Republicans have a new strategy for 2016: Change the rules of presidential elections in order to swing the Electoral College in the GOP's favor.
On Wednesday, Virginia's Republican-controlled legislature became one of the first to advance a bill that would allocate electoral votes by congressional district. Last week, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus endorsed pushing through similar proposals in other states with Republican legislative majorities.
The strategy would have states alter the way they translate individual votes into electors -- thereby giving Republican candidates an advantage. Had the 2012 election been apportioned in every state according to these new Republican plans, Romney would have led Obama by at least 11 electoral votes. Here's how:
In the 2012 election, President Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney by 126 electoral votes.
Within the 26 states that Obama took, Romney won a plurality of votes in 99 congressional districts.
Obama, on the other hand, won only 32 congressional districts in red states.
Each state has two more electoral votes than congressional districts. The most common Republican proposal -- under consideration in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan -- follows the same rules already in effect in Maine and Nebraska, which allocate the two additional votes to the winner of the statewide popular vote.
This is what the 2012 electoral map would have looked like had each state apportioned its electors using these rules.
The legislation introduced in Virginia, however, goes even further and proposes to allocate the two remaining votes not to the candidate who wins the state-wide popular vote, but to the candidate who wins the majority of congressional districts. This would give Republicans an even bigger advantage in that state.
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