Many center-left political analysts tout Barack Obama’s re-election as affirmation that the unfolding demographic changes in the United States will inevitably vanquish the Republican Party as we know it. But before progressives sit back on their heels and wait for history’s just rewards, a deeper look at the 2012 election results is in order. Obama’s victory overshadowed the fact that Republicans maintain control of the House of Representatives and won dramatic victories at the state level that seem almost mathematically miraculous in how they flout majority rule. Most strikingly, Republican congressional candidates were able to convert their national 49 percent of the major-party House vote into 54 percent of seats. (Democrats received 51 percent of the major-party House vote and 46 percent of seats.) Republicans also increased the number of states over which they have monopoly control, securing the governorship and both legislative bodies of 26 states. This has national implications. The fact that Republicans have firm control over 13 Southern legislatures that make up more than one-quarter of states gives them veto power over any proposed constitutional amendment. Consequently, those seeking to overturn Citizens United by amending the constitution will need the support of at least one Republican-run legislature in the South.
Republicans also control government in most of the presidential battleground states, such as Florida and Ohio, which creates opportunities to exploit the vulnerabilities of our centuries-old voting rules. Democrats may have been thrilled that, despite the troubled economy, Obama won a landslide of electoral votes. But for Republicans such as party chair Reince Priebus, the apparent lesson is this: Rather than cater to an increasingly diverse and progressive America, they should rig the Electoral College in 2016. States have wide latitude to pass voting laws such as ID requirements, as well as the power to allocate Electoral College votes. That yields numerous opportunities for deck-stacking.
In addition to fending off vote-rigging efforts, Democrats must ultimately address a more fundamental flaw of the antiquated voting system—the one that gives Republicans their popular-vote-defying chokehold on the House of Representatives and many state legislatures. The GOP will continue to dominate the House, even when the Democrats win more votes, as long as we rely on a geographically defined, single-member district system to elect our legislators.
Full Article: Rigging Democracy – In These Times.