Electoral Quotas for a White Majority
by Asa Gordon
REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS are intent on establishing a neo-Redemptionist Electoral College that will only reflect the majority will of white people as “[T]he Republican Party becomes more and more a white folks’ party”. (“The GOP is trying to rig the electoral college,” Harold Meyerson, Washington Post, Sept. 21, 2011).
The original politics of Redemption was to to reclaim the South for white Democratic, one-party rule in the U.S. South following the First Reconstruction of the 1860s. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redemption_(United_States_history)]. The GOP’s neo-Redemptionist Electoral College would claim the Nation for white Republican, one-party rule in the U.S. from the Second Reconstruction of the 1960s.
The Republican party has demonstrated that it can unambiguously embrace a white partisan majority that represents a national minority, whereas the Democratic party has proved to be ambivalent in embracing a national majority that embraces the collective will of non-white minorities.
The Washington Post’s recent cynical editorial (“A cynical GOP move, If you can’t win the election, change the rules,” Oct. 16, 2011) on the GOP’s “Rigging the Electoral College” declares:
“State [Pennsylvania] Senate Majority Leader Dominic F. Pileggi (R) has introduced a bill that would shift Pennsylvania from a winner-take-all system to one that awards electoral votes by congressional district, as Maine and Nebraska do. Mr. Pileggi and other supporters of the switch say that a district-based approach better reflects the will of all of Pennsylvania’s voters. ”
What the supporters fail to say, and what the Washington Post editorial fails to report, is that the switch to a district-based approach best reflects the will of not all but a specific subset of Pennsylvania’s voters: those who are white.
In the 2008 Presidential election, Barack Obama, with about 55 percent of the popular vote, was awarded all of Pennsylvania’s 21 electoral votes under the “Winner-take-all” rule. John McCain, with about 45 percent of Pennsylvania’s popular vote, was awarded zero. Supporters of the Pileggi District plan pose the question, how can a system that ignores nearly half the votes cast by the state’s residents be considered fair? The GOP has posed the right question, but presents the wrong answer.
Let us do the math for the 2008 Presidential Election. (The Congressional district data is from the Swing State Project). The math exposes that Pileggi’s District plan does not provide redress for an unfair distribution of Presidential electors that fails to reflect the will of Pennsylvania’s voters, but in fact provides a disproportionate allocation of electors that favors the choice of Pennsylvania’s white electorate. Let us examine what the results would have been for Pennsylvania’s voters if the Pileggi plan had been in effect for the 2008 Presidential Election. Under the Pileggi plan, John McCain would have been granted 11 electoral votes by virtue of winning 11 congressional districts. Indeed, Senator McCain won 3 districts that were represented by Democrats in the House. Obama would have been awarded 8 for the 8 congressional districts he won, plus two for carrying the state’s popular vote for a total of 10. That is, McCain would have been awarded a majority, 52%, of Pennsylvania’s electors as opposed to Obama’s 48%, a clear undemocratic reversal in the allocation of electors compared to Obama’s popular vote victory. Is this fair?
In fact, Pileggi’s District plan disproportionately allocates Pennsylvania’s electors in a manner that exaggerates McCain’ s 51% popular vote majority among Pennsylvania’s white voters. The 2010 census has provided the opportunity for Pennsylvania’s Republican legislature and governor to redraw the district lines to further bias Pennsylvania’s electors to augment the choice of Pennsylvania’s white voters.
Clearly, Pileggi’s plan makes no attempt to redress the electoral college’s bias against popular- vote majorities. Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania’s Republican governor, like other swing states under GOP control, supports the Pileggi plan. Under GOP District plans, Obama could carry Michigan, and Ohio’s popular vote as a result of large concentrations of minorities in urban areas and still lose most of those states’ electoral votes.
Overlooked, (by design) by the GOP lawmakers and in the rigged reporting of the main stream media on this issue is the obvious truth: The fairest apportionment of presidential electors is to allocate them on the basis of a popular vote split within the state as a whole. By this rule the number of electors awarded would have been 12 for Obama and 9 for McCain, a proportional distribution that accurately and fairly reflects the will of all of Pennsylvania’s voters. To overlook this more democratic method of allocating electors that mathematically represent the will of all of the people and instead select a rule that distorts the will of the people in order to allocate electors reflecting the majority choice of one group of white people is racist as a mathematical fact, i.e. the Pileggi plan is a white supremacist plan by intent, design and result. Note that the media often misrepresents the District Plan as a “proportional system.” As we have seen, it is surely not.
“The electoral college, after all was created out of a compromise so that Southern whites wouldn’t be outvoted by Northerners in the House of Representatives or in presidential elections. The compromise was to tally slaves in apportioning congressional districts among the states, and then award the presidency to the winner of the states’ electoral vote, not of the nationwide popular count.” (“The GOP is trying to rig the electoral college,” Harold Meyerson, Washington Post, Sept. 21, 2011).
The GOP’s Tea Party constitutional “originalist” movement seeks to preserve the legacy of this original racial quota for white minorities through the establishment of a neo-Redemptionist Electoral College.
Asa Gordon, Chair of the DC Statehood Green Party Electoral College Task Force and Executive Director of the Douglass Institute of Government currently has a Civil Action pending in the United States District Court to Democratize the Electoral College. (See http://www.electors.us).