If you can't win fairly, try changing the rules

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After the weekend retreat, the House Republicans decided not to try to push the country over another fiscal cliff, and proposed that the debt-ceiling deadline be postponed until May. The bill they passed also stated that members of Congress would not be paid if they didn’t pass a budget plan for the coming year. That isn’t much of a threat to most members of the Senate, who are independently wealthy and don’t live off a periodic paycheck, but it sounds good anyway.

So is the 2012 election officially over? Not in the minds of some politicians. A handful of state Republican leaders are pushing for a change in the way the Electoral College works. As things stand now, the candidate who wins a state’s popular vote gets all of that state’s electoral votes. The disgruntled party leaders want the vote broken down by congressional districts, so the final vote would no longer be winner-take-all. If that formula had been the law in November, Mitt Romney would have been elected president.

This latest attempt to destroy the Electoral College has the blessings of the Republican Party national chairman and quite a few members of Congress. Not every Republican celebrity is going along with the plot, however. Former GOP Chairman Haley Barbour has called the effort a “cheap stunt” that reflects poorly on the party. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called his party the “dumb party” because, he said, it is “constantly doing and saying the wrong thing.”

But facts are facts. Thankfully, elections in America are run honestly and by the rules. Whoever tries to subvert the American way of electing presidents is a cheater, plain and simple.

Jerry Kremer was a state assemblyman for 23 years, and chaired the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now heads Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm. Comments about this column? JKremer@liherald.com.

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