GOP vice chair questions Electoral College initiative

Don’t assume that every Republican in California favors a proposed ballot initiative that would alter the way the state allocates its Electoral College votes in the 2008 presidential election.

California GOP Vice Chairman Tom Del Beccaro, also the chairman of the Contra Costa GOP, has posted an article on his web site, Political Vanguard, that urges Republicans to resist the lure of instant gratification.

By way of background, the proposed ballot measure calls for California to scrap its winner-take-all method and award its 55 Electoral College votes based on the winner of each congressional district.

Backed by several former aides to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, it has attracted nationwide attention among critics who say it could hand the presidency in 2008 to a Republican. If this system had been in place in 2004, President George Bush would have received 22 of California’s Electoral College votes.

But Del Beccaro warns that a short-term political gain could severely undermine one of the nation’s key protections against the tyranny of the majority.

“As a practical matter today, the Electoral College prevents the Democrats from winning the presidency by the popular vote of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, etc. – all to the exclusion of the red, fly-over states,” Del Beccaro wrote. “…. We may well be better off practicing philosophic toleration lest we lose not only the Electoral College but the stability of our traditions, a prospect which cannot be what our Founders had in mind when they crafted such a measured Constitution.”

Lisa Vorderbrueggen