OK

Remember that time our candidate won a half million more votes for President and was never inaugurated? Bad times. But for Katrino Trinko (real name!) at NRO those were great times and she has advice on how future GOP candidates can win with even bigger popular vote deficits.

No need for the GOP to reconsider its platform. No need to expand the party beyond old, white and heterosexual voters.

Just change the rules. Romney would have won, she writes, if GOP governors had said, as she does, that "it’s time to overhaul the system itself."

Imagination land lies below the puffy orange cloud.

What if we lived in a land where the GOP could gerrymander not just congressional districts but the whole presidential election? Well that land would be one where...

President-elect Romney would be planning his inauguration right now.
Trinko can almost see it. All it would take, she writes, is:
If states stop awarding votes on a winner-take-all basis, Republicans could also win — and without necessarily getting more votes. Determining Electoral College voting by congressional districts represents one obvious opportunity for Republicans: In that scenario, the effect of urban Democratic strongholds (such as those Philadelphia precincts where Obama was supported by 99 percent of voters) would be isolated. Instead of shifting the entire state’s electoral votes, those precincts would only influence their congressional districts.
Pretty simple. There are a lot of rural low population counties that vote Republican and a smaller number of large population counties that vote Democratic. If the GOP can change the rules to take advantage of this then the 47% of Romney supporters could lord over the 53% of non-Romney supporters. Genius!

Trinko's column cites research by FairVote.com which is ironic since that group is specifically working against systems (including the electoral college) which skew the value of different citizen's votes. In fact, Fairvote is warning against what Republicans might do. They present six ideas that would improve GOP prospects and make winning possible when losing the popular vote:

it's all predicated, of course, on something I fervently hope isn't true: that Republicans in these six key states would be willing to ignore the large majority of voters who prefer a level playing field in our elections - an attitude we call on all elected officials to reject with our Stand with Voters pledge.
But Trinko is excited about these six plans, especially two which would have given Romney electoral college wins of 274-264 and 280-258. Both are based on changing rules in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia and Florida to award electoral votes proportionally by congressional district. These are states with Republican governors and legislatures.

But if these ideas won't fly, Trinko suggests a look at Fairvote's goal: a national popular vote. As she puts it, that way the GOP could win even if the number of red states declines. I think she's wrong but now might be the best time to propose this constitutional change [EDIT: See Kos's comment below]. Currently our system grants disproportionate power to small population states because they all get 3 electoral votes regardless of how small they are.

Either way, you know the GOP is heading down the wrong path if, instead of soul searching and making real changes, they are looking to game the system.

Originally posted to tremayne on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:10 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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