Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Congressional Districts: A New Way to Elect?

Please forgive me. The creaks and moans and screams you hear are me reviving the memory and statistics from the 2008 Presidential Election.

Swing State Project has a great and very meticulous list of election results broken down by congressional district. I went through and tallied them all up, and wouldn’t you know it, we get the following nice little comparison:

ACTUAL Electoral VoteObama: 365, McCain: 173

Electoral Vote BY C.D.–Obama: 301, McCain: 237

That’s a net of 64 votes for McCain…still not enough to even come close to winning the election, but it reduces Obama’s victory threefold. And that’s not a small accomplishment.

Essentially, I distributed each vote by the winner of that C.D.; then, the state winner accrued the remaining 2 Electoral Votes as a victory for winning the popular vote of the entire state. Not quite as much as a prize as “winner take all” for winning the state’s popular vote, but 100 votes can absolutely swing an election from a close call to a landslide.

Of course, there are several hurdles in the way of this plan, one of which is the party establishment itself. The other is the very decided effect that gerrymandering would have on the federal election of a president. State commissions to redraw districts would have to be heavily regulated to ensure nonpartisanship…a very tall obstacle, indeed, as I can foresee there being very whiny opposition parties during census and redistricting years. But perhaps this would force both federal and state governments to reform the redistricting process to bring about a more efficient system that is less Tom DeLay, more Paul Wellstone.

I would be very interested to see this change pursued by our Congress (though I doubt that they really care), as I think that making each C.D. a vote would require candidates not just to visit particularly populated areas of one state, but would require them to go door-to-door in places of the country that are hardly ever visited: like, for instance, Michigan’s 2nd 3rd and 10th, Minnesota’s 2nd, Ohio’s 3rd 6th and 16th, California’s 3rd 25th and 48th, and Indiana’s 9th. All of these districts saw less than a 2% gap during the election, and might have benefitted from greater exposure.

Whatever the obstacles may be, let us put aside the notion that I am threatening the wisdom of our Founding Fathers and put confidence in ourselves–that we too, in this day and age, are wise enough to decide the best way to elect our highest leaders. Presidential election by Congressional District may serve to enhance voter turnout, voter engagement and candidate awareness of the entire nation–prospects that can only help our great Republic.

1 comment

  1. So I know this seems like it’s coming from way out in Left Field, Alaska…but I’m a blogger dammit, and I can make the news not simply follow it. 🙂

    Oh and BTW…my site has changed…you can find me, the Journeying Progressive, at the site named after me… Visit often as there’s some really, really great stuff on there. Thanks a million. 🙂

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