The news today is that in Virginia, Michigan, and Ohio GOP leaders have turned their backs to a proposal to split electoral college votes by district. It's tempting to think this news means a victory for democracy. But all that's really happened is that a trial balloon was floated to gauge the interest in the topic. The GOP is still devoted to subverting the will of the people in those states, and the real plan they're working on is far more devious than the one they let get shot down.
The real plan was outlined in a fundraising letter sent today by former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackman under the letterhead of the "Tea Party Victory Fund". The plan is to still allocate electoral college votes in a winner take-all fashion, just with "winner" being defined differently. In this GOP dream, the winner is defined by who wins a majority of gerrymandered congressional districts. So even if a democrat wins an overwhelming majority of the votes in a state, so long as the republican wins a slim majority of the congressional districts that republican would then carry the state.
Blackman writes about how this would be used to disenfranchise the votes of urban voters:
"You want to win Philly by a million votes? Great, knock yourself out. But you're still only getting two Congressional Districts out of it."
Why? It's justified in their minds, of course, because they claim that many of those votes in Philly are fraudulent. They position this change in allocation as a way to combat voter fraud. Not as a way to steal the election from urban votes, of course!
It was always suspicious that the GOP would launch a dramatic reform of the presidential election process so far away from the next election. Their normal approach is to wait until the very last moment. That way, even if their changes turn out to be illegal, they have a chance to drag the legal process out through the election.
They'll start moving on this plan in all seriousness in early 2016. And they'll disguise their early steps by saying "No, we realized that splitting the electoral college vote was a bad idea back in 2013. We're not going to move away from a 100% allocation to the state's winner."
But, when you hear GOPers say in 2016 that they're still devoted to "winner take all" electoral college allocations, just remember it's only so long as they can hand pick the winner.