November 23rd, 2007
11:50 AM ET
10 years ago

Race to '08 podcast: California's mother lode of electoral votes

A California proposal could affect the outcome of the '08 presidential election for the entire country.

(CNN) - In Friday's Race to '08 podcast, CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser and CNN Radio's John Lisk discuss a Republican proposal to change how California's 55 Electoral College votes are awarded.

Currently, the Golden State's votes are awarded on a winner-take-all basis across the entire state but a GOP plan would award themĀ on the basis of winning individual Congressional districts.

Listen to Friday's Race to '08 podcast

Related: Is the Electoral College a political dinosaur?

Filed under: Race to '08 podcast
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Jaik , chicago, IL

    What is amazing is that the GOP's backers own such a huge ammount of the media that a power grab like this would even be debateable. The Democrats could never put together a scam like this. This is such a naked one sided power grab its amazing. Any talk of this in GOP leaning TX ? Or do the Austin voters just fold into the GOP majority there ? How is that different than CA ? The GOP should be careful messing with the concept of electoral college, since the methods they used to cheat during the 2000 and 2004 elections depended on it. If the Democrats allow this, they are too stupid to deserve office, or they aren't a seperate party.

    November 23, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  2. Tim, Omaha, NE


    This is exactly what the Democrats asked for after the 2000 Bore-Bush debacle.

    I realize facts probably mean nothing to you, but over a dozen recounts of the Florida 2000 ballets by every stripe of polical party, university and news agency showed Bush won Florida. Even the NYT had to admit Bush won (took them a year to admit it). Or are you talking about New Mexico where Gore won by 366 votes, but the republicans didn't ask for a recount?

    The "cheat" in 2004? Are you talking Ohio and the 130,000 vote Bush win where thousands of non-existent people were signed up to vote by democratic operatives? Or are you talking the Kerry "win" in Wisconsin by less than 5000 votes when it was proven there were more than that many fraudulent votes in Milwaukee alone?

    November 23, 2007 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  3. Christian, Tampa FL

    That would be despicable. The GOP would be able to pick up the equivalent of a large state while not giving the Democrats anything in other large states. Is every state going to divvy up electoral votes based on districts? Certainly not. This threatens to further destroy our democracy.

    November 23, 2007 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  4. Julian

    This is Texas Redistricting Part 2, and this time it's supersized.

    If California votes to split its electoral votes, the end of the Electoral College is in sight, and with it, one more institution for maintaining some level of moderation in political attitudes. John Edwards talks about the "two Americas" - after this goes down, we will have two Americas.

    November 23, 2007 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  5. thesfdude San Francisco, CA

    I have lived in California for more than 27 years and I can tell you this will NOT happen. I can't believe the Republicans are even foolish enough to continue this crusade – just when the Gov. was getting us all united as a state again and out of the partisan swamp most of America has been steeping in for the past ten years. Let them spend their millions trying to buy a spot on the ballot for a measure that is SURE to fail, at least they will have less to spend "swift boating" valid candidates. Thank you for allowing me to be heard.

    November 24, 2007 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  6. Gary Denson

    Californias number of electoral votes is much largerr than it should be due to the huge number of illegal immigrants. I say greatly reduce their number of electorals other wise you are actually allowing illegal immigrants to vote for president.

    November 24, 2007 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  7. Carl J Speed II, Austin TX

    I'm from Austin TX here, which for the most part is a liberal oasis in this state of Red. It would be nice to have our votes actually count.

    The Electoral College is a joke, especially when you try to get people all invigorated about voting. But if you're going to start splitting it, you have to split it everywhere, not just in places where they think it will make a difference.

    Its about time the Electoral college was abolished all together and people's voices/opinions were really seen.

    November 24, 2007 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  8. Terry, El Paso, TX

    A nice compromise would be to give one electoral vote to the presidential candidate who wins each Congressional district and award the two "Senatorial" votes to the candidate the carries the state. This would only work if all states do it, else the political pros would all want to do electoral gerrymandering like what is being tried in California.

    If we go to a national count to determine who is president, we may have an election in which we don't know who won. If only a hundred or a thousand votes separate the two candidates, we would have a situation where a candidate (reminiscent of "Landslide" Lyndon Johnson) who "discovers" a box of uncounted votes thrusting him ahead in the count.

    In the Johnson case, the voters in that Texas precinct voted in alphabetical order and their signatures were all in the same handwriting.

    We want to keep our elections out of the courts.

    November 24, 2007 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  9. Andrew, Haslett, MI

    Read up, people! The Constitution allows the states to apportion their electoral votes any way they choose, so this is perfectly legal! Your votes count if you speak with them, so if you don't like the way this is going down then vote the politicians out of office on election day! Otherwise, quit your crying. The people get the kind of government they deserve.

    November 24, 2007 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  10. Voltaire

    Great! The EC votes each state casts need to represent the choices of that state's entire populatation, not just the winning side! This may be politically motivated (Calif. is pretty solidly Democrat and the Republicans are the ones chasing this), but it also provides for representative electoral results, not a 'gimme chunk for a person who wins by the slimmest of margins.

    November 24, 2007 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  11. Walt, Belton, TX

    Dear Jaik,
    It's not called the liberal media because Republicans own so much of the media. There's only one conservative media outlet on TV of any consequence and they go out of their way to have at least a token amount of liberality in all their dicussions and that's the FOX network and only a jerk could think Alan Combs is a conservative....

    Look around you and face the liberal reality!

    November 24, 2007 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  12. DAN,NO DEMO'S ,LA.


    November 24, 2007 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  13. Dan, Mineapolis, Mn

    What is new? What else can you expect from the Republicans? They have perfected the art of cheating, lying, and stealing that are the exhalted political attributes of their Machiavellian and neo-fascist point of reference.

    November 24, 2007 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  14. Moe, NY

    Here go the Republicans once again...trying to steal another presidential election. The Electoral College is unamerican and should be disolved. The popular vote is what should elect the president...that is true democracy.

    November 25, 2007 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  15. matt

    Yea, they know this will be the ONLY way they can win in '08.

    November 25, 2007 03:46 am at 3:46 am |
  16. Mark, Dallas, TX

    If California does this then all the states need to do this otherwise, the election will turn into a circus. Of course, this is just another undermining tactic that the Republicans are using. It seems the only way Republicans can get elected is through under handed and under mining methods...2000, 2004...need I say more.

    November 25, 2007 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  17. connie floyd Crockett, Texas

    this happened in texas and karl rove and friends got this to happen. that's why bush got his governship over ann richards. she was a heck of a lady. had bush not got in in texas, maybe scrub bush wouldn't be the commander and thief now. we cannot let this happen to calif.

    November 25, 2007 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  18. DRB, Washington, D.C.

    Eliminating the role of the electoral college and replacing it with a electoral votes based on congressional districts would reform the presidential election but not without serious reprecussions to the nation. Assuming the propostion passed and survive any and/or all legal tests before the general election, the remaining 49 states would not have the time to pass similar propositions. Thus, anarchy would reign.

    Despite its worts, the Electoral College has endured well for our very young nation notwithstanding 2004. No one would argue against not reforming the college but it would take sacrifice, courage, grit and focus; traits that most of our political leaders would not know if it hit them smack in their heads! Keeping in mind we have about 11,000 distinct elections across the nation the day we elect electors, who in turn elect a president and vice president. A truly more democratic way to elect our president would be to elect our leaders on a popular vote with a plurality winning the presidency even if a few hundred people vote twice! If so, in 2004, John Kerry would have won over George Bush. It is also very plausible to say that if the state of Ohio had more voting machines more people would have voted in Ohio, assuring John Kerry would have carried the state and won overall. Not to say that Kerry would have been any better than Bush and Mrs. Kerry any better than our Laura Bush. At least, morality and honesty would have prevailed.

    But you have to tip your hat to the power brokers in California, who are trying to seize an opportunity and dismantle the electoral college by nothing short of a revolution that will undoubtedly prevent O'Bama and/or Clinton and/or both from winning. And more than likely put a moderate social republican Guliani in office, assuming a proposition could survive legal scrutiny. California is on the cusp of political change when it comes to testing the status quo, altering the landscape all across america. The rest of us need to wake the hell up, roll up our selves and hit the payment. A grass roots effort that has both grass and roots is needed. All of us should stand up against fraud, disenfranchising, and truly demonstrate the need for our republic to act like a democracy and stop convincing ourselves that we are one. Only a popular vote, winner take-all presidential election can instill democracy in its purest sense and increase voter interest, turnout and faith in politics which is so disparging, evil and self aggrandizing. Afterall, look at the bickering, decisiveness, polarization, and blatant disrespect that political leaders have for one another today. We would be better off if they followed the actions of Teddy Roosevelt, who upon receiving a honory degree from Oxford when out of his way to avoid Mark Twain, an avid critic, who also recieved such a degree.

    Kudos to Ronald Reagan never had a bad word to say about anyone! The Late Commerce Secrtary Maurice H. Stans of the then-Nixon Administration who was outspoken against the dismantling commerce department act introduced in Congress by his fellow Republicans told me he could not and would not be involved in politics today because it was beyond anything he could remember. And this was said by a man who ran the Committee to Reelect the President.

    "I think we never really and genuinely our entire and honest selves until we are dead–and not until we have been dead years and years. People ought to start dead and then they would be honest so much earlier, Mark Twain." God help America!

    November 26, 2007 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  19. Jason Welker, Cape Girardeau, Missouri

    This is an outrage! Republicans are always trying cheat their way into the White House. I have an idea, lets redistrict Texas so the democrats can get a few of the 34 electoral votes in that state. Of course you know that will not happen because the Republicans always win Texas. Until the last presidential election, I always voted for whoever I thought would be best for this country and its people. But this kind of behavior has made me a devoted Democrat.

    November 26, 2007 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. Ca Native

    "This is an outrage! Republicans are always trying cheat their way into the White House."

    Posted By Jason Welker


    Umm Jason – if you're really against the people of California having the Constitutional Right to vote how their electoral votes are distributed – come on down! Granted you're $90,000 home in Missouri will cost $500,000 out here. Gas is more expensive, State Taxes higher... but hey – you'll put your money where you mouth is.

    Otherwise, stop the yammering. You liberals seem to have forgotten States' Rights take precedence over Federal Mandates.

    I plan on voting YES to portioning out electoral votes!

    November 26, 2007 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |