Friday, August 24, 2007

Making 2008 Genuinely Interesting

Remember the Presidential Election Reform Act, the Gollyfornia ballot initiative set for next June (or whenever the Golden State moves its primary election day) that Jonathan Alter hates so much because it would allocate fifty-three of the state's fifty-five Electoral College votes to the presidential candidate that carries each congressional district, thus all but guaranteeing an additional twenty or so Electoral Votes to the GOP nominee? Well, don't look now, but it's got a fighting chance, even among self-professed Democrats (via the Admiral):

California voters are inclined to support a proposed ballot initiative that would change how the Golden State allocates its electoral votes in presidential campaigns, but they’re not yet sold on the idea, a Field Poll released today showed....

“I think voters on both sides tend to see the current winner-take-all to be a little bit unfair,” he said. “Even the Democrats in the first question (before political ramifications were explained) were nearly evenly divided.”

The interesting result? Before the political ramifications were explained, PERA was favored by a 47%-35% margin; after that explanation, the margin only shrank five points, to 49%-42%. Note also that the percentage in favor actually went up a couple of points.

You can bet that the Left nationwide will make burying PERA a top priority. Assuming that the national split on the presidential level is still anywhere near 50-50 or 51-49, losing two-fifths of Gollyfornia's EC bonanza would be a crippling blow to the Democrats. The GOP could lose Ohio or Florida and still easily surpass the 270 mark needed for victory. Ditto losing Ohio AND Florida if they could flip another close Midwestern state like Minnesota or Wisconsin.

On the other hand, if 2008 is going to be as big a Donk year as the "experts" continue to believe it will, PERA would just make it a little harder for Hillary to run up the score. But the fact that Jonathan Alter, one of the more prominent lefty pundits, is sounding the alarm ten months (probably a lot sooner than that before it's said and done) in advance seems to suggest that they're not entirely convinced next year is going to be a blowout for their party. And, again, if nearly half of Gollyfornia Dems are inclined to support PERA, well....

That fifty-five EC vote lock and the burp in the universe that is Bill Clinton are the only things that have kept Democrats nationally competitive over the past twenty years. If the presumed nationwide leftist groundswell fails to materialize a year from now, passage of PERA could sink that party's dreams of another seventy years of hegemony for good. Which is why they will fight it to the bitter end.

Count on it.