Isn't that just because there aren't as many voters in Southeast Ohio? The reason rural America is losing power just because that's not where the population is anymore, and politicians are going to go where the votes are -- that's democracy.
The difference, though, is that rural and urban America increasingly have different goals, different aspirations, and different goals they use to evaluate candidates. We're seeing a situation where people in Michigan say, wait a minute, why should Detroit always get to pick our candidates? I go to Detroit once a year.
Here's the thing, this is how we already do it [in presidential primaries]. This is not a radical idea. This is why Obama beat Hillary. This is why Santorum was able to stay in [as long as he did against Romney]. He lost Michigan, but he split with Romney in terms of delegates [apportioned by congressional district]. We already do this. We already think this is a perfectly fine way for parties to award their delegates. It's not some newfangled, crazy idea.
I've heard an objection to this idea from some Republicans, who worry that it would have given Obama, for example, an incentive to campaign and turn out voters in their districts, which could hurt reelection chances for Republican members of Congress. Have you heard that objection from your colleagues in the GOP?
The point of this is not to help or hurt Republicans. Competitive elections are a good thing.
I also think this solves the voter-fraud problem. There's a perception that voter fraud happens on both sides -- Democrats believe Republicans do it, Republicans believe Democrats do it, I don't know who does it more or better. The point is, under this system you don't have much of an incentive to steal votes.
Why not? Isn't the incentive to steal votes the same anywhere?
It's a lot harder to steal votes in Sheridan, Michigan, than Detroit, Michigan. Dead people don't vote in Sheridan, Michigan. They do in Detroit.
A lot of Democrats will hear this as racial code -- that you want to disenfranchise urban voters, disproportionately minorities, in the inner cities, while giving more weight to the predominantly white populations of rural areas.
I want to disenfranchise dead people, yes. I believe their franchise ends when they die.
It has nothing to do with race. But I don't believe anybody in politics would tell you with straight face that there isn't some sort of problem with the way the Chicago machine works, going back to Dan Rostenkowski -- a white guy. It's not a race issue, it's about a machine.
You are a Republican operative, though. And it's Republican legislators who are pushing this in all the states where it's come up so far. You can claim this is about policy, but doesn't it really make it easier for Republicans to win presidential elections?
That could be a byproduct, depending on who drew the lines last and who's running -- a lot of different things. What it's really about is making sure that more people in more congressional districts get attention.
I think Democrats in Texas should be all over this. Democrats would probably win 15 electoral votes in Texas. I'm not saying this will always be comfortable for Republicans. I've had lots of Republicans argue with me about this, too. Why shouldn't Democrats in Arizona get their voices heard? Why shouldn't they matter too?
* Correction: An earlier version of this post stated that the Virginia bill had passed the House of Delegates. We regret the error.