Opinion: Arnold is either for electoral reform or against it


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California’s Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke out firmly and forcefully and confusingly today on the future of one of two controversial proposals to reform the way we elect presidents.

California Republicans have proposed a state initiative to change the winner-take-all system of awarding the state’s 55 electoral votes. Currently, the presidential candidate with the most popular votes gets all 55. Under the new measure, as The Times’ Dan Morain explains in his recent story, electoral votes would be awarded by how individual congressional districts vote, which would likely allow the GOP to gain at least some electoral votes in a state that otherwise votes consistently Democratic.


California Democrats have proposed a competing initiative aimed at having the state join the movement toward electing the president nationally by popular votes only: the one with the most wins.

Today, Schwarzenegger was asked where he stands on the GOP proposal. Here’s his response:

‘Well, I haven’t seen their language, so I don’t know exactly what it says. But in principle, I would say that coming from the sports background and getting a lot of my teachings from sports, I don’t like to change the rules in the middle of the game. So that is in principle.’

One would think from those words that he doesn’t like the idea, right? However, the governor had more to say:

‘But I haven’t looked at the language and I’m not saying I’m against it or I’m for it or anything. I’m just saying in principle I don’t like to change the rules in the middle of the game.’

So, exactly what game are we playing here?

--Andrew Malcolm