By the end of the long grueling race for president last year, that ended with President Obama swamping Mitt Romney in the Electoral College, most voters in the nation who didn't live in the handful or so battleground states were relegated to the national bleachers where they watched which candidate won in key states like Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida.
Don't whine, win
When the votes were tallied, especially in the hotly debated, controversial Electoral College, some say an outdated vestige from our Founding Fathers and the new nation of the time, Barack Obama won 332 votes to Romney's meager 206. Among the key battleground states, so named because voters in these states were fought over tooth and nail by the dueling campaigns, Ohio, with its electoral vote diminished from a 2008 total of 20 to 18 following the 2010 Census, emerged as the key tipping point state in 2012, a role familiar to it from previous elections.
Over the weekend, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus of Wisconsin told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that he thinks Wisconsin and other battleground states "should change the way they allocate their Electoral College votes, but he said he is not inserting himself into how states decide to proceed."
Republicans who have control of states that went for President Obama in the 2012 election, one report said, are pushing for their states to change how they award electoral votes. While almost every state awards electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis, Republicans, who have lost four of the last six national contests, want these states to instead award one vote to the winner of each congressional district.
According to Aaron Blake writing in the Washington Post, "the new system would allow Republicans to consistently win electoral votes (and quite possibly a majority of electoral votes) from states like Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Virginia, regardless of whether they win the statewide vote. All five of these states went for Obama in 2012."
In Ohio, Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican who won his election in 2010, floated the very same idea last year. Two days after Obama beat Romney in Ohio by vote totals north of 166 thousand, Secretary Husted suggested that Ohio could be made to be less important in the election by dividing up its electoral votes by Congressional district.
Under Ohio's current winner-take-all system, President Obama won all 18 of Ohio’s electoral votes. Under the plan floated by Sec. Husted and chairman Preibus, 12 of those 18 electoral votes would be handed to Mitt Romney, who lost the popular vote in Ohio and the nation. President Obama has become the first president since Dwight David Eisenhower to win successive elections with more than 50 percent of the vote. Obama is now among a handful of president to accomplish this feat.
In chairman Preibus' scenario, had electoral votes been divvied up by Congressional district, which currently is done only in Maine and Nebraska, President Obama would have netted the two at-large electoral votes, bringing the final tally to 6 for Obama and 12 for Romney. Nationally, Romney would have won more electoral votes even though he wouldn't have won the popular vote.
Under this plan, next Monday, Mitt Romney would be taking the oath of office for the first time, not Barack Obama taking it for the second time.
The new system would allow Republicans to consistently win electoral votes (and quite possibly a majority of electoral votes) from states like Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Virginia, regardless of whether they win the statewide vote.
All five of these states, WaPo wrote, went for Obama in 2012. Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have consistently gone blue at the presidential level, and Virginia is tilting in that direction, which would make winning any electoral votes in these states a victory for the GOP, Blake wrote.
Now that Republicans control a supermajority in both chambers (60 in the House and 23 in the Senate) of the legislature, it will not be a surprise if lawmakers decide to strike while their iron is hot, and send a bill to Gov. John Kasich, who is running for a second term in 2014, to refashion Ohio's role in presidential races.
Mitt Romney won at least 227 congressional districts and 24 states, giving him 275 electoral votes, or more than the 270 needed to be elected president. In addition, if five battleground states had used the new system, the president's 126-electoral-vote win would have shrunk to a 34-vote win, close enough where a different result in Florida, which the White House won by less than one point, would have tipped the 2012 race in Romney’s favor.
Would Kasich sign such a bill?
It's hard to image that the governor would not sign any such bill into law. Further influencing him to do so are the persistent rumors on Capitol Square that he's interested in presidential politics for 2016 if he can get passed the 2014 election in good shape.
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