Hardball | February 25, 2013
>>> can't take your eye off the republican these days because when you do, they're plotting new ways to disenfranchise some voters. this weekend in michigan a move to rig the electoral vote system to hurt urban voters got a big boost at the republican convention in lansing. republicans want to junk the winner take all system and allocate votes by congress cal district. this means voters in cities, detroit for example, who tend to be democrats, would have their votes mine myselfed because they're geographically voted together. the real vote count in michigan last november was 16. romney , 0. 16, obama, 0 for romney . under the new system, obama would have won 7 electoral votes and romney who lost the popular vote by 10% would git 9 electoral votes . is that fair? in pennsylvania republicans are attempting a similar stunt. in virginia stricter vitter i.d. laws limiting the types of acceptable i.d. required to vote have been passed by lawmakers and has gone to the governor for his signature. the voting rights act is going to be challenged by the supreme court . joining me right now is pennsylvania democratic party chair jim burn and the co-director of the advancement project , an organization that works to protect voting rights , judith brown diane nis. i want to talk to you about this thing in michigan . it's so obviously intended to zap the importance of detroit. it's so obvious because you have a lot of minority voters living there and this just basically says you get one cd. we're going to take the state.
>> that's right. you know, we have to understand that this wasn't just one act, right? first you take over state legislatures in 2010 , the gop does that. then what they do is they try to make it harder to vote passing voter i.d. laws, and then the third part of their plan is then to change the way the electoral college votes are allocated so that people in communities of color have less power, and so this is the trifecta of the gop plan. we have to understand that, yes, it is not an election year in many places, but god bless them, the gop has a long-term plan on how to win the game.
>> jim , in pennsylvania we know about the votto voter i.d. card . when will it come back into play and the court order and what are the pennsylvania republicans up to in terms of rejiggering the electoral college up there is they can get a big bulk of electoral votes --
>> advancement project is involved in the pennsylvania case and we expect that that will be -- that that i.d. law will not be implemented for a little while because the state is moving back off of the idea. every time we went to court, they would lessen the requirements. we think that that's -- that that will play out in a bit.
>> jim burn, thank you, chairman of the democratic party . tell me about the whole outlook of what you see coming out of harrisbu harrisburg, what the republicans are up to with the majority there?
>> the first part of your question is there's a court date i believe in july, but they say it's not -- the voter i.d., that is. they say it's not about cheating to win. well, chris, we talked last october about how they were running around with misrepresentations creating the impression falsely that you needed identification to vote in the november elections. funny how this primary in may of 2013 they're not doing anything remotely close to that. that hearing will be in july. on the second part of your question with respect to the electoral college issue, how is it fair that in pennsylvania -- how is it fair we would award mitt romney eight votes when the president got 20 electoral votes under our current system. why would we reward him 8 votes when he lost by 300,000? this is a very unpopular governor with a republican controlled senate and hanging on by its fingernails. s in not a popular idea here. they're going to push it but i don't know if they're going to be successful.
>> do you think corbett would dare hang it on himself? it seems to me it will be one heck of a thing to carry across the finish line if he has this on top of his popularity.
>> this is not a popular governor. this is probably the least popular governor in america right now. no governor has been this abysmal in the ratings this close to a re-election for tom corbett that's next year. so, no, he's trying to stay over the plate right now and trying to get his ratings up. he's failing miserably. i don't see him wanting this type of political baggage when he has enough problems as it is.
>> let me go back to judith. running around the bases right now, basically virginia has -- they're pushing something now on voter i.d. and you have a -- very close. cuccinelli i think could be a close race if it comes to that this fall. if they can nick a few minority votes like 5% even or 3% or 4% away, they could take it. i'm wondering how much they're getting eager to do that right now?
>> i'm sure they're pretty eager. we'll have a gubernatorial election . mcdonnell actually they just passed a law last year. governor mcdonnell did not want a strict i.d. lay, but now here we are getting close to another election and the republicans are lining up to make it harder to vote. and so i think the governor is in a tough position. he's got to think about what's really fair and where he stood last time or does he stand with his party so that they can win? and so i think he's in a difficult position. we know that they're lining up in every state. missouri, arkansas, we see that these voter i.d. laws are still in play because this wasn't just about 2012 . this is a long-term plan to make sure that it's harder for americans to participate in our democracy.
>> i want to go back to jim about fair play here in a mon partisan sense. when you talk to voters it seems to me they understand the rules get changed in baseball. you don't have enough home runs could you siden the strike zone -- narrow the strike zone . they do that in baseball but it's always jiggered for a purpose. people say why are you doing that? why are you changing the strike zone ? we want the game to be more exciti exciting. in this case you want the republicans to win. it just seems like that.
>> it is. the difference is, you know, we're talking about baseball versus the failure of the republican party to be able to field an adequate candidate. at the end of the day they have the hard way, which is to reinvent themselves into a fashion that is more consistent and more in line with what pennsylvania voters are looking for, it's a moderate state. you know that.
>> it's a purple. if bill scranton were running or tom ridge , they wouldn't have to play games.
>> find a bill scranton , find a tom ridge , find a john hines. those folks couldn't get out of a republican primary like now. if they counseled a candidate like that, they would appeal to pennsylvanians. these the argument, look at pennsylvania , look at michigan . these are the type of states that justify, justify the need for act five of the voting rights .
>> do you think you would grow old to believe eisenhower republicanism looked pretty good? who would have believed it. thanks jim . judith, it's always good to have your expertise.
>>> up next, if presidential elections are a mood ring for the country, oscar night is a close second. what did we learn last night at the oscars? this is "hardball," the place for politics. property,