We'll start, as we almost always do, with the P-G:
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, is pushing to change the state's "winner-takes-all" approach for awarding electoral votes to doling them out to presidential contenders by congressional district.And from the Tribune-Review:
That proposal, first reported by online news service Capitolwire on Thursday, could significantly revamp the state's role in the presidential general election.
"It would not only change the type of attention that Pennsylvania would receive in a presidential election, but it would also choose where in Pennsylvania that attention occurs," said Pileggi, following his appearance at the Marcellus Shale Coalition conference in Philadelphia Thursday morning.
Republicans in charge of the General Assembly want to change how the state hands out its electoral votes, a move that could reshape the national electoral strategies of future presidents and diminish Pennsylvania's role in choosing the country's leader.The funny part, is that with the very next paragraph, the Tribune-Review tells us that's, basically BS:
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi wants to allocate the 20 electoral votes Pennsylvania will have in the next election according to who wins each of 18 congressional districts, plus two more for whoever wins the statewide popular vote, rather than the winner-take-all system the state now uses.
Pileggi said the new formula would better reflect what voters want.
In 2008, for instance, when Pennsylvania had 21 electoral votes, Sen. John McCain won 10 congressional districts to then-Sen. Barack Obama's 9, but Obama won the state by 620,000 votes. Under Pileggi's proposal, Obama would've gotten the two statewide electors, for a net win over McCain of one electoral vote.So winning the state by more than a half-million votes counts for just one extra electoral vote. To Pileggi, that's what "better reflect what voters want" means.
Make no mistake, it's a transparent ploy. A ploy to help out (of course) Pileggi's and Corbett's fellow republicans in the upcoming presidential election.
But would it help them all? Not everyone in the Statewide GOP is drinking the kool-aid. From Dan Hirshhorn at Politico:
With next year’s presidential election expected to be hard-fought, even sapping some electoral support from Barack Obama in Pennsylvania could have a major impact on the national results. But to several Republicans in marginal districts, the plan has a catch: they’re worried that Democrats will move dollars and ground troops from solid blue districts to battlegrounds in pursuit of electoral votes — and in the process, knock off the Republicans currently in the seats.And:
Suburban Philadelphia Reps. Jim Gerlach, Pat Meehan and Mike Fitzpatrick have the most at stake, since all represent districts Democrats won in the last two presidential elections. They and the rest of the Republicans in the delegation are joining with National Republican Congressional Committee officials to respond and mobilize against the change.
“Any proposed change to the election laws shouldn’t be done under the radar,” Fitzpatrick told POLITICO. “If every vote matters, everyone should have a chance to discuss this.”
State GOP chairman Rob Gleason is also opposed to the plan.
“You’re asking the southeast Republican county parties to go toe-to-toe with the Philadelphia Democratic machine, in money and manpower,” a senior national Republican official said. “It’s a matchup that we not only lose in 2012, but one that decimates the Republican Party in southeast Pennsylvania.”The DailyKos has a deeper explanation:
Put simply, awarding electoral votes by congressional district would be a disaster for Democrats. Democratic voters tend to be much more concentrated in urban areas while Republican voters are typically more spread out. That means that the average blue seat is much bluer than the average red seat is red, which in turn means that there are more Republican-leaning districts than Democratic-inclined CDs.Which is why the GOP is for it. Which is why they think it's fair.
Here's one stark illustration. John McCain's best district in the nation was TX-13, which occupies the Texas panhandle. He won there by 77-23, a 54 percent margin. By contrast, there were 39 districts that Barack Obama won by an equal or bigger spread, all the way up to his 90-point victory in New York's 16th Congressional District in the South Bronx.
More concretely, if Pennsylvania's proposed system were in place nationwide, Obama's 365-173 electoral college romp would have been a much tighter 301-237 win. Meanwhile, George W. Bush's narrow 286-251 victory over John Kerry would have turned into a 317-221 blowout. And just as bad, Bush's razor-thin 271-266 margin over Al Gore would have been a more comfortable 288-250 spread for Dubya, making Gore's "loss" despite winning the national popular vote even more galling.
But it ain't - and there's 620,000 reasons why.