Republican Legislature May Back Off Voter-Disenfranchisement Bills for All the Wrong Reasons (Updated)
With each passing day, the Republican Legislature’s plans to give democracy a roundhouse kick to the jugular receives a setback. This time around, it was Pennsylvania’s Republican representation in the Washington Garbage Heap that applied the much needed “Hold on, let’s think about this” brakes.
According to subscription-only Capitolwire, the Pennsylvania Republican plan to award electoral college votes based on the presidential candidate’s winning of each congressional district rather than a winner-take-all system, currently used by 48 states, was the topic of conversation at a Harrisburg meeting of the minds yesterday. As was the Voter ID legislation proposed earlier this year by Rep. Daryl Metcalf of Butler County, whose legislative scumbaggery has tackled everything from illegal immigration to Obama’s birth certificate to [insert right wing straw man here]. Via Capitolwire:
Eleven members of the state’s 12-member congressional Republican delegation met with Senate leaders this afternoon…The congressmen also voiced opposition in both meetings to Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi’s proposal to split up the state’s 20 electoral votes by congressional district, in 2012. Pileggi, R-Delaware, heard out comments against his proposal from U.S. Reps. Bill Shuster, R-Blair, Tim Murphy, R-Allegheny, Jim Gerlach, R-Chester, Charlie Dent, R-Lehigh and Meehan.
So, are we to believe some state Republicans’ coal-burnt hearts grew three sizes that day?
Don’t count on it. According to an unnamed member of the Congressional delegation, Pennsylvania’s U.S. representation has “concerns about [the plan], and how it will look and how it could make the party and all of us look.”
Translation: ‘We can’t let the public to know what we are.’ And those in relatively safe Republican districts (which will become safer once redistricting ends) don’t want to have to, you know, work. Or spend money. (Note: House GOP leaders are now saying that congressional leaders expressed “support” of the bill.)
Add to that the possibility they’re becoming aware that the public is in tune to their game. A just-released Quinnipiac poll found that, by a 52-40 margin, Pennsylvanians are against this shift from a winner-takes-all to district-by-district electoral college windjob. The numbers, say Quinnipiac, show “how tuned in Pennsylvanians are to this issue.”
And if you’re a swing state Republican, that’s the last thing you want.
As Think Progress notes of the situation, it’s particularly interesting that Republicans are backing off Voter ID legislation, as well, since such voting schemes meant to disenfranchise the poor, minorities and students “have been the centerpiece of the Republican Party’s war on voting,” and would disproportionately affect Democrat voters.
Turns out, members of congress keeping their own seats may be more important than the cheat-to-win “good of the party.” Which means, if these pieces of legislation come to a halt, it’ll prove once again, in politics, two (or more) wrongs can, once in a while, make a right.