Walker starts to get cold feet on electoral scheme

The Maddow Blog

Over the weekend, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) offered cautious encouragement to Republicans hoping to rig the 2016 presidential election by changing how his state allocates electoral votes. The conservative governor didn’t explicitly endorse the idea, but Walker called it “interesting” and “worth looking at.”

Yesterday, the Wisconsin Republican was far more circumspect.

Gov. Scott Walker says he has a “real concern” about a Republican idea to change the way the state awards its electoral votes, conceding the move could make Wisconsin irrelevant in presidential campaigns. […]

“One of our advantages is, as a swing state, candidates come here. We get to hear from the candidates,” said Walker in an interview Saturday at a conservative conference in Washington, D.C. “That’s good for voters. If we change that, that would take that away, it would largely make us irrelevant.”

That’s a far cry from what Walker was saying over the weekend, and it’s a welcome change. What’s more, it’s worth noting that the governor happens to be correct — if Wisconsin changed to a system in which electoral votes are dictated by gerrymandered district lines, the state would immediately go from key, contested battleground to campaign afterthought.

Indeed, that applies to any of the other states (Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, and Florida) where the election-rigging scheme has been discussed — candidates and their campaign teams wouldn’t have any incentive to invest time and energy in states where the outcome is predetermined.

So, does this mean Walker is against the idea?

It remains unclear — he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he’s “qualified” his comments from the weekend, and he’s “not embracing” the scheme, at least not yet.

Walker added, “The most important thing to me long-term as governor on that is what makes your voters be in play.” And if that’s true, this plan is a non-starter, since it would do the exact opposite.

This would, incidentally, put Walker at odds with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, a long-time ally of the governor who’s also from Wisconsin and who’s endorsed the scheme.