Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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Where there's a Will there's a nay

National conservative columnist George Will trashes PA's Republican plan to change the allocation of electoral votes.

Where there's a Will there's a nay

In case you missed it - what with being busy wringing hands over the Phillies and the Eagles - that Pennsylvania Republican plan to change the allocation of the state's 20 electoral votes in next year's presidential election gets a big thumbs down from national conservative columnist George Will.

You can read his full column here.

Will, a darling of the right, a stalwart constructionist, calls the PA plan to award electoral votes by congressional districts instead of by the winner-take-all system used now in 48 states, "a ploy," namely a tactic to frustrate or embarrass an opponent.

He also writes the PA plan would encourage further gerrymandering, a point made at a recent state Senate hearing on the proposal, and that it would allow third-party candidates to cherry-pick individual districts in ways that could alter the national outcome and possibly throw the election into the U.S. House.

Will, for example, notes Ross Perot won 18.9 percent of the popular vote in 1992 but got no electoral votes.

Will also trashes the national popular vote plan adopted in several states that would allow all electoral votes to go to the candidate who wins the popular vote. And he makes the case for keeping the system now in place because, while not perfect, it upholds "the values encouraged by the federalism the Framers favored."

Will's criticism comes just after release of a statewide Quinnipiac University Poll showing Pennsylvanians prefer sticking with the system in place, 52-40 percent.

The change, proposed by state Senate GOP Leader Dominic Pileggi and supported by Gov. Corbett, has been criticized by many (including me) as an attempt to help Republican candidates in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 1 million-plus votes.

Will's joining that criticism can't help. Especially since he opens his argument with this: "Republicans supposedly revere the Constitution, but in its birthplace, Pennsylvania, they are contemplating a subversion of the Framers' institutional architecture."

I imagine when he wrote that he was also thinking GRRRR.

 

 

 

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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