GOP efforts to rig the Electoral College in favor of GOP presidential candidates may be close to dead, but a group of Republicans are hard at work at another plot to blow up the system: switch to the popular vote. Although more closely associated with progressive circles in recent years, the idea has a number of conservative activists behind it as well. And there are signs it’s gaining momentum. “I think there’s a growing consensus that the winner-take-all system we’re currently under is a problem, that it’s not representative, that only a small number of states benefit, and that it needs to be changed,” Saul Anuzis, a Republican national committeeman from Michigan who advocates on behalf of the nonpartisan National Popular Vote group, told TPM. The plan, as espoused by groups like NPV, is to lobby states to pass binding legislation pledging their entire slate of electors to whichever candidate wins the most votes nationwide. The bills would only take effect once enough states join in to provide a guaranteed majority in the Electoral College — 270 votes — in order to prevent individual legislatures from trying to game the system unilaterally.
On the surface, there’s nothing particularly partisan about the proposal (several recent analysesconcluded Republicans are actually more likely to benefit in the short term.) But the last race to feature a split between the popular and electoral vote was George W. Bush’s 2000 victory and the memory of that contest still hovers over the debate for many Republicans.
“I argue we would have run the 2000 race differently, so it’s not fair to judge based on past elections,” Anuzis said.
Not coincidentally, the places that have actually passed a national popular vote agreement so far are all solid blue — California, Vermont, Maryland, Washington, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia — even though some states had Republican support behind their bill. RNC members also gave Anuzis some flack for his popular vote advocacy when he ran unsuccessfully for RNC chair in 2011.
Anuzis, for his part, is trying his best to tailor his arguments to their concerns. He pitches the Electoral College as a prime driver of big government, encouraging politicians to lavish goodies to win a narrow set of demographics in just a handful of battlegrounds.
“People realize we have ethanol because of Iowa, we have Medicare Part D because of Florida, and people realize many of the issues they care about aren’t being discussed because theyre not a swing state,” he said.
Full Article: The Other GOP Plan To Rearrange The Electoral Vote | TPMDC.