Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Electoral Change in California

Ed Morrissey has been following the Democrats' attempt to sabotage the Electoral College over on Heading Right. As he has noted, Democrats were unhappy that George W. Bush won the 2000 election depite not winning the overall national popular vote. They have proposed several semi-legal solutions to this, including having states agree to assign their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote instead of assigning the electoral votes to the winner of the state's popular vote as has been traditional.

However, Democrats nationwide are not too pleased about California's plan to address the situation. As reported by Captain Ed, California voters support a plan to split the electoral vote between the winners of the various counties. Two electoral votes would be given to the winner fo the state's popular vote, but the remaining 53 would go to the winners of the state's fifty-three counties. And a plurality of Californians are in support of this idea, including half of all Democrats.

This seems to me a good idea both for fairness and for the effect it would have on the two political parties. Since California is dominated by the far-left enclaves of San Francisco Bay and the Los Angeles area, the more-conservative Central Valley is often forgotten, and Repoublicans rarely spend much time or effort in the state, knowing that the liberal blocs in the cities guarantee Democratic wins in the state. If this change were to take effeect, then Republicans would need to spend time in california, benefitting both Californians and ultimately, maybe the Republican Party as well. Even Democrats might be benefitted by some competition, as they currently own California in a one-party system.

Captain Ed also pointed out that California has often been a "harbinger of political movements" and I agree with him that this change has nothing but positives for both parties. Instead of a winner-take-all result, now both parties, and even some third parties have reason to compete. The downside is that it does encourage small parties like the Greens to muddy the waters, and the last thing we need is an arrangement like much of Europe, where no single party can gain enough seats to govern., Fortunately, the fact that our Head of State is NOT the Head of the Winning Party in Congress helps us to be somewhat immune to that sort of madness.

Of course, this also means that if the ballot proposal passes, a Democratic nominee for President would face a much more difficult time of winning the national election if California's fifty-five electoral votees were not gauranteed to go to the Democrat. Hillary has problems now, and without all of California's electoral votes, I don't think she stands any chance of winning at all. But the best effect would be to allow the voters to choose- not some party operatives working in the back-room darkness.

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