Republicans Aim to Change Electoral College Rules Rather Than Their Party

From the “Can’t Win Any Other Way” files comes the news that the GOP has defined a new strategy to deal with its declining national popularity. In states where Republicans hold state legislatures and governorship’s in their control, the GOP is trying to change the way Electoral College votes are allocated so that they are assigned by congressional district rather than to the winner of the statewide popular vote. The first step in this plan has been taken in Virginia; a state whose Electoral College votes were awarded to President Obama in 2008 and 2010.

Last week Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus endorsed a similar proposal for all battle ground states where the GOP holds control of state legislatures. With that control, the GOP has already solidified control of the House of Representatives by gerrymandering congressional districts to maintain control even though the party lost the congressional popular vote nationwide in the last election.

Huffington Post has outlined, in and article today, the effect of this strategy on the last election. If applied as planned, President Obama would  have lost the presidential election by at least 11 electoral votes.

The strategy would have states alter the way they translate individual votes into electors — thereby giving Republican candidates an advantage. Had the 2012 election been apportioned in every state according to these new Republicans plans, Romney would have led Obama by at least 11 electoral votes.

You’ve got to admire the creativity of this failed political party which should be “relegated to the dustbin of history,” as Speaker John Boehner fears.


This is what the 2012 electoral map would have looked liked had each state apportioned its electors using the proposed GOP rules. (Graphic: Huffington Post)


In the 2012 election, President Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney by 126 electoral votes. (Graphic: Huffington Post)

In the 2012 election, President Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney by 126 electoral votes. (Graphic: Huffington Post)

  9 comments for “Republicans Aim to Change Electoral College Rules Rather Than Their Party

  1. Kathy Miller
    January 25, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Tell me again how gerrymandering is good for democracy?

  2. toto
    January 25, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Obvious partisan machinations like these should add support for the National Popular Vote movement. If the party in control in each state is tempted every 2, 4, or 10 years (post-census) to consider rewriting election laws and redistrict with an eye to the likely politically beneficial effects for their party in the next presidential election, then the National Popular Vote system, in which all voters across the country are guaranteed to be politically relevant and treated equally, looks better and better.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country.

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of ‘battleground’ states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 80% of the states that now are just ‘spectators’ and ignored after the conventions.

    When the bill is enacted by states with a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), 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 presidential election system that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers but, instead, is the product of decades of evolutionary change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in recent closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states with 243 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions with 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

    Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

  3. January 25, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    I hate it when you guys make glaring typos right in the middle of your huge gigantic headlines!

    • January 25, 2013 at 4:12 pm

      I hate it when you do it too

      • January 25, 2013 at 5:52 pm

        Hm. Well be sure and let me know!

    • January 25, 2013 at 8:37 pm

      Oops, Too early in the morning, not enough coffee. Or maybe too much.

  4. John MacMurray
    January 25, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Saying that the proposed gerrymandering would have cost the Democrats the sweeping victory they engineered in the 2012 elections seems to contain a logic error: arguing that possible future events would influence past events is akin to arguing that the Confederate forces could have won the Civil War had they been able to use M-1 tanks or F16 fighters.

    The argument also overlooks the incredible depth and width of the organizing and planning that the Obama campaigns designed and used; talk to Greg Diamond about his experiences working for the Obama campaign for insights on this.

    The argument also overlooks the frequently-demonstrated fact that Barack Obama seems to be several orders of magnitude smarter than his Republican opponents.

    And just as Barack Obama was able to use these resources to resoundingly defeat the best that the Republicans could offer under the rules of the last elections, I feel strongly that he would use these resources to prevail under different rules.

    Which does not take away from the fact that shoddy and deceptive tactics like voter restrictions and gerrymandering are cowardly and despicable.

    • January 25, 2013 at 8:28 pm


      While future elections are always going to be slightly different, the voting histories of congressional districts are indicative. the issue is the number of delegates awarded to each candidate, and how. Using the example of the implications of the proposal based upon what it would have looked like if the full proposal was in place for the last election is appropriate. Obviously, that’s the way the RNC is looking at it.

  5. RHackett
    January 26, 2013 at 4:30 am

    When your party has lost five of the last six popular votes, one is forced to come up with creative methods to win.

    This one is pretty good. However, it seems to be losing steam amongst even the GOP.

Comments are closed.