On The Road to the White House – PA Electoral College Vote Proposal
Pennsylvania State Senator Dominic Pileggi recently introduced a proposal to change the awarding of Pennsylvania’s allotted Electoral College votes in a Presidential General Election. Currently, Pennsylvania employs a ‘winner take all’ strategy with her Electoral College Votes. The graphic above shows the distribution of election results from the 2008 Presidential general election. Barack Obama carried the state with 59% of the vote and was awarded all PA Electoral College votes. For those just coming up to speed with U.S. elections, the dark blue areas are districts where Obama garnered most of his winning 59 percentage points, the red areas of the state represent McCain Palin victories.
The image below gives a more detailed look at how the counties fell in 2008:
What is apparent in looking at both of these graphics is the defining role Allegheny and Philadelphia areas have in determining the winner of all of our State Electoral votes.
State Senator Pileggi’s proposal would amend the rules to have Electoral College (EC) votes awarded based on district vote winners. Two states, Maine and Nebraska, have adopted a similar EC vote rule.
Democrat State Senator Daylin Leach responded to this proposal by labeling it as “an obscene, transparent, blatantly partisan change in the rules, designed for one purpose only; to help Republican Presidential candidates.” If this proposal were active during the 2008 election, McCain would have been awarded 10 EC votes and Obama would have received 11. This change in the distribution of Electoral College votes would not have affected the outcome of the 2008 presidential election. Leach’s statement greatly stretches the potential effect of this change based on the evidence.
Opponents cite establishment GOP figures such as PA GOP Boss, Rob Gleason, expressing no confidence in State Senator Pileggi’s proposal. PA GOP Boss, Rob Gleason is mentioned by Capital Wire’s DeCoursey: Gleason told advocates of this that after his party-building in Philadelphia and its suburbs, he expects to win all 20 of the state’s electoral votes for the GOP candidate. Excuse me? Did Gleason admit to party building in Philadelphia? Recall, in 2008 Obama swept Philadelphia and her suburbs . November 2010, Grass root TeaParty groups, The Loyal Opposition and Americans For Prosperity brought in technology and boots on the ground which were instrumental in unseating several democrats from Congressional seats in the suburbs. Yet again,evidence contradicts these opposing statements.
As a corollary to this proposal, California recently changed its awarding electoral college votes, giving them to the candidate who wins the popular vote. Just imagine the implosion in California when they must award their EC votes to the conservative candidate. Pushing that delicious image aside, California becomes the ninth state to give their EC votes to the candidate with the national popular vote. A quick look at population size of the nation’s largest cities and states and it becomes evident that simply using the popular vote to decide national races will leave the nations most densely populated areas – California and the Northeast to decide the winner. It’s Pennsylvania on a national scale.
Pennsylvania is purple state, State Senator Pileggi’s proposal recognizes this reality and brings better representation of votes of the citizens of Pennsylvania. If one is to believe the prevailing polling winds regarding the 2012 Presidential election, Obama will be lucky to garner 1 EC vote in this state. Then again, if the polls are wrong and with no EC vote change, Obama walks away with Pennsylvania’s 20 EC votes.
Food for thought, indeed. Comments, thoughts, questions?