John Nichols, a columnist for The Nation, has exposed yet another Republican-backed scheme to rig the electoral college.
The scheme involves six states, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida, all of which voted for President Obama in 2012 but have Republican-controlled state legislatures and governorships, proposing and enacting state laws changing the way it allocates its electoral votes from the "winner-take-all" system, in which the Presidential ticket that receives the most number of votes in any state that allocates its electoral votes that way win's all of that state's electoral votes, to a "closed party list" system, in which electoral votes are allocated roughly in proportion to the percentage of the vote that each presidential ticket receives in any state that implements such a scheme.
Here's how Nichols described this latest GOP-backed scheme:
Priebus initially talked up the idea of to having Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania abandon the current model of assigning electoral votes to the winner of the state and instead implement a model where the allotment would be based on the winners of congressional districts. That plan, which would have allowed the loser of the popular vote in many states to "win" most of the electoral votes, was such a blatant rip-off that shamed Republicans in Virginia, Florida, Wisconsin and other states abandoned it.Republican Pennsylvania State Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi says that he will introduce legislation that would change the way Pennsylvania's electoral votes are allocated from the winner-take-all system to the proportional system.
But they did not abandon the basic premise laid out by Priebus -- that states that are "controlled red" by the Republicans should game the rules so that they are less "consistently blue" in presidential politics. They've just shifted strategy.
Under the plan now being entertained by Pennsylvania Republicans, electoral votes would be distributed based on the percentage of the vote received by the contenders. Had the plan been in place in 2012, President Obama, who won 52 percent of the Pennsylvania popular vote, would have gotten 11 or 12 electoral votes, while Republican Mitt Romney would have gotten 8 or 9.
That looks like a more reasonable result than under the plan for allocating by congressional district results, which would have given Romney most of Pennsylvania's electoral votes despite Obama's popular vote win.
But here's where things get tricky. If Pennsylvania and other swing states that tend to back Democrats move to the proportional model, while big states such as Texas and Georgia that have been voting Republican stick with a winner-take-all plan, they will lock in a national advantage for the Republicans.
The Pennsylvania initiative may not be quite as "sweet" for Republicans as the initial Priebus plan. But if states that vote Democratic assign substantial numbers of their electoral votes to the Republican loser, while states that vote Republican make no such concession, it will be a lot easier to chart a course where a Republican nominee who is trounced in the national popular vote might still "win" the electoral vote and the presidency.
Once again, Republicans are plotting to steal the 2016 presidential election. Let's hold them accountable another time!