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Thursday, 15 September, 2011

Beating Obama

If your side is going to lose an election, just change the rules: The GOP's Genius Plan to Beat Obama in 2012.

Republican state legislators in Pennsylvania are pushing a scheme that, if GOPers in other states follow their lead, could cause President Barack Obama to lose the 2012 election—not because of the vote count, but because of new rules. That's not all: There's no legal way for Democrats to stop them.

The problem for Obama, and the opportunity for Republicans, is the electoral college. Every political junkie knows that the presidential election isn't a truly national contest; it's a state-by-state fight, and each state is worth a number of electoral votes equal to the size of the state's congressional delegation. (The District of Columbia also gets three votes.) There are 538 electoral votes up for grabs; win 270, and you're the president.

Here's the rub, though: Each state gets to determine how its electoral votes are allocated. Currently, 48 states and DC use a winner-take-all system in which the candidate who wins the popular vote in the state gets all of its electoral votes. Under the Republican plan—which has been endorsed by top GOPers in both houses of the state Legislature, as well as the governor,Tom Corbett—Pennsylvania would change from this system to one where each congressional district gets its own electoral vote. (Two electoral votes—one for each of the state's two senators—would go to the statewide winner.)

In theory, this change could determine the election.