Don’t fall for the impeachment trap

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

President Obama is goading Republicans in Congress to impeach him. Every time he abuses executive actions to rule by fiat, flaunts immigration and other laws or frees dangerous terrorists, he seems to be begging for impeachment.

That’s the point. It seems like he wants to be impeached because he does.

Huh? Why? Isn’t impeachment that last thing that a self-centered narcissist like Obama would want?

While Obama is a terrible administrator and a horrible president, he is nevertheless a shrewd, skilled, accomplished political strategist. He wants to head off the likely change of control of the U. S. Senate this fall (or at least minimize senate losses so that the majority could be taken back in 2016). He justifiably fears that a Republican president and Congress succeeding him in 2016 could destroy his legacy by repealing everything he accomplished.

Obama is painfully aware of the failure of his signature health insurance legislation and of his tanking poll numbers. He also knows America’s political history, that the political party of every American president since the Civil War, except one, has suffered big congressional losses in the off-year election of his second term. That even happened to popular legendary presidents, like FDR, Eisenhower and Reagan. This year that would put Democrat control of the U.S.Senate in peril. And Obama also knows that the one exception to that trend – Bill Clinton – avoided that loss in 1998, following his impeachment by Newt Gingrich’s Republican House of Representatives. As deserving as Clinton was for impeachment and removal from office after his blatant perjury in a televised deposition, enough of the wishy-washy middle-of-the-road voters who regrettably decide our elections were sufficiently put off by the impeachment that they bucked tradition and voted for Democrat candidates for house and senate (where Clinton’s fate would be decided). The anti-Republican fervor continued two years later, propelling Vice-President Al Gore to a popular-vote win for president. Republicans took the White House only because of George W. Bush’s excellent – and decisive – strategy aimed at winning the Electoral College. (While the Florida recount gripped America’s attention for weeks, it was actually surprise Bush wins in theretofore reliably Democratic West Virginia and the home states of both Clinton (Arkansas) and Gore himself (Tennessee) that paved the way for Bush’s win.)

That’s why, after having seized control of Congress in 2006, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi snuffed out calls by some Democrat members to impeach unpopular President George W. Bush. She didn’t want to risk backlash that might have cost Democrats the White House in 2008.

And Obama also knows about something else that could save his senate this year. Minority voters, especially African Americans, remain fiercely loyal to their struggling president. Historically these voters don’t bother to vote in off-year elections. As recently as 2010, they stayed away in droves, allowing the tea party revolt among engaged white voters to win back the House of Representatives. Obama is betting, probably correctly, that the threat of Obama’s removal from office will gin up minority turnout to near-presidential levels and save Democrat senate seats in North Carolina, Louisiana, Michigan and Virginia, and maybe even put Democrat challengers over the top in Georgia and Kentucky. Even if Democrats lose other vulnerable senate seats, wins in those states would preserve Democrat control of the upper chamber. That would maintain Democrat control over judicial confirmations, block Republican legislation passed by the House, and could also set the stage for Democrat wins in 2016.

National Enquirer impeachmentDemocrat surrogates are already planting seeds for impeachment, without leaving Democrat fingerprints that could foil the plan. The top story in current (February 23, 2014) issue of the National Enquirer blasts Obama over releasing the Taliban Five in exchange for an “Army ‘deserter’”, while a button on the front page proclaims “IMPEACH HIM NOW!” Few realize that executives of American Media, Inc., the owner of the Enquirer, including CEO David J. Pecker, make political contributions exclusively to Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Chicago Mayor (and former Obama chief of staff) Rahm Emmanuel, New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker and former Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL, co-sponsor of articles of impeachment against George W. Bush). The high-profile Enquirer article doesn’t represent a groundswell of public support for impeachment; it’s Democrat dialectic, an old communist strategy.

The strategy isn’t as risky for Obama as it sounds. Like Clinton, Obama would be almost certain to be acquitted by the Senate. Senate Democrats would vote for acquittal even if Obama planted a nuclear warhead inside a baby seal and detonated it at a camp for handicapped children on live television. Even if Republicans would succeed in taking over the senate this year and the impeachment trial were to take place after the change in control, the steadfastly pro-Obama lame stream media would shame enough blue-state Republicans to vote for acquittal to carry the day. Just like 1998. Obama would then play both the race card and the victim card and receive the same post-presidency approval that Clinton enjoys today.

Of course, those who propose impeachment are absolutely right on policy grounds. The simple fact is, our country is in danger every day that Obama is allowed to remain in charge, and he has clearly committed impeachable acts. But unless enough congressional Democrats make impeachment a bipartisan effort to save the country, Republicans should avoid taking the bait. While good policy usually makes for good politics, the impeachment of Barack Obama is an exception.

Why GOP must win big in 2014 senate contests

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

For conservatives in 2014, 6 is a serious number. That’s how many net U.S. Senate seats currently held by Democrats need to be taken over by Republicans this year in order to take control of the chamber away from Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and the Democrats.

Serious. But not serious enough. In order to insure Senate control beyond two years and into the next president’s administration, Republicans realistically need to convert at least 10 current Democrat senate seats, and more would be better.

Republicans need to play this chess game at least one move ahead because of what confronts them in 2016. That is when the seats won in the Tea Party wave of 2010 must be defended in a presidential year in what may well be a less favorable political environment. Vulnerable Republican Senators that year include freshmen holding seats in deep-blue Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Retirements or contentious primaries could also put Republican seats in purple Arizona and Iowa in jeopardy. Here in Missouri, Democrats (and their allies in the press) are already polishing the images of term-limited Gov. Jay Nixon and term-limited State Treasurer Clint Zweifel for possible challenges to freshman Republican Sen. Roy Blunt. Chances for offsetting 2016 GOP pickups of Democrat seats are probably limited to long shots in Colorado and Nevada. Even without coattails from a Democratic presidential win, a net four-seat Republican loss in 2016 is a realistic possibility.

Ten new Republican senate seats are needed in order to make up both the current 6-seat deficit and to allow for a net loss of four in two years. A Republican presidential win in 2016 would shave that number by one by giving the Republican vice-presidential candidate the tie-breaking vote now held by Joe Biden, but the GOP can’t rely on that happening.

Capturing ten or more net seats is a tall task,  but this is the year when it could be done. The seats that are up for election this year are those elected in 2008, when Democrats won by riding a partisan wave generated by the unpopularity of outgoing Republican President George W. Bush and the intriguing “hope and change” campaign of Barack Obama. This year they must fight a counter partisan wave generated by the unpopularity of President Obama and his legislation that every one of them supported. With 2016 lurking on the horizon, Republicans need to maximize their 2014 advantage.

Six current Democrat seats up this year are in red states that both John McCain and Mitt Romney won in their unsuccessful presidential runs. A seventh is in a state that McCain lost but Romney won. Democrats have virtually conceded three of those seats, where incumbent Sens. Max Baucus (MT), Tim Johnson (SD) and Jay Rockefeller (WV) aren’t even seeking re-election, while Republican challengers to Sens. Mark Begich (AK), Mark Pryor (AR), Mary Landrieu (LA) and Kay Hagan (NC) are either already leading in the polls or within striking distance.

Additional seats in purple or blue states are also in serious play. Open seats in Michigan and Iowa are currently tossups, with flawed Democratic candidates. A wave like 2010 could also give Republican challengers a serious chance to oust first-term incumbents in Colorado, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon and Virginia. Republicans have recruited quality challengers in all of those states.

Partially tempering the possible magnitude of the 2014 wave is the possibility that Democrats could seize Republican seats in deep-red Kentucky (where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is unpopular and just survived a contentious primary) and Georgia (where Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ retirement provoked another contentious Republican primary). At present, the personal popularity of blue-state Republican Sen. Susan Collins (ME) appears to keep her seat safe, but circumstances can change (as they did in 2012, when Maine’s other popular Republican senator, Olympia Snowe, retired unexpectedly).

That means Republicans must pretty much run the table of nearly all 17 (15 Democratic and 2 Republican) senate seats reasonably in play in 2014. That means neither the establishment nor the Tea Party can afford the luxury of sitting out an election whose primary their side lost. As I have written before, the worst RINO is still better than the best DINO, because each votes the party line when organizing control of the senate. As Dick Morris recently noted, senate control means, at minimum, control over judicial confirmations and treaty ratification (including the ability to reject unratified treaties that are nevertheless in effect under the Vienna Convention), as well as the ability to join the Republican House in passing good legislation that enjoys broad bipartisan support but is currently being blocked by the Democratic leadership.

Six may be a serious number for St. Louis Cardinals fans seeking cheap drinks at a gas station, but serious Senate math realistically requires Republicans to score not just a minimum six, but a big double-digit conquest this year. Even the historic 1994 Republican takeover of Congress only included 9 new senate seats, and the 2010 Tea Party revolt netted only 7. The Republicans’ most recent double-digit gain was the 12-seat take in 1980, thanks to coattails from Ronald Reagan’s ouster of President Jimmy Carter. We need another Gipper moment this year.

Media continue to whitewash Benghazi

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

Earlier this week, a bipartisan report by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the September 11, 2012 terror attacks on US facilities in Benghazi, Libya laid fault for the U.S. vulnerability to such attacks to incompetence and terrible management decisions on the part of the Obama Administration and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But you’d never know that from coverage by the mainstream media. The coverage of the report by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is illustrative.

The report was significant in that senators from both parties, in a body controlled by the President’s party,  set partisan differences aside and joined together publicly to blame the Administration. Of course, partisan considerations did water down the report by using vague obfuscatory language like “analysts,” “officials,” “policymakers” and classically “those in decision-making positions in Washington, D.C.” instead of identifying either President Barrack Obama or former Secretary of State (and likely 2016 Democratic presidential candidate) Hillary Clinton by name. But anyone who read the report got the point.

The bipartisan report’s official conclusion was that it was “imperative” both that the U.S. intelligence community position itself to anticipate, rather than just react to, potential terrorism hotspots and, most significantly, that “those in decision-making positions in Washington, D.C. heed the concerns and wisdom of those on the front lines and make resource and security decisions with those concerns in mind.”  The bipartisan report concluded pointedly, “The United States government did not meet this standard of care in Benghazi.”

Readers of the Post-Dispatch wouldn’t know that. While the paper did cover the report the next day with the Number 3 front-page article totaling 30 column inches (counting the jump to a back page and headlines on both pages), the report’s official conclusion wasn’t even mentioned. (In contrast, two days earlier, the Post devoted more space (34 column inches) to the week-old controversy about the closure of lanes to a Fort Lee, NJ bridge by the administration of potential Republican presidential candidate Gov. Chris Christie.)

So how do you cover a report without mentioning its official conclusion? The Post‘s highlighted bullet points leading the article in the print edition distributed to subscribers (which does not appear in the current online version of the article) spun three of the report’s 14 specific “Findings” that led to the report’s official conclusion:

  • A tamer finding that operations in Benghazi continued although the mission crossed ‘tripwires’ that should have led to cutting staff or suspending work. (Finding #5)
  • “Analysts” referred “inaccurately” to a protest at the mission, “leading officials” to make “incorrect” statements. (Finding #9) [The report never said that the references to a protest "led" officials to make incorrect statements; the report merely stated that erroneous reports "influenced" the public statements of policymakers.]
  • Blamed deceased Ambassador Chris Stevens for twice declining extra security help (based on facts recited in Finding #2).

The lead in the print edition stated, “The account spreads blame among the State Department, the military and U.S. intelligence for missing what now seems like obvious warning signs.” The current online version blames “systemic failure of security for U.S. diplomats overseas.”

As to former Secretary Clinton, whom the Post and other mainstream media are actively seeking to insulate from blame, instead of identifying her as one of the key policymakers who failed to heed the concerns and wisdom of those on the front lines or to make resource and security decisions with those concerns in mind, the Post wrongly inferred that the report had cleared her. Both the print and online versions state deceptively, “The report does not name Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time and now is a potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate.” In the print edition, that statement appeared under a bolded subhead “CLINTON NOT NAMED.”

In one candid moment, though, the Post account in the print edition did concede that that the Administration’s original characterization of the assault as a spontaneous mob protest against an anti-Islamic video was due to the Administration’s “relunctan[ce] to deal publicly with a terrorist attack weeks before the presidential election.” That validates Republican charges that the Administration deliberately lied to the American public in order to continue its pretense that it had kept the country safe from terrorism. The observation was scrubbed entirely from the current online version.

This is no time to tune out

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

This is a frustrating time for conservatives. President Obama and others in the Democrat Party are shredding the Constitution with abandon en route to creating an entitlement-dependent society ruled by executive fiat. The so-called leadership of the Republican Party is not only failing to call them out, they’re attacking movement conservatives who do. Many movement conservatives I know, admire and respect (like this one) are stating openly that it’s time to give up on the Republican Party.

Don’t do it.

The Democrat Party must be stopped and defeated, and the only political organization that can realistically succeed in doing so is the Republican Party. No new political party has succeeded since the Republicans themselves emerged in the 1850s, and current election laws and modern voter attitudes assure the continuance of the current Democrat-Republican duopoly. All the Republican Party needs to succeed is new leadership. Movement conservatives need to remain part of the party to help replace the failed leadership with principled conservatives. The opportune time to do so is right around the corner.

The 2014 midterm elections should return control of the U.S. Senate to the Republicans and solidify the party’s control of the U.S. House. Historically the President’s party almost always loses big in the second-term midterms, and it appears that the political atmosphere is ripe for a continuance of that trend. The senate seats that are up in 2014 are those that were swept into Democrat hands in 2008, the Democratic wave accompanying Obama’s first election. Republicans need to pick up six net seats to seize control, and seven Democrat-held seats that are up in 2014 are in states carried by Mitt Romney last election. Democrat incumbents in three of them have already surrendered by retiring, and the other four red-state Democrats are in big trouble. And if a big wave develops, up to five more seats in blue or purple states could also flip to the GOP. These include open seats in Iowa and Michigan and Democrat incumbents in New Hampshire, Colorado and even Minnesota. Despite the best efforts of the President, his party and their mouthpieces in the mainstream media, public attention is firmly focused on the failure of Obamacare and how the Democrats they elected lied to them about it. A big wave that snares as many as 11 seats, though a stretch, is nevertheless entirely possible.

In the House, both parties will trade vulnerable seats, but Republicans could still pick up a couple handfuls of net new seats.

Some conservatives have complained, with some justification, that Republican control won’t matter if control is turned over to the current RINO leadership of the party. But the current leadership doesn’t have to be the leadership that takes control in 2015. Even if Mitch McConnell survives his primary against conservative Matt Bevin, grassroots conservatives can and should pressure Republican senators to elect a new majority leader. How about leaving the leadership position in Kentucky, in the capable, principled hands of Rand Paul! Similarly in the House, the party can and should replace Speaker John Boehner with a reliable conservative like Georgia Rep. Tom Price.

Conservatives took control of the party away from moneyed “Me Too” establishment liberals in the 1960s and again when Ronald Reagan ascended to power. We can do it again. This is accomplished by strong conservative showings in contested 2014 primaries. Weak-kneed members like Sen. Roy Blunt, who currently succumb to Obama and Reid, can be made to succumb instead to ascendant conservative power. It has happened before. It can, and must, happen again. (UPDATE: Just days after Blunt urged U.S. House members to ignore conservative groups’ calls to defeat the Murray-Ryan budget deal, Blunt saw the light and voted against it.)

But in order to achieve strong conservative showings in the upcoming primaries and thereby influence other senators and representatives, disgusted principled conservatives need to hang in there to fight that fight. As tempting as bailing out may seem, that would be counterproductive and foolish.

Junior college candidate attacks Tea Party

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

In the non-partisan contest for Trustee of the Junior College District for St. Louis Community College (City and County of St. Louis),  subdistrict 3, one candidate, Allison Stenger, has attacked her opponent, incumbent Trustee Joan McGivney, for being (gasp!) a friend of the Tea Party. In a glossy, full-color mailing, Stenger says she will “stand up to Joan McGivney and her Tea Party friends.”

Apparently Stenger regards the Tea Party to be so negative, so repulsive, that she can win votes by tying her opponent to it, even worth fabricating such a connection. I have never seen McGivney at a Tea Party function. Of course, Stenger merely implied, without actually saying, that McGivney is a Tea Partier; the reference was to McGivney “and her Tea Party friends.” So, Stenger must think it’s evil merely to befriend a Tea Partier!

McGivney, Stenger’s opponent, has been a college trustee for just under a year, having won a special election for an unexpired term last year, when she defeated former Claire McCaskill campaign aide (now State Rep.) Bob Burns (D-Lemay). McGivney has 23 years of real-world work experience, including her own small business and 17 years as a Southwestern Bell executive. According to the Webster-Kirkwood Times, her resume is loaded with dedicated public service, having served on her local city council and school board, as a volunteer tutor at OASIS, and as a mentor at St. Louis City public schools. The Times notes that she was Webster Groves Citizen of the Year in 2002.

In contrast, Stenger’s qualifications are pretty slim. She doesn’t even have a campaign web site or Facebook page, probably because there’s nothing to say. Just turned 26, she has been out of school for less than a year. She is a personal injury attorney with the firm for whom she clerked during law school. During that clerkship she married one of the firm’s partners, St. Louis County Councilman Steve Stenger (D-Affton), 41, whose name and photograph appear prominently in her campaign materials. So, she filled in the gaps in her resume by cheap-shotting the Tea Party.

Stenger’s other “qualification” is her willingness to be the pawn of teachers unions, who want to oust the college’s chancellor. Teachers unions oppose McGivney because she acts independently of special interests, including the teachers unions, and bases her decisions on facts. McGivney also acts as a guardian of taxpayers interests, which are often at odds with those of the unions.

From the standpoint of good government, it makes sense that the management of the Junior College District’s multimillion dollar budget is better entrusted to a thoughtful, experienced taxpayer advocate than someone just a year out of school who would owe her election to unions representing the district’s employees.

And from the standpoint of the Tea Party, now it’s personal. Just like the Starbucks CEO’s recent declaration that opponents of same sex marriage are no longer welcome at his stores, Stenger’s pledge to “stand up to Joan McGivney and her Tea Party friends” makes it clear that Stenger does not want Tea Party votes. And McGivney’s taxpayer advocacy and independence from special interests also make her attractive to Tea Party supporters, even if she isn’t actually a member.

Jr. College candidate attacks Tea Party

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

In the non-partisan contest for Trustee of the Junior College District for St. Louis Community College (City and County of St. Louis),  subdistrict 3, one candidate, Allison Stenger, has attacked her opponent, incumbent Trustee Joan McGivney, for being (gasp!) a friend of the Tea Party. In a glossy, full-color mailing, Stenger says she will “stand up to Joan McGivney and her Tea Party friends.”

Apparently Stenger regards the Tea Party to be so negative, so repulsive, that she can win votes by tying her opponent to it, even worth fabricating such a connection. I have never seen McGivney at a Tea Party function. Of course, Stenger merely implied, without actually saying, that McGivney is a Tea Partier; the reference was to McGivney “and her Tea Party friends.” So, Stenger must think it’s evil merely to befriend a Tea Partier!

McGivney, Stenger’s opponent, has been a college trustee for just under a year, having won a special election for an unexpired term last year, when she defeated former Claire McCaskill campaign aide (now State Rep.) Bob Burns (D-Lemay). McGivney has 23 years of real-world work experience, including her own small business and 17 years as a Southwestern Bell executive. According to the Webster-Kirkwood Times, her resume is loaded with dedicated public service, having served on her local city council and school board, as a volunteer tutor at OASIS, and as a mentor at St. Louis City public schools. The Times notes that she was Webster Groves Citizen of the Year in 2002.

In contrast, Stenger’s qualifications are pretty slim. She doesn’t even have a campaign web site or Facebook page, probably because there’s nothing to say. Just turned 26, she has been out of school for less than a year. She is a personal injury attorney with the firm for whom she clerked during law school. During that clerkship she married one of the firm’s partners, St. Louis County Councilman Steve Stenger (D-Affton), 41, whose name and photograph appear prominently in her campaign materials. So, she filled in the gaps in her resume by cheap-shotting the Tea Party.

Stenger’s other “qualification” is her willingness to be the pawn of teachers unions, who want to oust the college’s chancellor. Teachers unions oppose McGivney because she acts independently of special interests, including the teachers unions, and bases her decisions on facts. McGivney also acts as a guardian of taxpayers interests, which are often at odds with those of the unions.

From the standpoint of good government, it makes sense that the management of the Junior College District’s multimillion dollar budget is better entrusted to a thoughtful, experienced taxpayer advocate than someone just a year out of school who would owe her election to unions representing the district’s employees.

And from the standpoint of the Tea Party, now it’s personal. Just like the Starbucks CEO’s recent declaration that opponents of same sex marriage are no longer welcome at his stores, Stenger’s pledge to “stand up to Joan McGivney and her Tea Party friends” makes it clear that Stenger does not want Tea Party votes. And McGivney’s taxpayer advocacy and independence from special interests also make her attractive to Tea Party supporters, even if she isn’t actually a member.

Sabato’s partisan rant re: electoral college reform

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

I like Larry Sabato, his Crystal Ball column and the fine work of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. But his post criticizing a proposal to reform the Electoral College falls well short of the standards ordinarily maintained by him and his organization. His thesis is easily unraveled, and it seems to be transparently based on concern that the change could hurt Democrats.

The proposal at issue would change the Electoral College by awarding one electoral vote to the winner of each individual congressional district and the state’s remaining two electoral votes to the statewide winner, the way Maine and Nebraska already award their electoral votes. The other 48 states and District of Columbia currently award electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis.

Crystal Ball‘s hyperbolic headline screams that the plan would “undermine democracy.” Sabato’s personal comment called the proposal “truly rotten” and claimed that it would “fix and game the Electoral College” to benefit Republicans.

Really?

The main analysis, penned by Senior Columnist Prof. Alan Abramowitz, claims the such a plan would have changed the result of the 2012 election because of gerrymandered congressional districts, specifically citing Republican-drawn plans in Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, all states that Obama carried last year. But those states’ plans weren’t particularly gerrymandered or even unfair. Abramowitz failed to mention the most blatant gerrymanders, by Republicans in North Carolina, by Democrats in Illinois, and by a nominally non-partisan board in California. Since Romney won North Carolina statewide, the proposed plan would actually have given Obama some electors from that state that he did not receive under the current system. The reverse would have been true in Illinois and California.

Whining about gerrymandering ignores the fact that who benefits from gerrymandering changes over time. In Missouri, for example, the current Republican-drawn map, which caused the state’s loss of a seat from decennial reapportionment to come at the Democrats’ expense, represented the first time Republicans had drawn the state’s map since 1920. The liberally oriented main stream academics and media rarely objected when unfair redistricting favored Democrats.

The real reason that the proposed plan would have given the Republican nominee an electoral majority in 2012 even though the Democrat won the national popular vote by several million votes (and why Republicans control the House of Representatives even though Democratic congressional candidates outpolled Republican candidates nationally) is because of housing patterns. People who vote Democratic tend to congregate in metropolitan areas filled with people who think and vote like themselves, while people who vote Republican are more geographically dispersed. In the McKinley/Teddy Roosevelt era, the politics were exactly reversed, with Republicans dominating most cities and Democrats dominating most rural areas. (The red/blue state map of McKinley’s 1896 election is virtually a mirror image of the 2000 election, except for five states not then admitted to the Union.)

The rationale for the Electoral College is to give relevance to a broader geographical range of voters. When George W. Bush was criticized that he had won unfairly and against the will of the people in 2000, he explained that he would have campaigned differently if the popular vote had determined the outcome, but he campaigned according to the rules in place. Barack Obama did exactly the same thing, surgically concentrating on just ten “swing” states. Electing the president by the popular vote would put a premium on appealing to geographically concentrated voters who could be reached most economically, to the detriment of everyone else. That would shift attention away from most “swing” states, mostly to the benefit of single-party machine areas. Since Democrats are geographically concentrated, that plan would favor Democrats. And that bias would presumably be just fine for liberal academics.

Balkanizing presidential election returns into separate, independent elections (51 current jurisdictions, 486 under the proposal) insulates the election from fraud (whether by multiple or ineligible voting, voter suppression, or logistical problems with overseas and military ballots) by isolating its impact to a single area that is already likely to vote for the party that would benefit from the fraud. A few political machines (either urban Democrat or rural Republican) are in a better position to steal a national election in a larger election than in 51 or 486 smaller ones. For example, under the current system, the Chicago Democratic machine allegedly changed the outcome of the razor-thin 1960 election by swinging Illinois’ electoral votes to Kennedy with late reporting votes. (Democrats may prefer confused butterfly ballot voting in Florida in 2000 as an election-changing example.) Under a popular vote system, a few like-minded machines could manufacture millions of phony votes and steal an election that wasn’t close. Under the district vote proposal, they could have only affected congressional districts that they were going to win anyway, plus the two statewide votes.

The proposed reform would bring the election results closer to the people by giving relevance to their individual district, while still giving some attention to statewide results. The voices (and votes) of urban Democrats in Missouri and Texas and rural Republicans in Illinois and California would actually matter. Overall, that would currently favor Republicans. At other times (e.g., 1945-1980) it would favor Democrats. And the system that’s in place now isn’t really all that bad.

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