This would be an earthquake. Huffington Post has the story:

A Republican-backed ballot proposal could split left-leaning California between the Democratic and GOP nominees, tilting the 2008 presidential election in favor of the Republicans.

California awards its cache of 55 electoral votes to the statewide winner in presidential elections _ the largest single prize in the nation. But a prominent Republican lawyer wants to put a proposal on the ballot that would award the statewide winner only two electoral votes.

Simply put, this would transfer 20 electors to the GOP candidate. (19 GOP congressmen, but Bush won 22 districts in 2004) What a clever idea. This is a brilliant rebuttal to the strategy that the Dems are using in North CarolinaMyDD gives a rundown of the political consequences:

The difference here is that the California proposal is not going through the legislature as the North Carolina measure did, rather it has been filed for one of CA’s 2008 ballots (if it gets enough signatures) for approval by voters. Democrats control both houses of the legislature in California, so, as with so many issues, Republicans have no choice but to bypass the legislative process and go directly to the voters via a ballot measure system that is deeply flawed. The good news is that in recent years the public’s  default position on ballot measures has been "No;" the bad news is that if the measure does make the ballot, Democrats would be forced to spend millions of dollars to defeat it.

MyDD asserts that this is a Republican operation to "rig" the election, quoting from HuffPo:

Democratic consultant Chris Lehane called the plan "an effort to rig the system in order to fix the election."

"If this change is made, it will virtually guarantee that a Republican wins the White House in 2008," Lehane said in an e-mail.

Rules are rules. There is a reason that the state legislature is the most loathed institution in California.

Note that, depending on when it qualifies, this would be on either a Feburary or a June ballot, both closed primaries. If this qualifies, it might create a counter-incentive for the GOP to open up the primary, something that is opposed by the activist conservative base of the party, but strongly supported by its moderate donor base..

Categories: California

4 Comments

sampo · August 1, 2007 at 5:26 PM

if this proposal goes on a ballot in a liberal California, this bill dies. How could it not?

eye · August 1, 2007 at 7:42 PM

Well, it depends on what ballot it would appear on. Turnout is turnout is turnout. But it would almost certainly fail.

rhfreijr · August 2, 2007 at 7:50 PM

Eye and Sampo, as a third-generation Californian I’m telling you that you are both whistling past the graveyard. California is liberal only in LA county and the Bay counties. The rest of the state is red as has been that way since Nixon ran for the Senate, if not before. Just look at the electoral maps. Which is why the national Democrats are very afraid of this. It will completely overturn their election strategy.

This is the type of ballot initative that will have more than enought support to qualify for the ballot. It is a “made for the ballot” initative. If it qualifies in all likelyhood be during the June ’08 primary when turnout will be low as the “main show” will be in February. Which favors its passage. Cleverly marketed it will pass. All thge supporters need to do is appeal to one man- one vote principle, to the principle of fairness. Remind Democrats that Reagan and Bush Sr. got all of CA’s electoral votes whereas with this system they wouldn’t have. Remind voters in San Fransico and Los Angeles that one more vote for the opposition candidate means that their electoral votes go to the candidate they didn’t support. Remind all voters that this type of electoral vote system for CA would make the candidates come to the state and campaign actively here. No longer would the state be an after thought. It would make Presidental candidate fight for every single distict. Make them address the issues that Californians care about. It will increase the importance of the state in the selection of the President. Spun that way it passes comfortably. Personally, I hope all the states adopt the “Nebraska” system.

eye · August 2, 2007 at 8:18 PM

I agree that a June ballot is a real possibility. That would be extremely interesting.

I don’t know if the Dems could turn people out to stop Giuliani.

I know we could to stop Hillary. But I am still skeptical.

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