The Republican and Democratic parties in Michigan held their state conventions this past weekend. The Democrats wisely got rid of their chairman, Mark Brewer (covering him for most of the last few years was highly annoying; he was the king of the outrageous and badly reasoned press release). And the Republicans showed overwhelming support for a proposed scheme to hand out the state’s electoral votes by electoral district rather than by popular vote.
By a 1,370-132 margin at the party convention in Lansing, GOP members approved a resolution backing a proposal from Rep. Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township, to divvy-up 14 of the state’s 16 electoral votes according to which candidate got the most votes in each congressional district. The other two would go to the state-wide vote total winner.
That switch from a winner-take-all formula that has been in effect 175 years could water down the dominance Democrats have had in Michigan in presidential elections for the last 24 years.
Critics say the plan would have given Mitt Romney nine of Michigan’s 16 electoral votes last year, although he lost by more than 500,00 votes to President Barack Obama state-wide. With the win, Obama captured all 16 Michigan electoral votes.
And that is, of course, exactly the point of the scheme, to make sure that Republicans get the majority of the electoral votes even while losing the popular vote by a large margin. Gov. Rick Snyder has said that this isn’t the right time to consider the proposal, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t sign it. And with the Republicans having supermajority margins within both houses of the state legislature, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this gets passed.