Hardball | December 07, 2012
>>> a potentially big electoral story developing in pennsylvania that you need to hear about. the state 's 20 electoral votes went for president obama this year, of course, as is the case in all but two states. the winner of a state 's popular vote takes all its electoral votes . now a republican leader in the state of pennsylvania -- or the commonwealth i should say wants to change the rules of the game . state senate majority leader dominick peg leg give announced he plans to introduce legislation to change how the state allocates its electoral votes . according to mother jones magazine , the new rule would divvy up the vote proportionally based on vote based on the percentage of the vote. instead of getting 20, a winner in a closely divided state might get 11 or 12 votes. why does he want to change the rules? could it be because the state has gone for the democratic presidential candidate ? for now, we turn to david corn of mother jones and ron reagan , an msnbc political analyst joining me. i want to start with ron . why would they want to change the ee lk tolectoral state like pennsylvania ? why would they do that?
>> well, i think the republicans have examined the playing field as it were and through long and bitter experience they have come to the conclusion that is it is very difficult for them to win on a national level unless they cheat. so they are going to cheat any way that they can. we saw it in the vote suppression. that didn't work out so well. so let's just change systemically the way we change the votes and in states like pennsylvania , ohio, michigan , florida, like that, these are the battleground states that we need to win and we're narrowly losing them now so let's at least try to get some of the electoral college votes out of this and tip the election.
>> ron , you know why he's with him? it's not about the voter suppression . the 60 some counties that always go republican, they can't stand the fact that philadelphia and pittsburgh, large urban population -- minority populations, they just can't stand that fact that that affects the statewide results. so i've got an idea. why don't we divide it up? so we get a chunk anyway if we lose the cities.
>> like michigan , pennsylvania , new york -- at least where you have a large big city and minorities, they like to cut them off.
>> the thing is, there are no rules in the constitution about picking electors to the electoral college . every state gets to --
>> why do they --
>> it became the consensus position over time . that winner takes all. if you wanted to do the system, could you make the argument that you should drop off electoral votes by population in every state . that would be fair if you did that in every state , in which case it would reflect the popular vote . but that's not what they are doing here and they tried to do this before this election and even a more weighted way. if you win the congressional district , you get the electoral from that district and under that situation, obama winning pennsylvania would have gotten seven out of the 20 electoral votes .
>> ron , fb you're in a minority community, it seems that you want it the way it is now because leverage in from michigan to detroit, for example. or chicago. if it was just every person and you didn't give that bloc vote power to people, be they would currently be a minority and permanent nently out of power because you would look around for other votes. that's a thought.
>> that's exactly right. forget about proportioning electoral votes , what if we just went to a national popular vote . the republicans would never win the white house if we had a national popular vote . they seem to think that people who live in cities are like some kind of strange alien. they are not really an american. the urban votes that count are in small burbs and in the rural areas.
>> most americans live in citieses.
>> that's what he said, we would have done well, we would have done well if it wasn't for the urban vote, which is most people.
>> here's the rationale for the move. quote, anyone who voted for governor romney does not have any relekz on that vote or reflected in the electoral college vote. just an attempt to have the popular vote reflected in the electoral vote . that's an argument that a lot of my liberal friends are against it, too. they would like to see it go popular. the idea is to see people spend time in the big states instead of racing around the country. there are arguments back and forth but this one has the look of partisanship. your thoughts, ron ?
>> clearly this is partisanship. the republicans know that they cannot win nationalitily in an honest election. if everyone votes , republicans never win. they are coraling people in certain districts or to keep them from voting. absolutely it's partisan.
>> of course, the republicans are fighting, as we discussed, a very big demographic tide that's not going in their direction. i still think they can win elections in the future with the right candidate versus the wrong candidate. but the tide's against him.
>> or any incouple bnt.
>> right. so they are looking for schemes. they can do this with dark money as well. they can do it with voter suppression and the gap is still narrow enough that if you sort of get enough schemes going and different fronts and different states, maybe you can cobble together a victory next time. eventually that's going to be harder for them to do but this is about the next 4, 8 years and they are looking to where they can go.
>> it's like in lebanon they have a 1930 census. thank you, david corn , thank you ron reagan .
>>> when we return, let me finish with the fight for freedom for all. the supreme court is taking up marriage equality . what a big decision. you're watching "hardball," a place