"President James K. Polk holds a distinction among those who have sought the nation's top job: He's the only major candidate to win the White House despite losing the vote in the state where he was born and the state where he lived."
"It happened in 1844, and now 168 years later, Republican nominee Mitt Romney may need to duplicate Polk's feat if he wants to defeat President Barack Obama in Tuesday's election."
Mitt Romney, Barack Obama and their running mates have a fair claim to a number of "home" states. None of these are really "swing states," but these in theory are the states that know these men best, so let's take a look at how the campaign is going in these states. Poll numbers are from Nate Silver's polling average as of Sunday, November 4.
Claim to fame
District of Columbia
Obama resides in the White House (2009-present).
Obama was born in Honolulu (August 4, 1961).
Obama moved to Chicago in 1991. He was Illinois State Senator 1997-2004 and Illinois' US Senator 2004-2008.
Romney has degrees in business and law from Harvard University (1971-1975). He stayed in Boston where he worked for Bain Capital (1977-2002) and served as Bishop of the Ward for the LDS Church (1981-1986). He ran for Senate unsuccessfully (1994). He was elected Governor (2003-2007).
Obama has a degree in law from Harvard University (1988-1991).
Romney was born in Detroit (March 12, 1947). His father George Romney was President of the American Motors Company (1954-1962) and Governor of Michigan (1963-1969).
Mitt and Ann Romney were married at the Salt Lake Temple (1969). Romney attended Brigham Young University. Romney ran the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Romney owns a home in Park City, UT.
(Romney sweeps Wisconsin, DC and Maryland. The candidates now have three weeks to make their case in the next states: Connecticut, Delware, New York, Rhode Island and Santorum's home state of Pennsylvania. - promoted by Publisher)
The Romney campaign claims he has a lock on the nomination. However, he is saturating the airwaves in Wisconsin as if his political future depended on it. Wisconsin is voting today in a winner-take-all primary. It is an open primary so anyone can vote regardless of party affiliation.
According to Politico, "Romney's campaign and the super PAC Restore Our Future are spending a combined $1,917,764 over the next seven days, including $742,928 from the campaign and the balance from ROF. The pro-Romney super PAC is the only group on the radio in Wisconsin and has a major TV presence across the state."
Meanwhile, Santorum is responding in kind (albeit with a much smaller budget). According to ABC News, "Rick Santorum is closing out his Wisconsin primary battle with a ferocious new television ad that portrays Romney and President Obama as the same person."
According to projections from the Associated Press, Romney has 572 delegates (of 55% of the 1031 projected so far) which puts him exactly halfway to the total of 1144 to lock in the nomination. He would need 45.5% of the remaining delegates to avoid a brokered convention.
The Santorum campaign contests those numbers. Many of the states which have voted already have a multi-stage delegate selection process which has not yet been completed, and as we saw recently in North Dakota the results can diverge surprisingly from the initial straw vote. According to DemConWatch only 869 delegates have actually been chosen of which 503 have endorsed or are pledged to Romney. This includes the 50 delegates from Florida chosen in an early winner-take-all primary which is against the rules and likely to be challenged at the Republican National Convention.
However, in the battle for campaign merchandising, Santorum is beating Romney hands down. According to the Washington Post,
Governor Corbett and his allies in Harrisburg are trying again to gerrymander the electoral college and give an advantage to the Republican Presidential candidate in 2016. Under their scheme in the name of "fairness", it would become quite likely that the candidate with the most votes in Pennsylvania would not get a majority of Pennsylvania's electoral votes. Republican legislatures are proposing these changes only in blue states — hoping to take these states off of the electoral map.
It is true that the electoral college has its problems, but the Republican backed scheme would make matters worse. Anyone truly concerned about the electoral college should consider the National Popular Vote Compact below and urge your legislators to support it.
The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the entire United States. The bill ensures that every vote, in every vote, will matter in every presidential election.
The bill has been enacted by the District of Columbiaand 8 states (VT, MD, WA, IL, NJ, MA, CA, HI) shown in green on the map. They total 132 electoral votes bringing us almost halfway towards the 270 necessary to activate the National Popular Vote.
Eleven more states (shown in purple) have passed NPV bills in at least one chamber of their legislature. For example, recently the Republican-controlled New York Senate passed NPV in a 47-13 vote. Republicans supported the bill 21-11 while Democrats supported it 26-2. Across the country, NPV has been endorsed by 2,124 state legislators.
The shortcomings of the current system stem from the winner-take-all rule (i.e., awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each state).
The winner-take-all rule has permitted a candidate to win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide in 4 of our 56 elections - 1 in 14 times. A shift of 60,000 votes in Ohio in 2004 would have elected Kerry despite Bush's nationwide lead of 3,000,000.
Another shortcoming of the winner-take-all rule is that presidential candidates have no reason to pay attention to the concerns of voters in states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind. In 2008, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their campaign visits and ad money in the November general election campaign in just six closely divided "battleground" states — with 98% going to 15 states. This makes two thirds of the states mere spectators. (The maps on the left show a similar situation during the final five weeks of the 2004 Bush-Kerry election. Each purple hand represents a visit from a presidential or vice-presidential candidate and each dollar sign represents $1,000,000 spent on TV advertising.)
The winner-take-all rule treats voters supporting the candidate who comes in second place in a particular state as if they supported the candidate that they voted against.
Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution gives the states exclusive control over the manner of awarding their electoral votes:
"Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors...."
The winner-take-all rule is not in the Constitution. It was used by only three states in our nation's first election in 1789. The current method of electing the President was established by state laws, and that these state laws may be changed at any time.
Under the National Popular Vote bill, all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes - that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538).
The bill preserves the Electoral College, while assuring that every vote is equal and that every vote will matter in every state in every presidential election.
The bill has been endorsed by New York Times, Sacramento Bee, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Los Angeles Times, Common Cause, FairVote, LWVUS, and NAACP.
As seen in this state polls are extremely favorable. Supports ranges from a "low" of 67% in Arizona to a high of 83% in Tennessee. On this map, shades of blue represent the highest support and 50/50 support would be represented in purple.
The movement for the National Popular Vote is bipartisan: The national advisory board includes former Senators Jake Garn (R-UT), Birch Bayh (D-IN), and David Durenberger (R-MN) as well as former congressmen John Anderson (R-IL, I), John Buchanan (R-AL), Tom Campbell (R-CA), and Tom Downey (D-NY). Former Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) and Governors Bob Edgar (R-IL) and Chet Culver (D-IA) are champions.
This Spring, Pennsylvania House Bill 1270 was introduced by Rep. Tom C. Creighton (R-Lancaster County) and Senate Bill 1116 was introduced by Senators Alloway, Argall, Boscola, Erickson, Fontana, Leach, Mensch, Solobay, Vance and Waugh. These bills have not yet be acted upon action by the State Government Committees.
The 2010 Census figures released yesterday show that Washington D.C. now has 601,723 residents whereas the State of Wyoming only has 563,626. In fact, Wyoming has never had as many residents as the District of Columbia.
So why does Wyoming get two Senators and a Congressmen while Americans living our nations capital have no representation in Congress?
Similarly, while Alaska currently has more residents than Washington D.C., it had far less in the census prior to Statehood.
The situation in Puerto Rico is even worse. 3,725,789 Americans live in Puerto Rico, but they do not have a vote in Congress, nor do they have any influence in the November Presidential election.
When I was an American living in France, I had the right to cast an absentee ballot in my state of origin. Does this make any sense? Should an American in France have more rights than American's in our nation's capital, Puerto Rico and the other territories.
An effort to give a single Representative to DC was defeated last year by the introduction of a poison-pill amendment promoted by the NRA.
This year, the House passed the Puerto Rico Democracy Act by a vote of 223-169. However, the Republican minority was able to prevent this bill from coming up for a vote. This act would would have allowed Puerto Ricans to vote on their status and either become a U.S. State, continue as a U.S. Territory, or become an independent country.
If the United States is to be a beacon of Democracy throughout the world, it must allow Americans in D.C. and Puerto Rico the same rights it gives Wyomans, Alaskans and Americans Abroad.
The Philadelphia Jewish Voice is an online non-profit volunteer based community newspaper serving the Philadelphia Jewish Community since 2005. We are dedicated to addressing the important social, political and cultural issues facing our community in a spirit of honesty, integrity and diversity.
Your tax-deductible donations will help give Voice to the Greater Philadelphia Jewish Community.
To pay by credit card or paypal, click here:
or send a check to:
Eric Smolen, Treasurer,
Philadelphia Jewish Voice,
327 Pembroke Road,
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
The Philadelphia Jewish Voice is organized pursuant to
Pennsylvania's non-profit corporation law. We have tax-exempt status under IRS
Code Section 501(c)(3). Contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of
For more information about the Philadelphia Jewish Voice visit