Ungaming the System?

Recent Republican vote-gaming efforts have focused on making the Electoral College vote proportional, but only in states where it helps the Republican presidential candidate. Profoundly one-sided in their favor, of course. Now that those efforts seem to be fizzling out, attention is turning to other Electoral College reform.

And there’s even some bipartisanship around a very good version of reform. Hard to see any way this is bad. Studies reveal that it’s likely to be slightly more helpful to Republicans, but, well, so what? This is a method of making the country more, not less, small-d democratic. Totally works for me. Also makes me wonder what complication has yet to come to light, seeing as our system revolves around self-serving and party-focused efforts, almost never the common good:

“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 analyses concluded Republicans are actually more likely to benefit in the short term.)

James Heflin

Author: James Heflin

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