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GOP Launches Big Electoral Vote Gambit
29 Jan 2013

GOP Launches Big Electoral Vote Gambit

The Fix reports that, “RNC Chair Reince Priebus voiced some support this month for an effort to reform how some states award their electoral votes. And the effect of the movement in helping Republicans win presidential elections should not be underestimated.” WHAT’S ON THE TABLE “Basically, Republicans who have control of states that went for Obama in 2012 are pushing for their states to change how they award electoral votes. While almost every state awards electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis, Republicans want these states to instead award one vote to the winner of each congressional district (with the other 2 EVs likely given to the state winner, as they are in the two states that currently employ this method:  Maine and Nebraska). The new system would allow Republicans to consistently win electoral votes (and quite possibly a majority of electoral votes) from states such as Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, regardless of whether they win the statewide vote.” WHY DOES IT MATTER? Because “the congressional district method gives the GOP a much better chance of winning, since a strong majority of U.S. congressional districts lean Republican. The numbers are stark: If every state awarded its electoral votes by congressional district, Mitt Romney would have won the 2012 presidential election despite losing the popular vote by nearly four percentage points.” WHY IT COULD HAPPEN … “Republicans continue to control the state legislature and the governor’s mansion in all six states. That means, with enough political will, they may be able to push through such changes.” WHY IT WOULDN’T HAPPEN “1) … tricky politics. It’s pretty clear that the GOP is looking at these changes for political gain, rather than because they make sense as reforms. (There’s a reason the GOP is proposing this in blue and swing states they control rather than red states they control, because in the latter case they would be losing electoral votes.) 2) … With Governors Tom Corbett (R-Pa.), Rick Snyder (R-Mich.), John Kasich (R-Ohio), Scott Walker (R-Wis.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) already having dealt with some very tough issues in their tenures and having the political scars to show for it, there may not be an appetite for something so difficult and uncertain.” And finally …“congressional districts change every 10 years, so who is to say that the changes wouldn’t one day hurt the GOP?” I say, beware of “Unintended Consequences.”

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