The Ed Show | February 05, 2013
>>> tonight, republicans are proving once again they can't win with their ideas, so they're changing the rules of the election instead. you see, you do this when nobody is paying attention. president obama won six states controlled by republican governors and legislatures. as we reported last month, all six of those states started talking about real locating electoral college votes . they wanted to redistrict their way to victory. easy way to do it, right? but the national attention just scared them off. republicans in wisconsin , michigan , florida and ohio backed down. pennsylvania is the lone wolf . they are the lone holdout. the state's senate majority leader plans to introduce a bill to distribute the electoral votes based on the percentage of the popular vote . here is how it would help republicans . states like, for instance, oklahoma, south carolina , and texas could adopt this electoral vote plan and stay completely red. but look how the plan would have changed the blue votes for president obama in the last election. the republican plan would have grabbed six votes for romney in michigan , eight of pennsylvania 's 20 votes would have gone to romney. and wisconsin 's votes almost cut in half. well, pennsylvania republicans are doing exactly what their national chairman wants them to do. they want to change the rules of the game , no doubt.
>> being a blue state is not a permanent diagnosis. no state is that reliably a blue state . but it's up to all of us to decide if we're willing to fight for these states.
>> yeah, fight for them, you know, the good old-fashioned way, voter by voter. reince priebus believes voters shouldn't get to pick their leaders. instead, he wants republican leaders to pick their voters. pennsylvania 's plan is the perfect solution for the republicans , and it's different from the last attempt. let's bring in ari berman, for the nation magazine . good to have you back. how effective is this? how different is it?
>> it's a little different instead of having electoral votes on gerrymandered districts, it would be based on the popular vote . it's the same outcome. instead of barack obama getting all 20 in pennsylvania , he is going to get 11 or 12 under this new pennsylvania plan. it has the same effect. they're trying to accomplish through legislative trickery what they couldn't do at the ballot box .
>> are they trying to disguise this as totally different from the last one? like this actually a lot more fair? they're going to make that case, i would assume?
>> they're going to say it's not based on gerrymandering. everyone should have a say. if every state did this, that would be one thing. but we're talking about doing it only in states like pennsylvania , wisconsin and michigan , and not in state likes texas and georgia. so this is a recipe for keeping the red states red, but splitting the blue states . and that's what is so fundamentally unfair about this plan. it's not something that is being considered all across the country. it's only being considered in states that republicans control and that the president won in 2008 and 2012 .
>> it could have changed the dynamic how they campaigned if it was this way?
>> absolutely. wouldn't have been a swing state in the same way. and that's what republicans have to consider. do they want to give up their status as swing states by implementing these plans. you just heard paul ryan in wisconsin say i like the fact that southwest a swing state . so pennsylvania republicans are basically admitting they can never win all the 20 electoral votes . the best they can do is get to eight or ten. and that's really an admission of defeat by the gop.
>> how does this match up with the demographic problems the republican party has right now? the african-american vote, the latino vote?
>> continues to suppress their votes. we thought after 2012 we might see a rethink, might introduce new policies. instead what is happening is republicans are trying to dilute the votes of african-americans, hispanics. they're trying to make them count for less. and they're really trying to say to those voters instead of trying to get their votes, they're basically saying to those voters they don't matter.
>> now, pennsylvania has the political muscle, the votes to do this. they've got three that republicans that would have to turn on this. with the likely of that is not very good. what are we going to see happen to pennsylvania here? what will this do? this will not make it a critical state in 2016 ?
>> i think it's likely if candidates know they're not going to get all of those 20 votes, they're going to focus their attention elsewhere. republicans have to think will candidates bypass pennsylvania ? they have to think of the blowback here. like we said earlier, this is the same strategy they're pushing earlier before. there is going to be significant public pressure against them. it's going to seem like they're changing the rules in the middle of the game. they're going to seem like a sore loser strategy there is going to be a lot of blowback.
>> democrats tried similar voting changes. does that make it right for the republicans to do it?
>> no. the only reason when we should be doing this is if everyone does it. every state does a proportional vote or every state abolishes the electoral college . we can't have do it some proportionally and some winner takes all.
>> they're getting ready for hillary. they know they can't beat hillary clinton so they have to do it in the best way they can.
>> they don't seem too confident right now.
>> no doubt. ari berman, thanks for joining us. i appreciate it. that is "the ed show." i'm ed schultz . "the