 280-258, while still losing the national popular vote to Barack Obama by 5 million votes, and the popular votes in each of the six target states.

That, my friends, is called results.

Republicans will present the concept as one of simple fairness. Why should the residents of small counties be out-voted by big cities, simply because those cities contain more people? Wait . . .

Look, voter persuasion is hard. Witness the recent House Republican “reaching out to minorities panel at a former Virginia plantation” debacle. Changing the party’s conservative platform is untenable — how to explain to all those AM radio listeners and Fox News devotees that the party has suddenly changed its mind on abortion, immigration reform, gay marriage or war armament stockpiling to back-burner a second civil war?

Better to just dilute the opposition and give Republicans their man in the White House, will of the voters be damned.

Read more Other Views stories from the Miami Herald

  • AUTISM

    Learning alongside my daughter, Bela

    My daughter, Bela, who has autism, doesn’t go anywhere without a pair of socks, which is odd because she never wears socks. Rather she carries them around as if they were dolls.

  •  
Gabriel Garcia Marquez died on Thursday.

    GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ

    His words dazzled the world

    Gabriel García Márquez has left us. His was also a death foretold, but no less shocking, because we resist saying farewell to our heroes. And García Márquez, the immense writer, was a superhero of literature.

  • EARLY LEARNING

    The imperative is to educate our children

    When the two of us were graduated from high school, nobody seemed to be worrying about China or Brazil or India competing with us as an economy or in education. We took for granted that we were the best in the world in education and the economy and had no reason to believe that would ever change. Everyone seemed to be able to get a job — and to do so with not much more than the bare basics of education.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category