Evil Genius: The Pennsylvania GOP's Plan To Redistrict Their State And Takedown Obama in 2012

 Pennsylvania has voted Democrats into the oval office every year for the past two decades.  But the Pennsylvania GOP, in control of both houses and the Governor's office (Tom Corbett), is gearing up to change that with a new way of counting PA's electoral votes.  

Maps of new congressional districts proposed by the GOP-run state show an evil-genius plan to change the electoral college system for their benefit.  If repeated, the new system could be disastrous to Obama's 2012 election and democracy in general:  Even if most Pennsylvanians vote for Obama, the redistricting rules could result in a GOP victory. 

The scary part is that Democrats, and mere advocates of democracy, can do nothing at all to stop this.  The redistricting of Congressional maps falls after each new Census, the most recent of which just wrapped-up, so the changes are perfectly legal.  They are not, however, what many would consider ethical - nor democratic, for that matter.

According to Mother Jones, the GOP's changes to Congressional districts will give Republicans twelve safe seats in Congress, while Democrats will be guaranteed only six.  These numbers will come into play again during the Presidential election, when, should Obama be victorious,  the redistricting will result in 12 GOP electoral votes compared to 6 Democratic ones (so long as the Republican candidate wins Republican districts).  Obama will thus lose 12 points he could have maintained in a winner-takes-all system.  What's worse,  if the election is close and Republicans in other states follow suit, national opinion may lose out to unfair rules.

There are historical precedents for such anti-democratic measures: 

Looks as if the Republicans are inspired by the British rotten boroughs of old. Those gave the Tories disproportionately more power than a consistent nation-wide formula for representation would have done. The rotten boroughs were eliminated in the Reform Act of 1832, widely considered to have "launched the rise of modern democracy in Britain".

In other words, the Republicans are looking to move away from "modern democracy" - which strives for proportional representation - and towards a kind of "crude democracy". Crude, in that it has the outward form of democracy - people voting - but with a representation formula that advantages one party.

Of interest: The British rotten boroughs were eliminated due to, in part, public pressure. I suspect that in this country, public pressure will be lacking due to the miserable job the press does informing people of what's important. Especially since it involves mathematics, where journalists have shown less understanding than that of a high school algebra student. Plus you have Fox News adding to the confusion with their unique form of "journalism".

While the new rules are hugely significant to the outcome of the 2012 election, they are also a stunning reflection of our current politics.  As politicians continue to represent corporations and Wall Street, instead of their constituents on Main Street, it becomes clear that our elected officials do not work for us or democracy, but for themselves and their hard-lined parties. 

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at September 14, 2011, 10:16am

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