Why Try to Win When You Can Just Change the Rules?

Earlier last month, Pennsylvania Republicans floated a proposal to allocate the state’s 22 electoral votes by congressional district instead of winner-take-all. The change would have rigged the game in favor of the Republican presidential candidate, given the partisan composition of the state’s congressional districts. Democrats cried out against the proposal, and voters voiced their disapproval as well. Human Events reports that Pennsylvania House Republicans have backed away from the proposal, citing the potential for voter backlash:

Although joint House-Senate legislative hearings on the electoral vote proposal were held in October, backers were lukewarm in voicing their support and signs are now strong the measure will not make it out of committee for a vote by Thanksgiving. Several sources told HUMAN EVENTS that the Keystone State’s 12 Republican U.S. representatives suddenly became nervous about any possible danger to their re-elections that the change in electoral vote apportionment might pose and then sent word to state legislators to “cool it.”

With any luck, they will rub off on Republicans in Arizona, who have just impeached the (independent) chair of the state redistricting commission following the release of a map that failed to provide Republicans with a decisive advantage.

One of the striking things about the current Republican Party –- as illustrated by these attempted power grabs and others in Wisconsin and Ohio -– is the extent to which it denies the legitimacy of Democratic leadership. From endless filibusters and attacks on the nomination process, to disenfranchisement and attempts to rig the electoral system, right-wing Republicans treat governing as if it’s the sole prerogative of conservatives. Democratic presidents are ipso facto illegitimate, and movement conservatives are justified in using any means to sabotage their administrations –- up to and including impeachment.

To borrow a little from Jonathan Bernstein, here’s a prediction. If Barack Obama wins re-election in 2012, we can expect Republicans to begin their campaign to remove him from office. That the Obama White House is scandal-free won’t actually matter.

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