It appears that the Virginia Republican plan to change the way that Virginia's electoral college votes are distributed is going to come to an end. Yet, I wonder if there is an opportunity here for Democrats and progressives to gain a political advantage. How could they do that? By amending the bill to provide for proportional distribution of Virginia's electoral college votes.
Many of Virginia's Republican State Senators are on record as saying that the present winner take all system is "unfair" to their rural constituents, that those same constituents feel "ignored" by candidates concentrating their efforts in urban areas. So why not a proportional system that would distribute Virginia's electoral college votes in the same percentage as the state-wide popular vote?
Now, at first glance, this might seem to cost Democratic candidates votes because in 2008 and 2012 Obama carried Virginia. If you look at the last forty years, however, the number of times that a Democratic candidate carried Virginia are exactly two, in 2008 and 2012. Even Carter and Clinton, who were both Southern white males didn't carry Virginia.
Think about this, if Virginia had allocated its electoral votes on a proportional basis in 2004 John Kerry would have received 6 electoral votes and Bush would have received 7. In 2000 Gore would have received 6 and Bush would have received 7. (For purposes of this diary I am assuming that percentages would be rounded up or down depending on what the percentage actually was. For example 44.6% would be rounded up to 45% while 44.4% would be rounded down to 44%). If this idea caught on, it would be a backdoor way to a genuine popular vote for the presidency that would not require a constitutional amendment.
I am not sure what would happen if a Democratic State Senator proposed this idea as an amendment to the current legislation. Unlike the GOP plan it doesn't depend on gerrymandered congressional districts which is also what distinguishes it from the plans in Maine and Nebraska. It also would seem to survive a 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause issue since there would be no "packing" of "urban" voters into just a few districts.
I would be interested in readers' reactions to this idea, especially readers from Virginia. Thanks for taking the time to read this diary.