As reported recently, there is a move by Republicans to change the electoral college in order to make it essentially impossible for Democrats to ever win the Presidency. For instance, under the new law proposed in Virginia, instead of winning 13 electoral college votes, President Obama would have received only 4 despite winning the statewide election by four points. This is also being contemplated in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, and other blue states that currently are in the control of Republican governors and legislatures.
Were this to happen, not only would it be blatantly unfair, but it would be destabilizing to the society. Though antiquated, the winner of electoral college usually receives the most popular votes as well. It has happened only a few times where that wasn’t the case, the 2000 election being one of them. But even there the margin was close and though there was a dispute over the outcome in Florida, nobody had changed the rules so dramatically as to make it impossible for one side or the other to win. (This is not to say that Al Gore wasn’t cheated - he was - but it wasn’t as blatant.)
Now, imagine in this last election that despite winning the popular vote by more than five million votes, Barack Obama had been denied the Presidency because of the rigging of the electoral college. Mitt Romney would be considered by more than half the country as an illegitimate President. His entire Presidency would be seen as fraudulently obtained by a majority of the country. Further, the rigging of the electoral college is also racist as it dramatically lessens the impact of urban minority voters, enraging groups already with a history of disenfranchisement.
Unlike 2000, I do not believe that a Presidency obtained in this manner would be met with only mild protest as when Al Gore graciously conceded after the Supreme Court ruling ending the recount. Rather, I believe civil unrest and possibly riots would ensue, and that ironically many blue states would start talking about secession. Why should California and New York have to tolerate a right wing president elected illegitimately in a rigged election by a minority of the population? Of course, a clamor would ensue to change the election of the President to a popular vote. But changing the constitution is difficult, and would take time.
We have a significant segment of the population that has talked of secession with President Obama’s reelection. But he won fair and square, with a substantial electoral college and popular vote majority. Republicans know that winning the Presidency in the future will be difficult with their current policies. But rather than change their philosophy, they would prefer to change the rules creating a stacked deck in their favor. People don’t like card cheats anymore then political cheats, and will express their feelings vehemently if this comes about. People are unhappy when they lose, but they become furious when they are cheated.