At the end of July, it was reported that North Carolina was flirting with moving from a winner-take-all method of allocating electors for the Electoral College to a district method, where candidates receive electoral votes based on the number of Congressional districts they win, and the winner of the state’s popular vote gets the state’s remaining two electoral votes. The North Carolina bill died in the state legislature. I noted that past presidential elections at the state-level would have been altered had this proposal been enacted in the past, but likely without much nationwide alteration.

Enter California, with its 55 electoral votes, more than any other state (Texas is #2 with 34). GOP strategists in California want to move the state to a district allocation method, like Maine and Nebraska, and away from the winner-take-all method. The result? From a New York Times editorial:

If California abandons its winner-take-all rule while red states like Texas do not, it will be hard for a Democratic nominee to assemble an Electoral College majority, even if he or she wins a sizable majority of the popular vote. That appears to be just what the backers of the California idea have in mind.

So forget about actual Electoral College reform. This ballot initiative is only after trying to prevent a Democratic candidate from winning the White House in the future. The Democratic candidate is usually assured to win all of California’s electoral votes and needs to win California in order to either win the White House or have a shot at it.

The group behind the initiative is called Californians for Equal Representation and has ties to a major donor to the infamous Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. We can only hope the citizens of California realize this rosy-sounding group is up to shameful and divisive tactics. Otherwise, presidential politics will surely change for the foreseeable future, and not in a positive way.

As I did for the North Carolina article, here are the results of past presidential elections with this proposal applied, as computed by my thesis:

Kerry: 33
Bush: 22

Gore: 35
Bush: 19

Clinton: 38
Dole: 16

Clinton: 38
Bush: 16

Bush: 25
Dukakis: 22

Reagan: 39
Mondale: 8

So as a hypothetical, let’s say in 2000 it was Al Gore who won the Electoral College 271 to 267 rather than the opposite way it turned out. Had California allocated its electoral votes with the district method, the election would have been overturned, giving George W. Bush a 286 to 252 majority (CA had 54 electoral votes in 2000 if you’re checking my math).

(Nod: ThinkProgress)