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Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Making the Most of Things 

Republicans have had some recent successes in making the most of what our political system allows. After a few false starts, Tom DeLay and company managed to redraw district boundaries in Texas to ensure that that state's Congressional delegation would be as Republican as possible. An attempt at a similar move in Colorado appears to have been shut down, but stay tuned...

Meanwhile, Democrats have also been doing what they can to improve their chances at winning the Presidency and taking control of Congress. As I've mentioned before (and will analyze thoroughly in my next post), it looks like there will be a measure on this November's Colorado ballot which, should it pass, would split that state's electoral college delegation along proportional (rather than winner-take-all) lines, a change which would likely move an elector or two from George Bush's tally to John Kerry's.

Furthermore, let me update you on a story I've covered before: it appears as though Democrats in Massachusetts have solved a problem related to John Kerry's bid for the Presidency, as the Boston Globe reports here and here. Under the current rules, if Kerry wins in November, the Republican governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, would appoint his (presumably Republican) successor to the Senate. Massachusetts's Democratic-controlled Senate just passed a law today replacing that process with a special election (which is likely to be won by a Democrat) to fill Kerry's seat sometime between 120 and 145 days after he resigns to take the Presidency. The bill still has to pass the Massachusetts House (and survive a threatened Romney veto), but it looks more than likely that that will indeed happen. Interestingly, Common Cause and some Democrats have opposed the bill, on the good-government grounds that 145 days isn't enough to provide a real Senatorial campaign. Personally, I think this argument is hogwash (yes, hogwash!) since both voters and potential candidates are hardly prevented from thinking about this topic until November 2.

Finally, it's worth noting that not all electoral-rule tweaking benefits only one party. California's Democrats and Republicans have teamed up to maximize the number of safe seats for both parties, and are attempting to head off an "open primary" initiative which might conceivably benefit third parties. And there's some possibility that Washington DC will finally receive (presumably Democratic) House representation in exchange for an additional (presumably Republican) seat for Utah, if this bipartisan bill is actually passed. House Democrats oppose the bill as drafted, since it opens up the possibility of harmful-to-Democrats redistricting in Utah...

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