Electoral College Tinkering: a National GOP Push?
Now, on the other side of two wins by Barack Obama, national Republicans are looking at ways to blunt the Democratic edge in Rust Belt states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin that go blue in presidential years but are presently governed by Republicans.
Republicans alarmed at the apparent challenges they face in winning the White House are preparing an all-out assault on the Electoral College system in critical states, an initiative that would significantly ease the party’s path to the Oval Office.
Senior Republicans say they will try to leverage their party’s majorities in Democratic-leaning states in an effort to end the winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes. Instead, bills that will be introduced in several Democratic states would award electoral votes on a proportional basis.
Obama won all three states in 2008, handing him 46 electoral votes because of the winner-take-all system. Had electoral votes been awarded by district, Republican nominee Mitt Romney would have cut into that lead. Final election results show that Romney won nine of Michigan’s 14 districts, five of eight in Wisconsin, and at least 12 of 18 in Pennsylvania. Allocate the two statewide votes in each state to Obama and that means Romney would have emerged from those three Democratic states with 26 electoral votes, compared with just 19 for Obama (and one district where votes are still being counted).
The down side for the GOP? Such changes would effectively nationalize state legislative elections – a big potential threat to Republicans in swing districts.
Pa. hasn’t gone Republican in a presidential election since 1988.
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware) suggested such a change back in 2011. His proposal would have allocated Pa. electoral college votes according to congressional district. That met with broad criticism, given that Republicans also drew the congressional map.
Earlier this month, Pileggi introduced a revised plan that would allocate votes proportionally.
Update: Pileggi spokesman Erik Arneson said the Senator introduced both versions of his plan, in 2011 and 2012, with no input from anyone in DC.