It's both a stupid and pernicious idea, and one that has, in most of the aforementioned states, already collapsed as a transparent power grab. But it speaks to the mind-set of conservatives. Virginia state Sen. Charles Carrico, Sr., told the Washington Post that he proposed the scheme because his constituents "were concerned that it didn't matter what they did, that more densely populated areas were going to outvote them." Well yes, that's how the system works: one man, one vote, and all that. The side with the most votes wins.
But for some conservatives, having the most votes shouldn't count if they're not the right votes. Republican megadonor Foster Friess, whose super PAC kept Rick Santorum's presidential campaign afloat during last year's primaries, recently dismissed Obama's five million popular vote margin because the raw numbers "take into account a lot of those center cities, [which] went for Obama." When I asked if he was saying that city votes should be discounted when contemplating national mandates, he replied, simply: "Yes."
Similarly, Kenneth Blackwell, a former Ohio secretary of state, this week E-mailed Tea Party supporters pushing the Electoral College-rigging scheme by arguing that "Romney won the election everywhere but in the major cities. ... People in rural America have different priorities, hopes, and criteria for what they are looking for in a candidate. But urban America is picking the president for them."
Again, that's how the system works—except among the revanchists. Faced with voter refutation, they try to bargain with reality, either by nourishing self-defeating delusions ("Romney won the election everywhere but in the major cities") or by rigging the political system to accommodate them where voters will not.