As one of the most reliably Republican states, Louisiana no longer matters in presidential politics.
The rest of the time, we’re firmly in the GOP column, colored red on the national map from day one.
That extreme reliability isn’t good for us.
Major party nominees never advertise on our airwaves, nor do they visit us, unless they come to raise money or speak to a national convention. We get no love.
That silence and inattention may be depressing our voter participation. In 2008, for example, the major battleground states all had higher voter turnout rates than Louisiana.
When we have a Republican president, the fact that we’re a strong red state doesn’t earn us the special attention usually showered on a swing state. And Democratic presidents know that we are so completely Republican that no amount of special attention will ever put us into play.
No matter the president, we’re ignored (unless we have a hurricane or a major oil spill).
Our dead-certain reliability in national politics may be one reason Mitt Romney passed over Gov. Bobby Jindal in choosing Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate.
Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin is in play. Louisiana isn’t.
So, as GOP delegates convene this week, you won’t see the Louisiana delegation on the front row in the Tampa convention hall. They’ll probably be in the back of the room, just as irrelevant at their convention as their state is in national politics.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Abolishing the Electoral College – in which states are winner-take-all propositions – would eliminate the whole notion of swing states and make every vote count. That would make your vote and mine just as valuable as those in the big battleground states of Ohio or Florida
But that would take an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
However, Louisiana doesn’t have to amendment the Constitution.
Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution says, “Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors equal to the whole number of senators and representatives to which the state may be entitled in the Congress . . . .”
In other words, our legislature could, on its own, vote to apportion our electoral votes based on the percentage of the vote each candidate receives. In fact, the Louisiana Legislature considered and rejected a similar proposal in its recent session.
Most Republicans opposed tinkering with our electoral vote process because it might result in two or three of our electoral votes going to the Democratic nominee.
But that small change might make us relevant again.
We only have eight electoral votes, but if Democrats had the chance to pick up two or three votes, both parties might start paying us more attention.
When the Republican and Democratic parties think a poor state like Louisiana is worthy of their attention, that’s not a bad thing.
What’s bad is when they continue taking us for granted.
- Electoral college model predicts big Romney win (humanevents.com)
- Electoral College Model: Romney Landslide! Forecast Every Winner Since 1980 (itmakessenseblog.com)
- Academic model: Romney will take 52.9% of the vote, 320 electoral votes (hotair.com)