Redistricting and the Electoral College: 2 Reasons Obama May Lose in 2012

Around the media world and blogosphere, I incessantly see articles suggesting how Barack Obama has assured a victory in the 2012 presidential election after his decision to go into Pakistan and kill Osama bin Laden. Now, I, too, wrote a piece some weeks ago asserting six reasons why he had the inside road to winning in 2012.  Although I stand by it, it was written before the raid on Osama bin Laden and, more importantly, before the actual redistricting of the GOP. Redistricting occurs once every 10 years, which just happens to be now.

Redistricting efforts will be very important in the 2012 Presidential elections since many states have become Republican-dominated since the November 2010 elections, which saw sweeping changes in legislations across the nation. The census shift that was documented last year, more than likely, will hurt Obama in 2012 since people have left traditional blue states for red ones.

Texas is one such case, where it is expected to pick up three House seats and electoral college votes while Michigan, traditionally a Democrat state, is expected to lose a House seat. In fact, census data indicate that states won by John McCain in 2009 are projected to gain six seats in Congress, meaning states where Obama won will lose six. New York and Ohio, also traditionally Democrat states, are expected to lose congressional seats as well.

In North Carolina, for example, the Republican-controlled state legislature looks to create new districts benefiting its party and are planning to try to redraw the districts that would shift power to Republicans statewide by increasing GOP voting strength in non-black regions. The reality is that November’s elections put Republicans in control of dozens of state legislatures and governorships, just as states prepare to redraw their congressional and legislative district maps. Republicans now control the governor’s offices and both legislative chambers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Indiana, Maine and Wisconsin. They are governors in Nevada, New Mexico, Virginia and Iowa.

Those that assert his re-election is assured by the raid on the bin Laden compound lack the foresight to include the aforementioned and the Electoral College and their impact on the selection of the president. The Electoral College, administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), is a process that began as part of the original design of the U.S. Constitution. It was established to serve as a compromise between election of the president by Congress and election by popular vote. The political parties nominate electors at their state party conventions or by a vote of the party’s central committee in each state and often recognize and are dedicated to their political party first.

Although Obama has a good chance of being re-elected, he may just as likely lose due to the census, gains in Republican-dominated states and the Electoral College. So, if he doesn’t win and the projections of pundits based on one political-military event that he would are wrong, just remember that their failure was due to a lack of knowledge of the Constitution and middle school civics. –torrance t. stephens, ph.d.

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