A devilishly clever Republican Party plan to circumvent the popular vote for president in certain states — by awarding electoral votes by congressional district — is moving out of crackpot territory. Yesterday a subcommittee in the Virginia Senate recommended a proposal that would have given Republican Mitt Romney nine of the state's 13 electoral votes, even though he lost the statewide tally. Similar proposals are being floated in other states where Romney lost the popular vote but carried most congressional districts, including Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Jamelle Bouie explains why such a system weakens the votes of big-city dwellers (who, not incidentally, are more likely to belong racial minority groups):
Because Democratic voters tend to cluster in highly-populated urban areas, and Republican voters tend to reside in more sparsely populated regions, this makes land the key variable in elections — to win the majority of a state’s electoral votes, your voters will have to occupy the most geographic space.