Republicans have been having substantial trouble processing the thumping they received at the hands of Barack Obama in the 2012 election. It started on Election Night, with Karl Rove literally refusing to accept that the state of Ohio had voted to re-elect President Obama:
And it’s been downhill ever since.
Public Policy Polling recently found that 49% of Republican voters believe “that the president did not legitimately win reelection because ACORN interfered with the vote. A full 50 percent of Republicans said Democrats engaged in some sort of voter fraud.” Of course, this is absolutely insane because ACORN was forced to shut down in 2010 after being falsely accused of stealing the 2008 election.
To reiterate: Republicans have become so unhinged from reality that almost half of the party’s voters believe an organization that has ceased to exist for years was involved in a diabolical conspiracy to rig the 2012 election.
But the madness doesn’t stop there. Top Republican donors are now publicly saying that votes from cities and urban areas should be flat out discounted:
In terms of sheer numbers, Obama won by five million votes. But [GOP megadonor Foster] Friess dismissed that margin, arguing that a 350,000 vote flip across four states (which he couldn’t name) would have given Romney the election.
“To me, 350,000 votes is not a huge mandate, even though the total numbers, which take into account a lot of those center cities, went for Obama.”
When I asked him if he was saying that votes from “center cities” should be discounted, his answer, in full, was: “Yes.”
I asked him why. His response:
“Because of the movement across the country in the state legislatures. Right now the Republicans have their tails between their legs. What I’m trying to say—there’s no reason for them to have their tails between their legs because the American people on balance, I believe, want free markets. They do not want to have a system where there’s more people riding the wagon than pulling the wagon. I believe the majority of the American people want to be wagon-pullers.”
As Robert Schlesinger of U.S News and World Report notes, “To hear it put so bluntly and unequivocally is still fairly breathtaking: The national popular vote doesn’t count because it takes into account city voters.”
It should come as no surprise, then, that Republicans are moving now to reshape the Electoral College to reflect their belief that the votes of people living in cities are worth less than those of their rural counterparts. It is, in essence, a natural evolution of the Southern Strategy.
In American politics, the Southern strategy refers to the Republican Party strategy of gaining political support or winning elections in the Southern section of the country by appealing to racism against African Americans.
The states where this is occurring are states that went for President Obama in both 2008 and 2012: Virginia, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Washington. And no, Republicans are not being subtle about their intentions. In Virginia, State Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson County) shared the following lament:
“If it’s going to continue winner-take-all — it doesn’t matter which side is running — it’s going to all come down to how many people vote in the metropolitan areas and it doesn’t matter what the rural voters do,” Carrico said.
Sadly for Carrico, his Senate colleagues torpedoed the bill.
In Washington, Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) similarly mourned the rise of people in cities voting their preferences:
“A lot of voters in Eastern Washington feel disenfranchised. They feel their votes don’t count,” Shea said.
Washington has a law on the books to cast its electoral votes for the winner of the national popular vote, regardless of the state’s totals, if enough other states agree to do the same. That’s a bad plan, Shea said, because states have different voting laws and presidential ballots. It’s unworkable, and probably unconstitutional, he added, and HB 1091 would cancel that law.
Committee Chairman Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, asked Shea who would have been president right now if all the states had such a system in 2012.
“I don’t know,” Shea replied. “I’d have to do the math.”
“It would not be Barack Obama,” Hunt said.
Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford is one of the few Republicans to express major skepticism about the legitimacy of the idea:
“To me, that’s like saying in a football game, ‘We should have only three quarters, because we were winning after three quarters and the[y] beat us in the fourth,” Weatherford, a Republican, told the Herald/Times. “I don’t think we need to change the rules of the game, I think we need to get better.”
Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker continues to send out mixed signals about his intentions for the state:
He called it “interesting” and “plausible” in an interview with the Journal Sentinel last month, but said he neither supported nor opposed it.
Talking to “Newsmax” on Saturday, Walker said we “have to be very careful in making changes like that,” but called the idea “worth looking at.”
But in a separate interview with the Journal Sentinel, Walker acknowledged major concerns.
“You concede it would have dramatic impact on the targeting of the state?” Walker was asked.
“Right. Exactly right. . . . That’s why I qualified (my earlier statements). . . . I just said I hadn’t ruled it out. I’m not embracing it,” Walker said.
“The most important thing to me long term as governor on that is what makes your voters be in play,” said Walker, voicing the concern that ending winner-take-all would make the state “irrelevant” in presidential campaigns.
“You would agree it would have that effect?” he was asked.
“Yeah. I think that’s a real concern,” he said.
But no one can compare with State Rep. Pete Lund (R-Shelby Township) of Michigan, who not only sobbed about being marginalized by people in cities, but also revealed just how unscrupulous he and his Republican cohorts are:
Rep. Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township, confirmed this week he plans to reintroduce legislation that would award all but two of Michigan’s 16 Electoral College votes according to congressional district results. The remaining two would go to the candidate winning the statewide majority.
“I believe it’s more representative of the people — closer to the actual vote,” said Lund, who proposed a similar bill in 2012. “It got no traction last year. There were people convinced Romney was going to win and this might take (electoral) votes from him.”
After looking for every other option in the world, Republicans finally shoved Mitt Romney down the throats of the American public and saw his (and their party’s) reputation annihilated on a scale few people ever anticipated. Their response? Doubling down on Jim Crow policies and declaring that votes from urban areas are not “representative of the people.”
And so, The Long War continues.