Don’t divvy up Wisconsin’s electoral votesAdd U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, to the list of Republican leaders skeptical about changing how Wisconsin awards its electoral votes for president.
By: The Wisconsin State Journal, Superior Telegram
Add U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, to the list of Republican leaders skeptical about changing how Wisconsin awards its electoral votes for president.
“I like being spoiled as a Wisconsin voter,” Ryan told the State Journal editorial board during a meeting Tuesday. “I’d hate to be a flyover state.”
This follows similar concerns from Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
“One of our advantages is, as a swing state, candidates come here,” Walker just told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We get to hear from the candidates. That’s good for voters. If we change that, that would take that away. It would largely make us irrelevant.”
So let’s drop the blatantly partisan idea by some in the GOP to divvy up Wisconsin’s 10 Electoral College votes based mostly on the winner in each congressional district. Instead, Wisconsin should stick with its winner-take-all tradition. That is how virtually every other state does it.
Yes, in close elections, the Electoral College has occasionally handed victory to a presidential candidate who didn’t win the national popular vote. But awarding electoral votes based largely on congressional districts would only make that problem worse.
Just look at the 2012 presidential race: Barack Obama won the popular vote by 4 percentage points nationally and by 7 percentage points in Wisconsin. So our state awarded the Democratic president all 10 of its electoral votes, and he won a significant majority of the Electoral College nationally.
But if all electoral votes had been allocated based mostly on the winner in each congressional district, Obama would have won only half of Wisconsin’s electoral votes. And according to an Emory University analysis, Obama would have lost the White House.
That’s partly due to Democratic voters being concentrated in urban areas. But in Wisconsin, it’s also a consequence of the GOP-run Legislature rigging congressional district maps to favor their candidates.
As the GOP nominee for vice president last year, Ryan’s voice should carry considerable weight, especially in Republican circles. He knows better than anyone how national tickets fawn over swing states. Wisconsin shouldn’t give up the national limelight for such a flawed scheme.
(c) 2013 The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.)
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