Voting Today in Maryland, DC and Wisconsin

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,

The campaign has looked for them, selling official Mitt Romney Super Fan T-shirts for $30 apiece. At last count, it had sold 346. Rick Santorum, by contrast, has sold 3,000 of his $100 souvenir sweater vests.

Primary results after the jump.
 
Color Key  

Romney: Orange.
Santorum: Green.
Gingrich: Purple.
Paul: Gold.
Rick Perry: Blue.
No Votes: Black.
No vote yet: Grey.


Next Contests  
Apr 24: CT DE NY PA RI
May  8: IN NC WV
May 15: NE OR
May 22: AR KY
May 29: TX
Jun  5: CA MT NJ NM SD
Jun 26: UT


States Won

Newt Gingrich: SC GA
Mitt Romney: NH FL NV ME AZ MI WY WA VA VT MA ID AK OH HI IL DC MD WI
Rick Santorum: IA CO MN MO TN OK ND KS AL MS LA

American Vision – Prologue

Prologue of American Vision by Bruce Ticker

Bruce Ticker has written a new book American Vision. He has given us permission to publish this work as a weekly series. Here is the prologue.

Even on a day when almost nothing happens, the course of American history can be set for more than two centuries.

One such day was July 17, 1787. The birth of the Connecticut Compromise is customarily dated to July 16, 1787, when the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia approved a fresh but flawed legislative system, as part of a broader package of provisions for the budding Constitution.

Prior to 10 a.m. on the 17th, delegates from the most populous states to the Convention gathered at what is now Philadelphia’s Independence Hall to assess the convention’s vote from the day before.

The Connecticut Compromise created a split form of government: Each member of the House of Representatives would represent the same number of Americans, on a proportionate basis, and each state would be represented by the same number of senators regardless of population.

More after the jump.
The compromise split the difference between the Virginia Plan for proportionate representation in both chambers and the response to the Virginia delegates, the New Jersey Plan. New Jersey’s delegates, afraid that the large states would overwhelm smaller states like New Jersey, demanded equal representation in all chambers.

Under Convention rules, each delegate had the right to raise any issue whenever they wanted, even after a decisive vote was taken. That means the issue could be reopened on any given day, and that day was July 17.

The main players of this caucus – Virginians James Madison and Edmund Randolph, Pennsylvanians James Wilson and Gouverneur Morris, and Rufus King of Massachusetts – reopened the issue, however briefly. They met to discuss how to react to the July 16 vote on the basis of their insistence that both the House and Senate should represent the people on a proportionate basis.

As constitutional scholar Richard Beeman writes, Madison reported that “the time was wasted in vague conversation on the subject, without any specific proposition or agreement.”

In his book “Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution,” Beeman characterizes the outcome this way: “He discovered much to his chagrin that only a handful of delegates felt as strongly about the issue as he did, and no one was willing to risk the outcome of the Convention on it.”

So on March 4, 1789, the newly-revamped Congress convened in New York City for the first time at Wall and Nassau streets, eight blocks southeast of the future site of the demolished World Trade Center. Actually, it took roughly a month before either chamber had a quorum. Come April 30, George Washington was inaugurated at the same site as the first president of the United States.

Madison and the other four were apprehensive about a Senate where each state is authorized to send the same number of senators to Congress. As Beeman puts it, “They held the principled view that it was wrong to give any state government, be it a large state or a small one, too much weight and authority within the national government. The only way to avoid that injustice was to represent the people according to their numbers.”

History would repeatedly prove Madison and associates to be right. For example, the senators from New Jersey, Frank R. Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, and Maryland, Barbara A. Mikulski and Benjamin L. Cardin, discovered in 2010 that the wealthy would retain their tax cuts and health-care reform would be watered down. Delaware Sens. Thomas R. Carper and Christopher A. Coons advocate for most of the same concerns affecting the three states.

Such lapses are mainly rooted in how the Senate is composed in combination with its much-abused filibuster rule.

More than two centuries earlier, the chief opponents of proportionate representation in the Senate represented Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. Though Delaware ranks 45th in population with 844,000 residents, New Jersey now ranks 11th with 8.7 million people and Maryland is 19th, population 5.6 million, according to Census Bureau figures. With 19.5 million people, New York is now the third most populous state.

Many of the 37.5 million Americans from these states are paying today in large part because of the Connecticut Compromise.