Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford (R)
When it comes to the Republican strategy of rigging the electoral college by changing the way some states distribute electoral votes, the focus has been on six states: Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Florida. There's no great mystery as to why: the point is to find states that tend to vote "blue" in presidential elections, but are nevertheless led by GOP policymakers at the state level. These six obviously fit the bill.
But it looks like we can probably cross one of these states off the list.
... Florida, the largest swing state, won't go along with changing the Electoral College if Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford has any say (and he has a major say).
"To me, that's like saying in a football game, 'We should have only three quarters, because we were winning after three quarters and the beat us in the fourth," Weatherford, a Republican, told the Herald/Times. "I don't think we need to change the rules of the game, I think we need to get better. [...]
Not only is Weatherford opposed to the idea, fellow Republican and Florida Senate President Don Gaetz is decidedly cool to it.
With the GOP leader in both chambers of the state legislature opposed to the idea, it's probably a safe bet that it's not going anywhere.
But pay particular attention to Weatherford's reasoning, because it's important. As he sees it, the only reason a state would choose to play this game is if Republicans assume they'll keep losing at the presidential election -- and on this, Weatherford is absolutely correct.
We talked about this yesterday with Virginia -- if Republicans thought they had a credible shot at winning the state in future elections, they'd have no incentive to rig the way electoral votes are allocated. Why would the GOP run the risk of giving the Democratic candidate some votes when they can try to win the state and give the Democrat nothing?
Florida is the perfect example of this dynamic because it's the nation's largest and most competitive swing state. President Obama won the Sunshine State last year by less than one percentage point, and as recently as 2004, George W. Bush won it by five percentage points. In all likelihood, it will remain one of the most -- if not the most -- important electoral battlegrounds in the country for many years to come.
For the state GOP to go along with the election-rigging scheme, Republicans would have to assume that they're no longer in a position to seriously compete in a state they just lost by 0.8%, so they'll have to start cheating.
From a GOP perspective, that would be crazy, and Weatherford and Gaetz are right to be skeptical. And given this, it looks like the list of states open to this democracy-crushing scheme is shrinking from six to five.