Republicans started part one of their diabolical two part scheme in the slimiest way imaginable on Monday; waiting for civil rights attorney, Senator Henry Marsh, to leave town for President Obama’s inauguration on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, before holding a vote to redistrict parts of Virginia. Now they plan to change the Electoral College rules to rig the game in their favor. The writing is on the wall and the TEApublicans see it plain and clear. The People of the United States are tired of their antiquated ideas and are ready to leave the Grand Old Party in the dust. They don’t plan to go quietly though, and if they can’t win on their ever harder to find merits, they’ll cheat their way into the White House if we don’t stop them.
Watch Rachel Maddow: “GOP Advances New Rules to Help Republican Presidential Candidates”
We have been documenting over the last few days what appears to be a coordinated effort by republicans in a number of key states to change the rules for electing a president. To change the rules so essentially democrats running for president cannot win. Each of these states voted twice for Democrat Barack Obama for president, and each of these states at the state level is under complete Republican control. Republicans control both chambers of the legislature and the governorship. Republicans are talking about using that state level power to change the rules in each of these states for electing the president.
They’re able to consider doing this because of the success they had in drawing up local legislative districts and congressional district seats after 2010. They drew those maps very strategically so that even if more people vote for Democrats, republicans still win a majority of seats, and they’re proud of it. Look, Republicans in late December posted this memo about their redistricting program, which they call “redmap.” They’re bragging about not just the program, but its effect on the national elections. Quote, Democratic candidates for the U.S. House won 1.1 million more votes in 2012 than their Republican opponents. The speaker of the House of Representatives is a Republican, and presides over a 33-seat house republican majority. And that’s because of Republicans’ vision and foresight in drawing the maps.
So it’s not like republicans are the only ones that have ever done this. but right now republicans are really psyched that they did this. For a very specific reason. they successfully tilted the playing field in their favor for these house races. it really, really paid off. but the way it would really, really pay off is what they would like to do next. They would now like to make that same tilted playing field that they tilted for the House; they would like to make that the same playing field on which we decide the presidency. The national chairman of the Republican Party Reince Priebus says he supports the idea of states changing their Electoral College rules. The Wisconsin governor Scott Walker says he is intrigued by this idea. The Michigan governor, Rick Snyder, says he is open to talking about this idea.
Last night we reported on related news out of the state of Virginia. The Virginia state Senate. Virginia republicans waited until this one particular democratic senator, a noted civil rights lawyer named Henry Marsh, they waited until senator marsh left town on Monday for the day to go to the inauguration of President Obama. Virginia republicans had to wait until he was gone because the state senate is equally divided in Virginia, 20 republicans and 20 democrats. But with Henry Marsh gone for the day, it’s no longer an even divide, right? It’s 20-19. With that advantage, republicans decided to spring on the senate and spring on the entire state a whole new set of “redmaps.” a whole new set of gerrymandered maps for the state, drafted to put republicans in charge in Virginia effectively permanently. Because they did it when Henry Marsh was away, republicans succeeded in this plan by one vote. In their stealth attack to change the maps. That one vote was the missing vote of the senator who had gone to the inauguration. That’s how they started the week. Now Virginia republicans are moving on to the next part of it.
They’re moving on to the Electoral College scheme part of it, using the same maps they have gerrymandered for a permanent republican advantage at the state level to also dispute Virginia’s Electoral College votes when it comes to voting for president. Today a Virginia subcommittee sent a bill to that effect to the full committee, and in that full committee, a 10-5 republican majority appears poised to send the bill to the full senate, which, again, is evenly divided. And where if it is a 20-20 tie, because they vote on a day that everybody is there, then this is the guy who will get to decide the tie, republican lieutenant governor Bill Bolling. He will get to break the tie in the event of a 20-20 vote. And he, the tiebreaker was the statewide chair of the Mitt Romney for president campaign. He will get to break the tie. if the system Virginia republicans are pushing now had been in place in 2012, Barack Obama would still have received 150,000 more votes than Mitt Romney in 2012 in Virginia, but the electoral college vote from Virginia would have been four votes for Barack Obama and nine votes for mitt Romney. i wonder why they want to make that change?
The action today in Virginia is the first of its kind in the nation. What we have been covering is republicans making noises about doing this across the country wherever they can. We’ve been covering democrats bracing for the prospect of moves like this all across the country, not just in Virginia, but in Wisconsin and Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania. And in Pennsylvania, the republicans have a bill in committee. Virginia is the first state to actually get on with it and start moving it forward. This is a big story, and it is gathering steam. We’ll keep you posted.