“There are some potentially helpful electoral college reform ideas that deserve further consideration and analysis,” the Washington Post’s editorial board noted yesterday. “The Michigan proposal, based on raw partisanship, is not one of them.”
And which Michigan proposal would that be? As Dave Weigel reported the other day, it’s the scheme to rig the state’s electoral votes, which apparently won’t go away.
In 2011, that state’s Republicans joined Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin in considering legislation to split up the state’s electoral votes by congressional districts. While Democratic gubernatorial wins in Pennsylvania and Virginia have ended the push in those states, last week saw an electoral vote-splitting bill come back to the Michigan legislature.House Bill 4310 would assign one presidential elector to the winner of each district and two to the winner of the state. Had this system been in place in 2012, Mitt Romney would have lost Michigan by nearly 450,000 of 4.7 million votes, but walked away with nine of the state’s 16 electoral votes.
To be sure, this is not the first time GOP lawmakers in Michigan have toyed with the idea, and in each previous instance, the scheme died, in part due to public revulsion.
But Michigan Republicans are not only keeping the plan alive, they’ve also come to believe that public revulsion is overrated – as Weigel noted, Gov. Rick Snyder (R), as a candidate, assured voters he didn’t intend to sign right-to-work legislation. He then took office, did the opposite, faced criticism, and won re-election anyway. The “lesson of 2014,” Dave noted, “was that Republicans can get away with plenty and not worry about being unseated by the left.”
By this reasoning, some GOP lawmakers in the state assume they can rig the process through which Michigan votes for president, make it so that voters’ will is no longer determinative, and probably face minimal consequences from the public.
I can’t speak to the integrity of their assumptions, but the plan itself is nevertheless pretty disgusting, for all the reasons we discussed the last time this came up.
Snyder has been “reluctant” to pursue it, but the governor has changed his mind before, and the issue clearly isn’t going away.