Under Corbett’s plan, Barack Obama would only have squeaked out a narrow win in 2008, 11-10, instead of taking all 21 electoral votes.
Rich Wilkins explains why this would be a bad deal for Pennsylvania’s political clout:
Right now, every Pennsylvanian has an important vote for President, we’re a major, major swing-state. We have 20 electoral votes and are close every time. If the split is going to be 10-10, or the Dem can’t win the districts after gerrymandering, no one is going to contest the state, or if they do, they’ll only contest competitive areas. Voters in clearly red or blue seats will be left out of the process.
While the Democrats have won from 1992 until 2008 for President, the GOP has held the legislature for most of the last twenty years. They can re-draw the lines for Congressional seats this year, and that in turn could mean the President could win the state, but lose the electoral vote count. That should not happen. Remember the 2002 example, where Democrats won the statewide Congressional vote count, but won no seats.
This is an obvious electoral ploy for 2012.
It’s also a play for long-term Republican competitiveness. Think about the trends in the 2010 Census. The southeast has been growing, and population growth is stagnant or shrinking in the west and rural areas. I would expect more people to keep moving to the metro areas that are adding jobs, and away from the places that are losing jobs.
In a future where we keep the winner-take-all system, Democrats will have an increasingly easy path to victory by racking up big margins with the growing number of Democratic voters in the Southeastern metro areas. If the current population trends continue, it seems likely that Pennsylvania will become more solidly blue and statewide races will become less winnable for Republicans.
Corbett and Pileggi can’t legislate away the long-term population trends weakening their Party, but they can delay their effects on the political system. That’s what this plan is also about.