According to Michigan Radio, state Republicans, despite the serious push-back they’ve been getting from voters, and the fact that a similar measure has apparently fizzled in Virginia, have every intention of moving forward with plans to radically change the way our electoral votes are cast for President in hopes of making it more likely for a Republican to win the presidency. Here’s a clip:
State House Republican leaders say they have no plans to scrap discussions about splitting Michigan’s Electoral College votes between congressional districts.
Both Governor Rick Snyder and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville have said they’re not on board with the idea. Snyder says it would be better to consider changes closer to the next census, when congressional lines are re-drawn.
But House Speaker Jase Bolger said there’s no reason to wait that long.
“This should not be a conversation about party. This certainly should not be a conversation – and is not, at this point – a conversation about who might win, because we don’t know who the candidates are. So this is the time to have that conversation, when a presidential election is not ongoing,” he said…
For what it’s worth, Representative Peter Lund, the author of the bill which would, if passed, end Michigan’s winner-take-all system, and replace it with a scheme in which electoral votes are split up and awarded from each individual congressional district independently, said yesterday that, despite what Bolger has suggested, he’s in no hurry to introduce the legislation. The following clip comes from Gary Heinlein’s piece in yesterday’s Detroit News.
…A bill he sponsored last year failed to gain support and died at the end of the legislative session. Lund said that’s partly because GOP lawmakers thought Romney had a chance to win the state’s popular vote and get all 16 electoral votes.
Lund, whose bill was in the hopper for most of the last two-year session, said Tuesday he’s not personally motivated by such concerns.
He said now is the perfect time to debate the change because the next election is far off and so are no such calculations to be made.
“We’ve got 45 weeks until it matters,” he said. “I’m still going to do it but I’m not in a hurry; it’s not a priority right now.”..
Given how the right-to-work legislation came about after our Governor assured us that it “wasn’t on (his) agenda,” I’m not inclined to say that we’re out of danger on this issue, but I really don’t see how it’s likely at this point that the Republicans will make a move, despite the statements made by Bolger. Of course, I could be wrong, but I suspect, if they were going to do it, they probably would have done it by now. As far as I can tell, though, there’s really no impetus for them to push it through during this legislative session, when the next Presidential election is four years off, and they don’t yet know who their candidate will be, or whether their party might have a shot of winning Michigan – taking all 16 electoral votes for their side. Of course, the odds are against them. The people of Michigan haven’t voted for a Republican since 1988, when George Bush the Elder faced off against Mike Dukakis. But I’m sure they’re convinced that this time might be different, and they might be able, thought various voter suppression efforts, and misleading campaign ads, to win the majority of votes. And I suppose this is a good thing for us that they have this evil, little glimmer of hope, as it buys us time. So, what do we do now? How do we make good use of this time, and work to ensure that this change isn’t made a year or two from now, when they decide to go for it, in hopes of securing 9 of Michigan’s 16 electoral votes for their candidate?
[note: Those who are interested in the specifics might want to check out our discussion from a few days ago, which goes into quite a bit more detail on this issue.]