The Campaign Spot

The Constitutional Idea that Could Guarantee a GOP Win in 2016

Maine and Nebraska do not allocate their electoral votes in the presidential election by “winner take all.”

These states allocate two electoral votes to the popular vote winner, and then one each to the popular vote winner in each Congressional district (2 in Maine, 3 in Nebraska) in their state.

Starting in January, Republicans will hold state legislative majorities and the governor’s mansions in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, and Nevada. If some or all of those states passed laws allocating their electoral votes by districts, all of these purple-to-blue states would allocate their electoral votes in a way that would make it extremely likely for Republicans to win at least half of them. And without half the electoral votes in those states, it would nearly impossible for the Democratic nominee to win.

For example, Barack Obama won Ohio twice, and because he won the popular vote in 2012, won all of the state’s 18 electoral votes. Under the district system, if the Republican presidential nominee wins all of the U.S. House districts in Ohio currently held by the GOP, he would get twelve electoral votes and the Democrat would get only six.

In Michigan, Obama won all 16 of the state’s electoral votes; if the Republican 2016 nominee won all the currently GOP-held House districts, he would get nine and the Democrat would get seven.

Of course, by doing this, states would become much less decisive in the presidential race.

Any state’s change to this more proportional system would be entirely constitutional. When Barack Obama won one of Nebraska’s electoral votes in 2008, no one on the Democratic side complained.

So . . . should Republicans pursue this course?

Pretty tempting map, huh?

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