It has been reported that Republicans are trying to change the way electoral college votes are awarded in certain states.
Basically, Republicans who have control of states that went for President Obama in the 2012 election are pushing for their states to change how they award electoral votes. While almost every state awards electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis, Republicans want these states to instead award one vote to the winner of each congressional district.http://www.washingtonpost.com/...
The other two electoral votes that each state has would likely would be given to the statewide winner
The goal of these Republicans is to make it more likely that a Republican is elected President. According to The Washington Post article cited above, Romney would have won the election if this system had been in place in Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin in 2012.
While I think that these efforts by the GOP should be strongly opposed by the Democrats, I do think that there are some potential downsides for the Republican Party if this plan is put into effect.
1. This Plan May Help the Democrats Take Back the House. Right now the Democratic Presidential Candidate puts the candidate's resources in blue areas of the state. This is because increasing the number of votes for the Democratic Presidential candidate in those areas will help the Democratic Presidential Candidate win a majority in that state, which will result in all of the electors of that state being awarded to the Democratic Presidential Candidate. If however the electors are awarded based on the winner of the vote in each Congressional District, there will be no reason for the Democratic Presidential Candidate to put resources into blue Congressional Districts since there would be almost certainly a Democratic victory there. So where would the Democratic Presidential Candidate and the Democratic Party shift the resources to? It would be to the swing Congressional Districts and the leaning Republican Congressional Districts. Imagine the army of Obama volunteers from the last election getting out the Democratic vote in swing and Republican Districts. These additional resources could result in a few extra GOP Congressional incumbent losses (and Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House)
2. The Plan May Result in the Democratic Presidential Candidate Being Awarded Some Electors Even Though That Candidate Lost the Popular Vote of the State. While I recognize that this is highly unlikely to happen in certain states like Michigan where the Democrat normally wins, it is not true of all of the states. Think about Virginia. It is a true swing state and a Democratic victory there was by no means guaranteed in the last election. So if Mitt Romney had barely won the popular vote in Virginia and this plan had been in place, Barack Obama would have picked up a few electors.
3. This Plan May Increase Democratic Turnout. As the last election showed, voters did not like GOP voter suppression efforts, and it made some Democrats even more motivated to turn out to vote in the Presidential Election.
4. It May Aid Democratic Efforts to Win Control of the State Legislatures in These States . If these plans are put in effect, they can be repealed by the next Democratic legislature. In the next statewide elections, these plans will be portrayed as the GOP not playing fair, and there will be a lot of races against popular Republican incumbents where the message will be that a vote for Republican incumbent is a vote for the plan. This may not sit well with voters who think that the GOP has gone too far. And with the implications for the next Presidential election, people who normally only volunteer in Presidential elections could be persuaded to help in the state races. And this would include volunteers in other states, who could be persuaded to come help given the potential implications for the next Presidential election.
Maybe if we make it clear that there is a potential downside for the GOP if they proceed with these plans, they will abandon their efforts to pass this type of legislation.