Friday, September 16, 2011
More Conservative Shenanigans
Left unsaid, and unremarked on, is that millions of Pennsylvanians live in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and their surrounding suburbs, compared to the thousands that live elsewhere. Pennsylvania's largest counties, by population, all surround major urban areas. This is not surprising. These areas also trend Democratic. The more rural areas, counties with populations less than 100,000 comprise more than half of the Commonwealth's count of counties, and contain a fraction of the population. If you added the entire population of Pennsylvania's 28 smallest counties, those with populations under 50,000, they don't even add up to the number living in just Allegheny.
Now, this push comes just as Harrisburg is set to redraw congressional boundaries. Gerrymandering is bad enough as it is, but this is an invitation to seriously screw with the system by creating freakish district boundaries to further dilute the influence of Pennsylvania's majority party. Oh and don't expect relief from the state Supreme Court, which is in the hands of the GOP.
Nebraska and Maine already have the system the Pennsylvania GOP is pushing. But the two states' small electoral vote values mean it's actually mathematically impossible for a candidate to win the popular vote there but lose the electoral vote, says Akhil Reed Amar, a constitutional law professor at Yale University. Pennsylvania, however, is a different story: "It might be very likely to happen in [Pennsylvania], and that's what makes this something completely new under the sun," Amar says. "It's something that no previous legislature in America since the Civil War has ever had the audacity to impose."
Ever wonder why they're only pushing this in blue states, and not places like Texas? Oh, and why are Republicans in Nebraska backing a plan to return that state to winner take all?