Um, this could really screw things up

Does anybody remember the California ballot initiative? The one that was going to let California apportion its electoral votes district by district, instead of handing the whole state to the Dems as a giant blue West Coast prize?  It’s back.

When our kids were little, they had a number of those “talking” Little Golden Books, the ones with the buttons down the side that, when pushed, made electronic sounds that were designed to drive parents batshit crazy enhance the narrative. One of these was a Winnie the Pooh story, and you could push the button repeatedly to hear Rabbit say, “Oh dear oh dear oh dear,” in a funny dry little voice.

I’m hearing that voice now.

30 Responses to “Um, this could really screw things up”

  1. Don says:

    I didn’t want to jump through the hoops to see what it said on the link to so I’m not familiar with what is being proposed in CA, but I assume it’s to change the voting process of CA’s Presidential Electors to some version of what’s called the “Maine Method” which makes it possible for the voters to choose Electors of different political parties and split the electoral vote of their state in the Electoral College more in proportion to how the voters marked their ballots. I believe Maine and Nebraska have used that method for some time.

    To me it seems that the Maine Method produces results more in line with the wishes of the voters than does the “winner take all” method.

  2. Del says:

    Well yes Don, this does seem to represent at least some improvement on “winner take all” (depending on how California’s districts are gerrymandered). And that would be fine if everybody switched. Changing only California before this election cycle will essentially hand about 20 electoral votes to the Republican nominee. The Republican party pretty much controls the Texas lege, but I don’t see them agitating to change the way Texas counts its votes.

    This has been brewing out there for some time. It looked like it was dead a while back, but seems to have quietly resurfaced.

    Sorry you couldn’t read the story – the Mercury news story came right up for me—I must have registered for some time in the past and forgotten.

  3. Don says:

    Del, I don’t see any state legislatures controlled by Democrats clamoring to change either. I believe that includes California, so I guess this is a citizen-sponsored initiative proposed by someone who feels that the winner take all method disenfranchises about (using your figure) 20% of California’s voters.

    Come to think of it, I don’t see any evidence that a majority of Alabama’s legislators are even willing to let voters in our state have a process whereby they would be able to introduce initiatives. In over 4 years of working to try to help make Alabama become the 25th Initiative and Referendum state I have found that there are more Republican than Democrat legislators say that they favor giving us that voice in the government we supposedly own and certainly finance, yet Democrats claim that they are more progressive in working for the good of “we the people”. (DISCLAIMER: I am a small i independent.)

    Go to and read in the 4th paragraph what Teddy Roosevelt said about the initiative process and then ask yourself if you can think of any instance in which our legislature has failed to represent the people on some matter of importance.

  4. Don says:

    in my comment above “legislators say that they favor” should have read “legislators who say that they favor”.

  5. HotShot says:

    I want to know what is wrong is the “winner take all system” ? It’s worked all these years, why change?

  6. Don says:

    HotShot, it disenfranchises thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of voters who cast a ballot for some candidate other than the one who got the most votes. That’s all that’s wrong with it as far as I can see.

  7. Kathy says:

    I’m on dial-up and can’t search for links right now, but the California proposition was initially pushed by one wealthy and mysterious backer, whose anonymity finally led to its demise. He was later discovered to be a major Giuliani supporter. Don’t know who’s behind the resurgence, but I seriously doubt the intent is to “better reflect the will of the voters”.

    The California proposal would not divide electoral votes based on the popular vote in the state but would instead award them based on the winners in each Congressional district. If we did that in Alabama, my vote still wouldn’t count, as I live in an overwhelmingly Republican district.

    As for Democratic legislatures, North Carolina was considering a similar proposal earlier this year. I haven’t heard anything recently.

    I’m with Del — this might be a good idea if every state switched at the same time (and it actually reflected each state’s vote totals rather than the winners of each congressional district, which as she points out are heavily gerrymandered), but the California proposal is intended to throw the 2008 race to the Republican candidate.

  8. Don says:

    If I had my “druthers” I’d say just boot the antiquated Electoral College into the ash bin of history and have a direct vote of the people elect their president. But then that would take control out of the hands of the elites in the two major parties, special interest groups, and those lurking in the shadows behind them who pull the strings of their puppets while we the people, uninformed as too many of us are, think we are actually in control. What a dreadful thought!!

    Even that wouldn’t work because voting machines can be rigged to produce whatever outcome the rigger wants. If you don’t believe that, do as I did and check it out, including asking Ed Packard in the voting division of the Alabama Secretary of State office.

  9. HotShot says:

    Don, all of a sudden Republicans care about disenfranchising voters? Can you say Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004?

  10. Don says:

    HotShot, a real hotshot would have read in the third comment above from me, “(DISCLAIMER: I am a small i independent.)”.

  11. HotShot says:

    I don’t blame you Don, I’d be ashamed to admitt to being a Republican too. BTW, what does is a small i independent? What do small i independents stand for?

  12. Don says:

    HotShot, it means that I don’t subscribe to any political party, not even the Independent Party. I try to inform myself as well as I can from information from all points of the political compass and form my own independent opinions based on what I learn.

  13. HotShot says:

    I’m still trying to figure out what is a small i independent. Are small i independents pro choice? How do small i independents feel about universal heath care? What are small i independents attitude towards marriage equality? Everyone forms their own independent opinions based on information they gather from all points of the political compass, that is not unique to small i independents. It also depends on the source of the information.

    In any event based on the information I’ve gathered from all points of the political compass I believe the California Ballot Initive “could really screw things up.”

  14. Don says:

    HotShot, just as there is more than one way to skin a cat, there’s more than one way for an independent thinker to think, so all of the probably hundreds of thousands of small i independents don’t share the same views. That should be obvious to a hotshot.

    How about I don’t ask you if you take off your socks before you suck your toes and you don’t ask me what I think about anything? Do we have a deal?

  15. Kathy says:

    HotShot, Don’s been around here a long time, and he’s definitely not a Republican. He’s a big supporter of citizen initiative and referendum, and in this case he’s supporting the general principal of citizens voting directly for their elected representatives — something I too would support in principal. Given that the California initiative wasn’t actually initiated by a groundswell of citizen support but is instead backed by powerful and wealthy out-of-state Republicans, I have a big problem with it, and I expect he does too.

    Don, no toe-sucking. Please. :)

  16. Don says:

    Kathy, as I said in my first comment, I didn’t read the article Del had posted a link to, so I thank you for explaining that this initiative is being pushed by non-Californians. Regardless of their political party, I would be against it simply on the grounds that outsiders have no right to meddle in the business of any state….and that includes the Federal government in most cases because there really is a 10th amendment still in the US Constitution although it is regularly ignored.

    Oh yeah, I’m too old and not limber enough to suck my toes. :-)

  17. Kathy says:

    “Oh yeah, I’m too old and not limber enough to suck my toes.”

    :lol: ! Me, too, especially after all the turkey and dressing.

  18. this n.y. times blog tells all about the very big money behind guiliani and the california iniative.

    new yorkers seem to be the only state largely opposed to guiliani. it’s not that we’re so smart just that we have experienced what an empty vessel he is.

  19. Don says:

    naomi, this article is about something entirely different from the topic here, as I read it. I see no mention of the California initiative that is the subject of this thread. Tell me where I missed it, if I did.

  20. don, was responding to what i’d thought kathy was referring to at top of her post–ballot initiative in california. unable to access the

  21. Del says:

    Here’s a similar, if not the same, article in the San Diego paper. Or y’all google California electoral college in the “google news” search and you will see lots.

    The main argument against it seems to be what we’ve already gone over here: if they’re really high-minded and seeking reform, why not push for this in all 50 states? Starting with Texas.

  22. Kathy says:

    Naomi and Del, thanks for those links. I’m quite sure that the first attempt at a change in California was pushed by out-of-state Giuliani backers, and I doubt the new move is much different. I’ll check out the Google once I’m back in high-speed land. Isn’t it interesting how the (regular, not mega-rich) people who know Giuliani best like him least? I wish some of that skepticism would rub off on the rest of the country.

  23. Don says:

    Dependable Del has come up with a new link to information that requires no hoops to jump through in order to read it.


    We need an authority on the US Constitution to put their expertise to use here. In the meantime it will take this dummy some time to try to read about, and hopefully understand, what’s going on. At first glance it seems this initiative is justified in that it will, if implemented in California law, bring the state into closer compliance with the “one man, one vote” idea.

    What difference does it make which political party is behind the petition if it brings us closer to that goal? If Democrats were pushing it in a state dominated by Republicans the other gored ox would be bellowing, wouldn’t it?

    While it may be ideal for all states to change to this method at the same time, from what I’ve seen so far, the US Constitution, as it should (under the long neglected 10th amendment), has left how states apportion their Electoral College votes up to the states. Maine and Nebraska took the lead years ago. If California follows, I applaud the voters on the left coast, and those in all other states that follow.

  24. Roy says:

    I get disenfrancjised every time Alabama votes in a presidential election. If we really want to directly elect our leaders, we need to abolish the archaic Electoral College entirely and allow for the direct election of our President based on the popular vote.

  25. HotShot says:

    I agree with Ron. Alabama and the rest of the Confederate red states have entirly too much influence on the electoral college. Only in America can the candidate with the most votes lose.

  26. Bhmhomeboy says:

    Another link on the subject from

  27. Roy says:

    I too agree with Ron.

  28. HotShot says:

    Sorry Roy! Typo. I too agree with ROY.

  29. Bhmhomeboy says:

    Here is another link about the Republican plan to steal the 2008 election, starting with California:

  30. [...] As Del posted last month, the initiative would ditch California’s current winner-takes-all approach in favor of apportioning votes based on the winners in each Congressional district. The proposal didn’t come from a cross-section of ordinary California citizens, and it doesn’t look like many of them support it. In fact, it was more of a New York effort. The Electoral College measure first ran into trouble in October when the original proponent, Sacramento attorney Tom Hiltachk, abandoned the campaign. He and his team raised only $175,000. After Hiltachk dropped the measure, Gilliard took it up, vowing to raise $2 million and enlisting the support of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), a longtime client. [...]

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