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RNC's Priebus Proposes to Rig Electoral College so Losing Republicans Can "Win"

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Cross-posted from The Nation


Reince Priebus speaks at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans. (Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

Fresh from claiming the GOP's 2012 run was "a great campaign -- a nine-month campaign" that only went awry at the end, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus now wants to rig the Electoral College so that when Republicans lose they still might "win."

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Specifically, Priebus is urging Republican governors and legislators to take up what was once a fringe scheme to change the rule for distribution of Electoral College votes. Under the Priebus plan,  electoral votes from battleground states such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin and other states that now regularly back Democrats for president would be allocated not to the statewide winner, but to the winners of individual congressional districts.

Because of gerrymandering by Republican governors and legislators, and the concentration of Democratic votes in urban areas and college towns, divvying up Electoral College votes based on congressional district wins would yield significantly better results for the GOP. In Wisconsin, where Democrat Barack Obama won in 2012 by a wider margin than he did nationally, the president would only have gotten half the electoral votes. In Pennsylvania, where Obama won easily, he would not have gotten the 20 electoral votes that he did; instead, under the Priebus plan, it would have been eight for Republican Mitt Romney, 12 for Barack Obama.

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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