Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker needs to put his heart in the right place and take one for the team.
A week ago the MJS wrote about Walker’s reservation regarding the possibility to change Wisconsin law and allow electoral votes to be cast by congressional district instead of in bulk for the state’s majority presidential candidate. Now granted, the MJS can be the source of many an out-of-context quote, but this is the one they provided by Walker:
“One of our advantages is, as a swing state, candidates come here. We get to hear from the candidates,” said Walker in an interview Saturday at a conservative conference in Washington, D.C. “That’s good for voters. If we change that, that would take that away, it would largely make us irrelevant.”
Uhem. One of our disadvantages as a swing state is that candidates show up here panting and promising and leaving local and state taxpayers with the bill for extra security. The University of Virginia told Obama, “No” when he asked to campaign on campus because of costs. So a corner sandwich shop might get a few extra sales, but I don’t see Wisconsin’s needs being met by courting the candidates as a swing state.
That last paragraph was my nice way of saying I’m calling Governor Walker on his claim. His statement should read more like:
“One of my advantages is, as a swing state, candidates come here. I have my picture made with the candidates. That’s good for me. If we change that, that would take that away, it would largely make me irrelevant.”
(I made that up. Just to clarify – the above non-quote is intended to be farce.)
Think about what assigning electoral votes by congressional district would do for America. Think about what would happen if all the Republican governors in swing states encouraged the same change.
Obama for America was a spectacular machine. They put together the turnout to tip Wisconsin blue for both the Presidential race and Wisconsin’s Senate spot. (Although the Republican choice in a candidate may have sort of possibly had something to do with that, but that’s another chapter.) The best way to stop any machine potentially as successful is to change the model. Do not put so much in the kitty. It’s as simple as that.
Lewis K. Uhler and Peter Ferrara wrote a piece for Investor’s Business Daily that said the same thing. Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan could join Wisconsin in choosing to distribute electoral votes by congressional district. It’s completely within a state’s right to assign electors. Had the change been made in those Republican states prior to the 2012 November election, Romney would be President.
Plus, consider the advantages to subverting the swing-state model and moving to congressional district choices. The decision would make a handful of districts swing instead of states. A lot let would be at risk. A LOT LESS MONEY WOULD BE NECESSARY TO FUND A CAMPAIGN. How many of us have complained about the money in politics? If you aren’t blanketing a state in advertising, there’s a lot less that needs to be spent.
In addition, Presidential campaigns would be more intimate, as the House of Representatives in their smaller districts are designed to reflect the population of America within those lines. Presidential candidates would have to campaign like Representatives in order to gain a vote. That’s a lot of handshaking and a lot less celebrity status.
Selfishly I’d call it a win because the urban centers who now elect a candidate based on who will pay for their electric bill would take a back seat to the core of America.
There are no easy answers here. We have to strip generations of attitude to get back to an America our Founding Fathers put to paper. But you know what? This decision by Wisconsin’s elected would be a good start.
This is a state’s-rights issue. It is time for Wisconsin to state what’s right and allow electoral votes to be assigned by congressional district.