And it probably won’t save them in 2016 and could hurt them in the future.

U/N: Jakke asked me about these schemes and what it would mean. CAP wrote up a small report, but its mostly to scare the troops about gerrymandering- there isn’t any math and Nate Silver is busy on his book tour.  So here is the Jasen Comstock yeah but no but yeah about these ECV laws being passed and why they probably won’t make a difference.

The short answer is that these laws mostly split the prize of winning swing states, and Democrats have more safe ECVs than Republicans, using 2012 numbers. Roughly speaking, Democrats are already closer to the finish line than Republicans and halving some of the states won’t close the gap enough by the time all the states are counted.

The six states that CAP mention as targets, FL, VA, PA, OH, MI, and WI, I’ve labeled as undecided.

Worst Case Scenario:

If 2016 were to look like 2012 and the Democrat wins all six states by the same margin, using a plan like Virginia’s where district ECVs go to the district winner and the winner of the most districts wins the other two ECVs, ECVs would be awarded thus:
      D      R
FL  11   16 (+2)
VA  4    7 (+2)
PA  4    14 (+2) - this data is incomplete and a guess there were no split districts
OH  4   12 (+2) - also incomplete
MI   5    9 (+2)
WI  3    5 (+2)
Split state sub-total: 31  75
Total:  257   281

Even in a worst case scenario where all states where it is possible for this scheme to be passed with a model only mentioned in one (Virginia), Republicans would squeak by with an 11 point win.

Using the more typical model with the two statewide ECVs going to the popular vote winner results in a 269-269 tie (with the President then being chosen by the House). Any one state not passing a law will give the contest to the Democrat.

This assumes that no districts change from 2012, there are not faithless electors, and the states are all the same. It’s using the last election to plan the next one and it will probably blow up in your face. It could also reduce Presidential targets to a few house races in these states, which depending on the candidates, could radically shift patterns. Many districts are very close in these states- a consequence of gerrymandering.

Additionally, Pennsylvania has already rejected the notion once, and the Virginia plan has one Republican on record against it (dooming it for now in the tied body).
This is the worst case scenario.

Now look at it from this perspective:  The biggest reason republicans shouldn’t do something like this in Florida are two guys, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.

Assuming they win their home state, why would they want to give away 11 ECVs and reduce Florida to a 7 point gain?  Republicans can profit by splitting Michigan and Wisconsin, but they need to win all of Florida, Ohio and Virginia. 

Ultimately this is like playing Black Jack and paying insurance on most of your hands.

Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat.

  1. gravyholocaustsucks said: Is there some reason Dems can’t do this in red states? No. TX, NC ouch! Yawn…
  2. chrisafer said: Nationalizing some of these local elections will also backfire in many cases for them.