Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 5 2011 8:11 AM

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania

The Keystone state's great electoral vote fight has faded from the headlines. Odd, that, because the debate only really began yesterday. Amy Worden and Tom Fitzgerald wrap up the hearings -- plural, because both the electoral vote split plan and a one-state popular vote plan got time in Harrisburg. The second idea sounds doomed.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

State government committee chairman Sen. Chuck McIlhinney (R., Bucks) said he has no intention of advancing popular vote bill this fall and not yet made up his mind on the Pileggi bill.
"I wanted to give it a fair shot," said McIlhinney, of the Pileggi bill, adding he will gauge reaction in the Senate Republican caucus before bringing it up for a committee vote.
Advertisement

If he still has to gauge reaction -- a big if! -- then the votes might not be there to push through the plan that would divvy up Pennsylvania's electoral votes by congressional district. The reasons for that are the same as the reasons this debate began in the first place. Republicans aren't sure if the debate is worth having. Congressional candidates stand to lose if this passes and the state is gerrymandered in a way that would max out the number of Republican-leaning seats. (If it passed, a presidential candidate who won 50.1% in one district would win it, but there are incumbent Republicans who benefit from having less balanced districts.) The GOP's presidential candidate might even lose out, because what if this is the year that the party carries the state? (This isn't actually a great argument, because if Mitt Romney is getting 50.1% of the vote in Pennsylvania, he's likely winning the election anyway. But Republicans might not know this!)

Back to the popular vote debate. It's the more reasonable of the two, more in line with a one-man-one-vote principle. If it passed, the candidate who got the most votes nationwide would be awarded Pennsylvania's electoral college votes -- even if he lost Pennsylvania. Simple enough, but it drove one Republican nuts.

Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon County, became incensed at testimony from League of Women Voters and Common Cause representatives endorsing an inter-state compact to ensure that the popular vote elects the president. Folmer’s reaction built as he compared the movement to the rise of Nazis in Germany.

“If we go to a national popular vote, we might as well get rid of all 50 states,” Folmer said red-faced, before committee McIlhinney reined him in.

I'll have to be the skunk here and point out that the Nazis didn't actually win the popular vote while there were fair elections in Germany. Maybe the people who got elected in a fluke Republican wave aren't the best judges of how a 220-year old system should be fixed?

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 21 2014 9:18 AM Oh, Boy Prudie counsels a letter writer whose sister dresses her 4-year-old son in pink tutus.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:25 AM The Brilliant Fake Novels of Listen Up Philip
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 9:39 AM The International-Student Revolving Door Foreign students shouldn’t have to prove they’ll go home after graduating to get a visa.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 21 2014 7:00 AM Watch the Moon Eat the Sun: The Partial Solar Eclipse on Thursday, Oct. 23
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.