Hardball | January 25, 2013
>>> we're back. we've been reporting this week on efforts by republicans in some states to change the way votes are counted in order to give republicans a major advantage in future presidential elections . it's an effort that has picked up the most steam so far in virginia . the legislation was introduced there that would allocate their votes based on congressional districts rather than winner take all. the goal seems obvious, to dilute the urban vote, the ethnic vote or the black vote or whatever you call it. last night i called it mickey mouse gimmick to win elections without having to actually win the most number of votes. thankfully not all republicans have joineded mickey mouse club on this one and there are indications today, good news for everybody, that the virginia bill might be heading toward defeat. state senator ralph smith , a republican, said this morning he thought the plan was a bad idea, and virginia governor bob mcdonnell also said today he was opposed to it. also today former mississippi governor haley barbour told an agree ya mivenel he was skeptical of the plan. let's listen.
>> i like it the way it is, but as i say, i'm more of a more of a traditionalist conservative. if people want to do that, it's obvious that states have the right to do that.
>> republican legislatures in michigan, in pennsylvania, in ohio are proceeding with it. i'm just asking is this the right move for the party nationally?
>> as i said, i would not be for it. i don't think there's any sort of national movement .
>> well, more republicans come to their senses. we'll see. steve and hillary shlton, senior vice president for policy and advocacy at the naacp. when you first heard about this, what did it smell like to you? what was your sense of why people would be doing this kind of thing? breaking up the states by electoral college so that the rural states would have more clout. what did you smell?
>> it seemed like a real fraudulent approach to try to undercut the process. at a time when we should be moving as a nation to make sure we're more democratic in the process so more americans can participate, to make sure that the outcome of our elections are consistent with the popular decisions made by those going to the polls. we have this move to undercut all of that. it's a big problem and it really stinks in so many ways.
>> that's what i think. just talking about the state i grew up, in pennsylvania, where you have a large minority population in philadelphia. it's not all black, it's half and half . but the fact is, that's where the democratic race is. and you've got an 85% turn out for president obama . basically, all of those votes would be treated like any other city. in other words, philadelphia won by 500,000. that would all be ignored by this new system. you know what's going on here. what they're saying is ignore the numbers, go to county by county, basically, counting this thing.
>> well, absolutely. and then we take a good look, what ends up happening is we have to figure out how to rectify that americans came out and said it's one of the effective democracies on the face of the vote. but somehow or another, the popular vote didn't match up with an electoral college vote. that doesn't sound like democracy to me. it's also some of our friends throughout the world would hold us accountable for.
>> well, we got bush that way.
>>> well, let me go to steve. it does seem like there's some hesitancy here. even though they can technically say this is fair u it smells. it looks like an intent to kill the minority vote in the big cities .
>> first of all, i don't think it's going to happen. it's not going to happen in virginia . and i don't ultimately think it's going to happen in these other states. it speaks to how the sort of emerging democratic coalition that's african american , that's hispanic, that's young professional, that coalition, more than ever, is tightly bunched in metropolitan areas . cities indirectly around cities. i think dave wasserman from the cook report came up with this. if you look back in 1988 when mie call michael dukakis got slaughtered by george bush . he won fewer than 700 counties. it's enough to win the popular vote by 5 million votes nationally. but it's not spread out. you get blue state after blue state . if you went to this congressional-based system, romney would have won the election last november.
>> that's because people who are liberal like to live in cities. these are patterns we've seen a long time ago.
>>> if electoral votes were dif i haved up by congressional district , we'd be reporting on mitt romney 's first week in the whielt house. here's a map. that's the usual electoral map we use in this country. if the republican plan was put in place, you'd have to replace that map with this one. all of those districts in red are all electoral points for mitt romney . it means even though barack obama carried the electoral college by 232 to 206. he would have lost to romney 262 to 276. what do you think would happen? how active is the naacp, mr. sheldon, funding this? how hot are you getting on this thing?
>> primarily, in the legislatures right now, our state conferences that have swro introduced these are actively engaged. we know the games that are played and what is probably the most highly partisan process that we have in our political system . now take that and determine how we're going to elect our president. what we have is an undercut system that is so important.
>> it just ramifies the whole thing. there's enough crap without making it a national problem. well said. when we return, let me finish with the excitement of this new collection of memorabilia from the life of jack kennedy . i know all about this stuff. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. with the spark cash