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Opinion: Tom Corbett Demotes Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has 20 electoral votes. Delaware has 3 electoral votes. Who will hold more sway in 2012?

If the election were held today, Pennsylvania would use its block of 20 electoral votes at once. We move our stack of chips on the table and we can have some real sway with it. Presidential candidates know it and focus their campaigns here on us. Those 20 votes always make Pennsylvania a gamble worth making. 

Pennsylvania is about to give up a good chunk of the gamble with Tom Corbett’s proposal to gerrymander our little corner of the Electoral College. He has set up this scheme that would take the 18 congressional districts and make those individual fights for an electoral vote. Then he would take the two extra electoral votes and send them to the overall winner of the state.

So let’s say we have a dead heat in this state towards the end of a campaign with 9 congressional seats solidly trending for each party or candidate. It means at the most a net of 2 electoral votes can be picked up here in Pennsylvania for winning the state.

The bizarreness of Corbett's plan is that it is OK for two votes to determine a winner but not for 20 votes? What if the state is decided by less than 100 votes? This doesn’t work for proportionality anymore than it did before. (A straight up percentage split works better than this.)

When the campaign schedulers look at the map and see that Delaware is a toss-up with three votes – where are they going to send the candidates – the net two votes in Pa. or the net three in Delaware?

We get that Tom Corbett has to rig the system to win, but at what cost.

Forget all about the elections themselves and let’s look at the money coming in. GOP likes to talk about cash before people – what is this going to do to the economy?

If you haven’t noticed, there is a huge amount of cash that gets transacted during a Presidential election. We are now talking billions of dollars here.

Every time there is a media buy, there is a line item on the bill where Harrisburg gets a 6% cut of the action.

Every time a palmcard is printed and delivered – a 6% cut of the action.

Every time a candidate eats a cheesesteak here – 6% not only from the candidate, but from the staff, the press entourage, etc.

Add all those ripple costs associated with the press conferences and travel of these folks to the total.

You can say good–bye to that money because the smart scheduler will be sending his people into Delaware. With their three votes, Delaware is now more attractive than Pennsylvania.

What about national media outlets showing nice video of different parts of the state to the rest of the country? Or a candidate making nice with a Pennsylvanian on one of our streets?

We just won't be all that important anymore thanks to Tom Corbett's plan.

Think about the media a little more. Philadelphia is the second largest city on the east coast (Boston fits in our shirt pocket). That means advertisers cannot charge as much because the campaign won't take place in an area with a lot of people! 

Since West Virginia's net 5 electoral votes will stand head and shoulders above Pa.'s net two votes – that media money will pour into Charleston and not Philly or Pittsburgh or Erie or Scranton.

If any group should be getting ready to knock Tom Corbett around, it should be the guys running the media conglomerates. He is costing them big bucks.

Whoever came up with this plan must have been sitting on top of the refineries in Marcus Hook, wafting the fumes without any protection.

Seriously, any state legislator voting for this off-the-wall scheme will be creating an instant method to create a challenger for their seat in the next election. Challenger after challenger can go after these incumbents showing how they are shrinking Pennsylvania’s influence. 

Good job guys.

beachbum September 19, 2011 at 10:56 PM
A.S.: so why don't you tell us what those facts are? This little attempted plan doesn't sound kosher to me. If the GOP, which is the majority in Harrisburg were so concerned about the state of the economy, as they claim; why are the wasting their time on political nonsense like this? What is the purpose of this? How does this effort benefit the citizens of PA? We're all tired of these folks working to benefits themselves and not doing the business of the people of this state, which WE THE PEOPLE PAY them a generous salary and benefits to do.
i... September 20, 2011 at 02:15 AM
The plan seems more representative to me. If a candidate were to win the state by a single vote, would it be fair to give them 20 electoral votes? I'd say no. However, a better method would have been to divide the electoral votes along percentage lines rather than congressional districts to eliminate the gerrymandering factor.
Joe The Nerd Ferraro September 20, 2011 at 02:55 PM
A.S. - I got plenty of guts... Take a look at my other stuff written for Patch and Huffington Post. BTW - this plan is a GOP Plan - not a Democratic Plan. That is what is news today.
Joe The Nerd Ferraro September 20, 2011 at 03:01 PM
I.. - It would be cool if we got a Constitutional Ammendment for Popular Vote for President, but short of that we are justing giving away any national advantage to being a Pennsylvanian by splitting out votes like this. If we do your plan - or any plan - of splitting without the whole country going in that direction - we lose all our clout. That is part of majority rules...
Joe The Nerd Ferraro September 20, 2011 at 03:08 PM
Here's a link to some of my Patch stuff as I am casting your aspersions right back atcha. http://norristown.patch.com/columns/joe-the-nerd

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