Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ron Paul can still win!

It's Thursday the 13th and like Jason Voorhees, someone we thought was dead has come back to haunt nightmares yet again:
At least three Republican electors (sic) say they may not support their party's presidential ticket when the Electoral College meets in December to formally elect the next president, escalating tensions within the GOP and adding a fresh layer of intrigue to the final weeks of the White House race.

The electors (sic) — all supporters of former GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul — told The Associated Press they are exploring options should Mitt Romney win their states. They expressed frustration at how Republican leaders have worked to suppress Paul's conservative movement and his legion of loyal supporters.
First off, this is more proof of my pet peeve: every one of these articles todat gets it wrong and refers to these people as "electors." No no no no no. They are only CANDIDATES for elector until and unless their slate carries the state.

But more important than my pet peeve is this unhealed wound in the Republican party. And one guess which state's party is at the center of it?
"They've never given Ron Paul a fair shot, and I'm disgusted with that. I'd like to show them how disgusted I am," said Melinda Wadsley, an Iowa mother of three who was selected as a Republican elector (sic) earlier this year. She said Paul is the better choice and noted that the Electoral College was founded with the idea that electors wouldn't just mimic the popular vote.

Ya know, you have to admire their tenacity. (Cure up a rousing chorus of "Iowa Stubborn.) Didn't win a state, didn't even get the convention votes acknowledged, and there are STILL people wanting to vote for Ron Paul. And they're clearly still mad.

People, in this case, who matter. Almost none of you have actually VOTED for president. The electors are the ones who do that. (I know a few who actually have.) Takes 270 votes to win.

You may have caucused for Romney, gone to four levels of convention for Romney, and carried the state for Romney, but in the end, Melinda Wadsley will cast your vote for The Great Leader Ron Il Sung, probably with a vote for Dear Leader Rand Jong Il for VP.

As if Mitt didn't need more problems this week. In retrospect, Romney - and I - should have seen this coming. In Iowa at least, the candidates for elector are nominated at conventions, those same conventions that were backed and dominated by the Paul forces.

The only mistake these folks made was tipping their hand too soon. UPDATE that makes the point:

Republican Party of Iowa Accepts Resignation from
4th District Presidential Elector (sic) Melinda Wadsley
DES MOINES, Iowa– The Republican Party of Iowa announced today that it has accepted the resignation of Fourth District Presidential Elector (sic), Melinda Wadsley.
“I have accepted Melinda Wadlsey’s resignation this afternoon effective immediately,” said Republican Party of Iowa Chairman A.J. Spiker.
“The Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee will now begin the process of selecting a new Presidential Elector (sic) from the Fourth District.”

In some states, usually ones that have had problem electors in the past, faithless electors can be unceremoniously replaced, with little process or recourse, and now some poor schmuck on Team Mitt has to comb through the elector slates in every state Romney could convceivably win.

The Register did the leg work on the Iowa GOP elector slate:
Four of Iowa’s Republican electors (sic) said they’re committed to Romney (David Jamison, Jack Whitver, Mark Chelgren and Joni Scotter), while one (Kurt Brown) said he’s still studying the rules.
MSNBC's Chuck Todd, a genius at electoral math, tweeted "This will only REALLY matter I think if there's a 269-269 tie..." Which is a big if.

You recall that George Bush "won" (sic) that election with just two electoral votes (and one judge) to spare, 271 to 267*. Oops, make that 266, as a DC elector abstained to 1) protest the District's lack of voting congressional representation and 2) become a permanent asterisk in American political history that I have to waste this sentence acknowledging, along with the anonymous Minnesotan who accidentally voted for John Edwards for both president and vice president, and the West Virginian who deliberately flipped Bentsen and Dukakis around.

The point being, we're just twelve years removed from an election where three defecting electors could have put us into even more of a constitutional crisis than we were already in. All of Romney's paths to victory are very narrow and get him to, say, 278 or 281 or so. And Todd adds: "I'm convinced we'll have LOTS of these electors."

It would open the possibility of... of what? It would be impossible to negotiate with a renegade bloc of Paulistinian electors, because their idea of compromise is President Ron Paul. My bet is they'd be just as likely to take it to the House of Representatives, which breaks electoral college deadlocks. But the Senate breaks the VICE presidential deadlock, and the contests are dealt with separately. The House chooses between the top three, which can mean prolonged deadlock.

But the Senate chooses between the top two, which might mean Joe Biden or Paul Ryan getting sworn in January 20th as VP and immediately becoming Acting President... Now that kind of scenario might finally kill off this beast.

Of course the easiest way to fend off this mess is simply to vote for Obama, and if Romney keeps having more bad weeks this little electoral college revolt will just be a moot tangent, a fantasy for political geeks. Which you are because you read this far.


Sick of Spin said...

ronpaulbot idiocy.

lebbenh said...

A simple point: "faithless" electors would not cause a constitutional crisis. "Faithless" electors are the point of the electoral college - why have electors at all except to allow them to use independent judgment?

The fact that so many people describe this as a problem is simply proof of how badly the system works and why a national election is being contested in fewer than ten states, with perhaps 15% of the population