Pileggi Doesn’t Rule Out Proportional Representation for Congressional Seats

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Wearing my Partisan Democrat hat, the new and improved Pileggi plan to change the way PA allocates electoral votes is a bum deal. Instead of the Democratic candidate taking all 20 electoral votes in 2016, s/he’ll max out around 12. Instead of the Republican candidate getting 0 electoral votes, s/he’ll get 8. As someone who prefers Democratic Presidents, naturally I want to see Democratic Presidential candidates take 20 electoral votes from PA, not 12. I also want those 20 votes to become easier and easier to get, as Southeast PA becomes more populous and reliably blue.

When I take my Partisan Democrat hat off, the proposal looks a little more interesting. I’m on the record saying Republicans should pursue proportional representation to start building political strength in cities. The electoral vote change Pileggi proposed doesn’t do that, but it does lead naturally to the question of why they wouldn’t also allocate Congressional seats proportionally too.

Interestingly, Dave Weigel reports that Pileggi is at least open to discussing this:

I asked Pileggi’s spokesman Erik Arneson whether the proposal to split up electoral votes proportionately might be expanded to congressional seats.

“It’s an interesting question,” he said, “but I have not heard any of discussion of that. I’m familiar with the group [FairVote], but I have not heard of anyone who’s seriously introducing it in Pennsylvania. Certainly, we would listen to the pitch. I’m intrigued by the concept of who chooses who those ten people are. Where would they come from? Would the rural parts of the state be represented? I assume that group has thought through this.”

Randy LoBasso sends us to FairVote’s post on the Pileggi plan, where they make the important observation that if PA had allocated Congressional seats proportionally this year, there’s no way we would’ve ended up with a situation where Democrats won the popular vote, but the seat share was 13 Republicans and 5 Democrats.

As to the question of where those candidates come from, the answer is “everywhere!” Anybody from any part of the state can run for one of the spots. You can have a Philly Republican running for Congress, and a Democrat from Cranberry. You could have a system where the parties choose their slate of candidates, or a total free-for-all. In that case, you’d have a lot of issue interest groups putting out slates of candidates and the order they want you to rank them. There’s nothing about this that would necessarily underrepresent rural interests – their votes would count just as much as everyone else’s.

This entry was posted in Elections.

3 Responses to Pileggi Doesn’t Rule Out Proportional Representation for Congressional Seats

  1. Jonathan Bernstein might be a bit clueless, but he did make one interesting point about Pileggi’s bill. Every media outlet in PA should be against it. Why? It would hurt their bottom line. What candidate would spend money here now? Certainly no where near like before.

    • Jon says:

      The more I think about it, the more I would definitely trade those 8 Electoral College votes for the more solidly Democratic House delegation we’d get from proportional representation.

  2. oldgulph says:

    A survey of Pennsylvania voters showed 78% overall support for a national popular vote for President.

    Support was 87% among Democrats, 68% among Republicans, and 76% among independents.

    By age, support was 77% among 18-29 year olds, 73% among 30-45 year olds, 81% among 46-65 year olds, and 78% for those older than 65.

    By gender, support was 85% among women and 71% among men.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country.

    The bill changes the way electoral votes are awarded by states in the Electoral College, instead of the current 48 state-by-state winner-take-all system (not mentioned in the Constitution, but since enacted by states).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every election. Every vote would be included in the state counts and national count.

    The candidate with the most popular votes in the country would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. That guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC wins the presidency.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states with 243 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions with 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

    Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc