John Nichols' ideas: Constructive response to Electoral College rigging

I love it when the discussion turns constructively to "What can we DO about it?" And I love these ideas that John Nichols describes in today's Cap Times, for how we should respond to the Republican Party's plan to rig the results of future presidential elections in favor of whichever party most recently gerrymandered the congressional districts.   

In short: 

1. Name and shame those who would rig elections

Rince Priebus has publicly and explicitly described the partisan motives behind the proposals to allocate electoral college votes by congressional district, when he said “It’s something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be considering.” Any public official who goes along with that plan can therefore be “named and shamed” in letters to the editor, comments on their Facebook page, and in public forums as someone who is willing to put partisan interests above the basic safeguards of democracy.

2. Engage in the debate with a real alternative

The Republican Party's willingness to tamper with the electoral college opens the gates to discussion--possibly action--on real reform. This is the time to push for a constitutional amendment for national popular presidential vote. 

Understanding, talking about, and promoting the National Popular Vote campaign is an essential response to every proposal to rig the Electoral College. It pulls the debate out of the weeds of partisanship and appeals to a sense of fairness in every responsible American patriot.

3. Make gerrymandering an issue

The Republican Party's open admission that allocating electoral votes by congressional district would change presidential election results throws a spotlight on the practice of gerrymandering and its anti-democracy results. This opens a new avenue for challenging the most common tool for rigging elections.

Nichols suggests pressuring the courts to take a more aggressive stance against gerrymandering, but I'm not sure how that is done. Ask about it in the upcoming judicial forums? I know that Bill Krause is working on efforts now to have Wisconsin adopt a nonpartisan method of redistricting; we could look into that. 

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  • Karen Edson
    commented 2013-02-03 10:55:53 -0600
    I agree that we should ask candidates for the state supreme court about whether they would vote to take a redistricting case on appeal. I also think that we might need to go forward with the National Popular Vote concept. It eliminates one more avenue for election rigging. We also need to protect the non-partisan GAB – if we could get them in charge of redistricting, that would be great, but impossible given current WI govt.
    Perhaps the best option is the “name and shame” – example – if WI is so broke that the gov. is still cutting appropriations for schools, why did they spend over $900,000 of taxpayer money appealing the Voter ID Law to the US Supreme Court in 2012 (do not know result of appeal). The same concept could apply to the redistricting – where the Repubs hid what they were doing in violation of WI pub mtgs law. DAP has a number of 4X5 foot barn-red signs available…