All three states have given the Democratic nominee their electoral votes in each of the last six presidential elections. Now, senior Republicans in Washington are overseeing legislation in all three states to end the winner-take-all system.
Obama won all three states in 2008, handing him 46 electoral votes because of the winner-take-all system. Had electoral votes been awarded by district, Republican nominee Mitt Romney would have cut into that lead. Final election results show that Romney won nine of Michigan's 14 districts, five of eight in Wisconsin, and at least 12 of 18 in Pennsylvania. Allocate the two statewide votes in each state to Obama and that means Romney would have emerged from those three Democratic states with 26 electoral votes, compared with just 19 for Obama (and one district where votes are still being counted).
In other words, the electoral vote would have been much closer under this scheme, but the popular vote would have been the same. Throw Ohio into that mix, and Romney would have picked up 38 electoral votes, enough to have narrowed the President's win to 295 to 244. If Virginia and Florida tried the same scheme, it could very well have made Romney President...or worse, Florida remains winner take all, and that winner in 2016 is someone like Jeb Bush.
That's the GOP goal by 2016. Another Bush in the White House.
Republicans are able to contemplate such a bold plan because of their electoral success in 2010, when the party won control of state legislative chambers and the governorships in all three states, giving them total control over the levers of state government.
"If you did the calculation, you'd see a massive shift of electoral votes in states that are blue and fully [in] red control," said one senior Republican taking an active role in pushing the proposal. "There's no kind of autopsy and outreach that can grab us those electoral votes that quickly."
The proposals, the senior GOP official said, are likely to come up in each state's legislative session in 2013. Bills have been drafted, and legislators are talking to party bosses to craft strategy. Saul Anuzis, the former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, has briefed Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Chief of Staff Jeff Larson on his state's proposal. The proposal "is not being met with the 'We can't do that' answer. It's being met with 'I've already got a bill started,' " the official said.
Republican state legislators are motivated to act after Romney's loss. And the party lost legislative seats in all three states, adding urgency to pass the measures before voters head to the polls in 2014.
So yeah, Democrats are going to have to put up a fight. If they don't, the plan to steal the 2016 election could put a Republican in the White House despite a Democrat winning by 4 or 5% in the popular vote.
That's where the GOP is now. If you can't win it, steal it.
Spread the word.