It’s an interesting proposal.
Madison - Gov. Scott Walker is open to having Wisconsin allocate its Electoral College votes based on results from each congressional district - a move that would offer Republicans a chance to score at least a partial victory in a state that has gone Democratic in the last seven presidential elections.
Like 47 other states, Wisconsin grants all its electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the statewide vote. Two states - Nebraska and Maine - give two electoral votes to the statewide winner and parcel out the rest by congressional district. As it happens, all their votes have gone to a single candidate, except in 2008, when one electoral vote in Omaha was given to Barack Obama.
Now, the news story paints this as a partisan debate, and it certainly is. It’s generally coming from states that went to Obama with Republican governors as a way to blunt Democratic presidential victories in their states. But let’s look at it from the perspective of good government.
I should stipulate that I do support the electoral college system. It has served us well. The way that states allocate electoral college voters has been done a lot of different ways over the years. In the past, some states have had voters directly elect the electors and not even vote for presidential candidates. States have had electors chosen by the state legislatures. States have allocated electors by percentage of the vote. In recent history, most states use a “winner take all” system and the winning political party selects the electors. But a few states continue to allocate electoral votes by congressional district. To be blunt, it’s completely up to the state. We can do it any way we want.
So let’s look at assigning Electoral College electors by congressional district. From the point of fairness, it makes some sense. Particularly in Wisconsin, we have some very red and some very blue areas. Five of Wisconsin’s eight congressional districts are currently held by Republicans, so such a proposal would currently benefit Republicans. But really only one - perhaps two - of those districts are rock-solid Republican districts. It wasn’t that long ago that five of them were held by Democrats. But splitting electors by congressional districts at least gives the minority some say in the presidential election. As it is, if one part wins by a single vote, then every single elector goes to the winner and the other 49.999% is left without any say.
From a political point of view, the winner take all system is great for Wisconsin. Let’s face it, with just ten elector votes, Wisconsin was a relatively small prize for a presidential candidate. Yet because we are a divided state and the electoral results were uncertain, the candidates spent an inordinate amount of time and money in Wisconsin. While many of us grew tired of the unending campaign, the other side of the coin is being Texas or New York, who were completely ignored.
All told, I think it’s an interesting and healthy exercise to examine how we do things and decide if it’s still the best way to do it. Just because Wisconsin has been allocating electors as it has for many years is no argument for it being the best way. I’m not confident that allocating electors by congressional district is the best method. In fact, I think it’s less agreeable than the winner take all method. But there are other ways. Both Republicans and Democrats should think about these things beyond the confines of recent elections and look to what is best for the people of Wisconsin.
Frankly, I’m a bit insulted that I’ve never been fired for being too hot.
After working as a dental assistant for ten years, Melissa Nelson was fired for being too “irresistible” and a “threat” to her employer’s marriage.
“I think it is completely wrong,” Nelson said. “I think it is sending a message that men can do whatever they want in the work force.”
On Friday, the all-male Iowa State Supreme Court ruled that James Knight, Nelson’s boss, was within his legal rights when he fired her, affirming the decision of a lower court.
Note, the case revolved around her behavior coupled with her looks, but still…