An Arlington Lawmaker Wants to Give Democrats a Slice of Texas' Electoral Votes

In the wake of Barack Obama's reelection victory last Novembers, Republican lawmakers in several swing states -- Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconson -- introduced bills that would change the way the state's electoral votes are awarded, from a winner-take-all system to a proportional one in which presidential candidates are awarded electors based on the percentage of the vote the win.

The idea has intuitive appeal. It's a step closer to direct democracy and would ease the frustration of voters who cast their ballot for the losing candidate. It was also a fairly blatant attempt to undermine the voting power of Democrats in states that Republicans feel slipping away. Nate Silver crunched the numbers last month and determined that Obama's 126-vote electoral landslide would have been a 30-vote squeaker if the five states had had proportional systems in place in 2012.

A Texas Democrat hopes to help inoculate the party from ill effect. State Rep. Chris Turner, an Arlington Democrat, filed a bill yesterday that would award Texas' electoral votes on a proportional basis, albeit only if at least one other state (we're looking at you Virginia) does the same.

And with that, the state's 38 electoral votes would no longer be so reliably Republican. Assuming the party repeats its 2012 performance and wins about 40 percent of the popular vote, Democrats would find themselves with 15 of those.

Of course, Dems might come to regret such a measure once the unstoppable demographic tide turns Texas blue. But the measure would have to pass before it could inspire regret, something the Republican-dominated legislature does not seem keen on doing.

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ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

This has absolutely nothing to do with governance or the administration of our federal government.  This has everything to do with the acquisition and exercise of political power.

This idea ranks right up there with the concept that in electing federal representatives, you have as many votes to cast as there are representatives from your state.  You may cast all of your ballots for a single representative, or apportion them as you see fit amongst the various candidates.

everlastingphelps topcommenter

I don't want direct democracy.  Direct democracy is the tyranny of the masses.  I want a constitutional republic.

I can prove to you that this country would be a disaster as a direct democracy in two words: American Idol.

observist topcommenter

In Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin:  "This is a way to make our democracy more representative and to give a voice to as many voters as possible."

 In Texas: "This is absolutely outrageous!  This is an unconstitutional travesty!  We need to exercise our 2nd amendment rights to fight this tyrannical power-grab!



True but this is only a modification of the existing republic.  It's not like we're going to all of a sudden put every single issue up for a popular vote.


If they are looking for a way to make our democracy more representative and to give a voice to as many voters as possible, why not eliminate the electorial college and elect the president by direct ballot?

observist topcommenter

@EastDallasMark Because that's only in Republicans' interest in blue states, not red states.

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