Weigel

Santorum: Maybe Republicans Should Game the Electoral College Vote in Pennsylvania

Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images
Republican presidential hopeful and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum answers questions by special Q&A moderator Jose Diaz-Balart, anchor of ‘Noticiero Telemundo’ during the Republican Presidential Candidates debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library September 7, 2011 in Simi Valley, California. Eight Republican candidates are debating to define the party’s nominee to take on US President Barack Obama in the 2012 election. AFP PHOTO/ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Rick Santorum, two-term senator turned quasi-presidential candidate, stopped by the upper house today after a Fox News interview. (Former members of Congress have the right to visit the floor for their rest of their natural lives.) Reporters spotted him and got a dose of Perry-bashing (somewhat standard for the campaign these days) and his analysis of an idea, backed by Republican legislative leadership in Pennsylvania, to assign electoral votes to the winners of congressional districts.

“Certainly, from the standpoint of a Republican, it’s a winner,” Santorum said. “Republicans will come out ahead in Pennsylvania in every election. The way Democrats win, they have two big cities with huge concentrations of voters – and then overwhelm the rest of the state.”

This is true! Because the votes of urban Democrats count as much as the votes of suburban Republicans, Democrats are often able to win Pennsylvania by getting more people to choose their candidates. Santorum, musing a bit about ways to gerrymander the state, pointed out that the current district map included a lot of swing seats. Republicans could maximize their vote by pouring all urban Democrats into a few districts.

“All of a sudden, a Republican can win – and would probably routinely win – all but three or four congressional districts in Pennsylvania,” he said. “It would turn it from a state Democrats rely on, as part of the base, to a state that they’re gonna lose under almost any scenario.”

In the Santorum scenario, a Democrat could win the state narrowly and lose most of the electoral votes. Everyone else on the ballot would win office if he got the most votes; the Democratic presidential would find it almost impossible to do so.

(Hat tip to NRO’s Bob Costa, who got clearer audio of the answer.)