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Mon Jan 28, 2013, 05:26 PM

The notion that Romney would have won under a different electoral college system is dubious.


It sounds like most of us by now have seen the articles telling us that if electoral votes were awarded by congressional district and only two for the statewide winner, as they currently do in Maine and Nebraska, that Romney would have won over Obama 276-262.

Here's the problem with that: When you run for president, you play to win according to the rules you're given. Obama and Romney went into the 2012 general election knowing it was still pretty much a state-by-state, winner-take-all kind of election, and both sides designed their strategies accordingly. If the electoral vote rules had been changed to this newly proposed method, rest assured the strategies on both sides would have been radically different.

I'm not saying that this new system the GOP wants to implement nationwide wouldn't help them a lot - what I am saying is that the GOP shouldn't kid themselves that victory is just a few rule changes away.

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 05:42 PM

1. You can tell those results would happen because of the House

Democrats won the popular vote - more than 1M more votes for Democratic candidates. And since the House is supposed to represent the people, they got a majority, right?

Oh wait.

The rules at the time for the House were the rules they want to impose on the Electoral College. So you'd expect to get similar results. Leading to Romney's electoral college win.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 06:00 PM

2. But how you allocate resources would totally change. The Repugs could have even lost the House...


Think of how it works in the current system. Take Ohio for instance. It's always a toss-up, so both sides naturally throw a lot of money their way. But since the electoral votes are assigned winner-take-all style, each side does what it can do drive up their statewide vote totals the most - for Obama that meant GOTV in Cleveland and Columbus and Toledo. For Romney that meant doing the same in the well-to-do suburbs. No regard was paid to which congressional district these voters lived in.

Change the electoral system to congressional districts, and suddenly Team Obama will be in the suburbs right alongside Team Romney, making for a much closer race in many of those districts that are supposedly safely Republican. The cities would be ignored by both sides, as both sides recognize Obama's got them in the bag.

Again, I'm not saying this would be a good development for democracy - not at all. But it would change where - and how - the battles are fought. And the election results might even end up surprising Repugs, in a bad way.

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Response to reformist2 (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 07:39 PM

5. THERE IS NO STRATEGY that Could have Won for Obama Under the Proposed Rules

The House is so gerrymandered that it gives the Rapeuglicans a lock, even with a near-landslide proportion voting for Democrats nationally as they did last year. They intend to do the same thing with the Presidential race, and it looks like we have no legal recourse to prevent them from doing so.

No amount of getting out the vote will help if their votes count for twice as much per vote as ours do.

They will control the House and the the state governments for the foreseeable future, since they can re-apportion as often as they need to to stay in power. Soon they may have a lock on the Presidency as well. That would be the end of the two-party system.


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Response to reformist2 (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 11:37 PM

6. The result of such a system is not "team Obama" in the suburbs

It's "team Obama" not in Ohio. At all.

Rural districts aren't suburbs. They're low-density rural districts with strong right-leaning tendencies. Your rally has 2 dozen people, and maybe you can convince 6 to change their mind. All for one electoral vote.

Not worth the effort.

As a result, the presidential election will look even more like the house election, because national-level resources simply won't be deployed to the states that do this.

And the election results might even end up surprising Repugs, in a bad way

Again, we just ran the two systems side-by-side, and Romney won in the system the Republicans are pushing. Estimates are the Democrats need to win by 7% to win the House. Campaigning "in the suburbs" for single electoral votes will not result in a 7% margin of victory.

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 06:07 PM

3. good point, and the obama campaign certainly knows how to strategize by conditions of contest.

that said, republicans aren't trying to change these rules out of principle and they're certainly not doing it because they think it might help the democrats!

yes, obama would have changed strategy based on any rules changes, but at the same time, those changes would have made a rmoney win more likely, which would have had the effect of shifting more campaign money to rmoney and away from obama. that effect would have hurt obama's chances beyond the direct effect of the rules changes.

i agree completely that it's not so simple to go into the past and determine what a single change would have done.

what we do know if that these contemplated changes do not bode well for the future.

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 06:13 PM

4. Sssssshhhhhh! Listen to Sun Tsu

Don't stop your enemy when he's making a mistake.

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Response to Lefty Thinker (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:13 AM

8. Good point. I just wanted people here to see that we'll probably keep winning no matter what.

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 11:56 PM

7. In the 30's and 40's, everyone voted Democratic,

even my diehard Republican inlaws, and all their old friends. My mother said even my dad's upstate NY Republican family voted for FDR. We just need a candidate that will shout our message of hope, fairness, and economic stability for the working class. JFK shouted the same message, and, had he lived, the landslide would have been enormous. These men talked to the people. Even though they came from great wealth, they were one of us. All we need is that kind of candidate and the money out of politics, and no Republican scheme to shortcut democracy will ever work.

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:23 AM

9. Using the house as a tie-breaker is already in the constitutiom,

and is to be used to BREAK A TIE in electoral votes.

Electoral votes "delivered" on that same basis (by congressional district) would surely be redundant if nothing else..

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Response to reformist2 (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:30 AM

10. It would have altered this election DRAMATICALLY

The president won in Pa. 52 to 47%.

Democratic candidates had over 100,000 more votes than the republican candidates in house races, but only won 5 out of 18 races.

Obama could have campaigned harder in PA, but hard to believe he would have changed the outcome much. He might have won overall 53 to 46 or something like that, but the fact is that districts are so gerrymandered it might have flipped one house district at best.

The states where the Rs are looking to do this are states like PA where they have the districts incredibly gerry rigged.

This was a big win by modern standards.

Any election that was closer, any of the Bush elections for that matter, if the D had those level wins, you break up PA, Michigan, Va ... It would swing the election easily.

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