LANSING — Members of the House Democratic Caucus are preparing for the next attack on the democratic process upon hearing that Republicans plan to introduce legislation to shift Electoral College votes to individual congressional districts, essentially giving more weight to a portion of citizens. Leading the charge against this proposal is state Representative Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids).
“The system of electing a president set forth in the Constitution has worked successfully for more than 200 years. Republicans know they can’t win fairly at the ballot box, so they’ll rig the game to gain every advantage possible,” Dillon said. “Wealthy corporate donors have poured millions into electing extreme state legislators, and we see now those legislators are more than happy to act like marionettes on a string — Pinocchios to their corporate Gepettos — even if it’s a slap in the face to the democratic process.”
With their victory in the 2010 election, Republicans had free rein to redraw political boundaries in their favor, consolidating Democratic-leaning areas into as few districts as possible. Even still, they lost five seats to Democrats in the House. Just this morning, the former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party was quoted in the National Journal about his strategy to leverage his party’s vote, awarding Electoral College votes by district, as opposed to the current winner-take-all system. By this afternoon, the chairman of the House Redistricting and Elections Committee announced his intention to introduce the proposal. In the 2012 election, that would have given Mitt Romney nine of Michigan’s 16 electoral votes, despite losing the state by 9.5 percentage points, making a mockery of the presidential election.
“Given the proximity of this announcement to the most recent election, you have to question their motives. Republicans are trying to diminish the will of the people by dividing it. They don’t want some voters to have a full say in who becomes president because they are afraid of the voters,” Dillon said. “Massive amounts of conservative fundraising couldn’t buy the votes Michiganders, so the big-money donors are using state lawmakers to rewrite the rules in order to win.”
After sweeping into the Legislature and governor’s office, Michigan Republicans set about making the state a CEO’s dream. Last year, they raised taxes on seniors and middle-class families to pay for a $1.8 billion corporate tax cut. They slashed education funding and reduced unemployment benefits. In the recent lame duck session, they enacted so-called “right-to-work” legislation that will cause wages to fall so profits can rise, while defunding unions to tilt the political playing field in their favor. They eliminated the Personal Property Tax without guaranteeing a full replacement to cities and towns, so that corporations will enjoy all the infrastructure and public safety that taxes fund without paying their fair share.
“Voters saw the extreme policies of Republicans in Michigan and on the national stage. They rejected those policies soundly, yet it doesn’t matter to those bought-and-paid-for legislators. They only listen to the DeVoses, Adelsons and Koches of the world, and they will continue crafting policy to increase record-high corporate profits and scheming to fix elections in their favor,” Dillon said. “Michiganders should be outraged at the liberties Republicans are taking with democracy, and my fellow Democrats and I will fight against this every step of the way.”