Just weeks into President Barack Obama’s second term, the Republican Party has begun planning a new strategy to win next year’s election—starting by rebranding the party platform with a focus on appealing to both women and minorities.
More radically, they have proposed a change to the landscape of the election process as a whole. Republican state legislators have proposed a bill that would alter the Electoral College voting system from a statewide winner take all, to dividing the votes by congressional districts.
Nebraska and Maine have already been operating in this way, and states including Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have considered the change.
This bill is not the first attempt by the Republican Party to influence a presidential election. Just last year they attempted to require voters to present government issued photo identification before casting their vote.
It was a clear strategy to prevent specific “undesired” American citizens from participating in the election.
This new voting system would have greatly favored the Republican Party in the last election. Under this proposal Obama would have received only four of the Virginia’s 13 electoral votes according to the Washington Post.
The bill’s sponsor, Virginia state Sen. Charles W. Carrico Sr., said to the Post: “The last election, constituents were concerned that it didn’t matter what they did, that more densely populated areas were going to out vote them.”
The Democratic Party has, in no surprise, condemned the bill as completely partisan.
At this time the bill is receiving little momentum as the Virginia Senate has recently shot it down, although Sen. Ralph Smith said he would have supported the bill if the change would be a nationwide one.
Still, others like Paul Ryan have displayed his opposition for the changes in his state of Wisconsin.
But even if these proposed changes did receive majority support, it would hardly be the change we need.
The Electoral College is an outdated system to begin with, as we are no longer a public with insufficient information about candidates due to a lack of transportation and communication. We now live in an educated society with the ability to communicate with one another like never before. Information is instantly available through the media and internet.
Furthermore, the Electoral College is fundamentally undemocratic. It does not guarantee the candidate with the highest vote will become president. In fact this has occurred in our nation’s history four separate times, most recently in 2000 when George W. Bush defeated Al Gore by receiving the greatest number of electoral votes, but not the popular vote.
These sort of anomalies create so many questions of where this country might have gone and what could have been prevented. One might still argue that reasons like these are the reason why there should indeed be a drastic change to the system, but the changes on the table right now simply are not right.
The last thing we need to do is make the Electoral College more complicated, producing a voting battleground of partisan districts. Presidential campaigns are long enough without having to fight for each individual district. If anything, we should remove the Electoral College all together and have a true democratic vote of the people.
Neither political party is innocent in these games of manipulation. In fact, according to The Wall Street Journal, Democrats have proposed similar bills in the past when felt at a disadvantage in a state. Both parties hate to lose and will try anything to win at the expense of the peoples vote.
Here is an idea: Instead of manipulating an election, try earning the vote with a message that appeals to the hearts and minds of voters rather than swing a flawed system.