Maryann Tobin

Mitt Romney may not be as confidant in winning the presidential race as he would like voters to believe, and there is good reason for that. In 2012, there is a very real chance that Barack Obama will win the Electoral College vote and a second term, but lose the popular vote.

No doubt, Republicans will cry foul. But those same rules worked in their favor in 2000, when George W. Bush lost the popular vote and won the electoral vote in a court battle with Vice President Al Gore over who would win Florida's electoral votes.

However, 2012 has the potential to stir even more controversy, because Republicans know demographics in America are shifting, and this may be their last chance to take the White House without some serious rule changes slanted in their favor. After all, redistricting can only take them so far.

Enter Republican sore losers.

Republicans have a habit of changing the rules of government if the outcome of the current set of rules are working against them. They did it when Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, won four consecutive terms as president through presidential term limits, which then trickled down to various state offices.

The GOP's inability to win control of the Senate prompted them to buck the Constitution, which required only a simple majority, and change to rules to require a super-majority of 60 votes to pass legislation. They have also used the filibuster to block more legislation in the past two years than any other Senate in history.

If this all looks like a means to refuse to govern, rather than a path to smooth work as public servants, you are right. That's exactly what it is.

The reason for all this jockeying of the rules is simple. American voters are generally moderate, and the GOP has taken fallen off a cliff of radical right-wing extremism. They can't put get their social agenda into law by winning elections so they need to change the rules to take power.

Changing the rules so you can win the game is not representative rule in a democracy. But that doesn't seem to matter to Republicans. They want America their way and that's all there is to it. And as long as they have the big money of CEO's behind them, they have the means to pull it off.

Before we get carried away, let’s look at why there is such a strong chance for Obama to win 270 electoral votes, while losing the popular vote.

The Founding Fathers wanted to make sure that each state had an equal voice in choosing a president without penalizing states with less population. So they assigned electoral votes according to population. As the country has settled into more solid demographic regions, in a close race, it is possible for a very small number of electoral votes to change the outcome of an election.

Voter suppression and new voter ID laws may also be a factor. While it’s hard to know exactly how many people will not vote in 2012 because they have been disenfranchised or intimidated, but it could amount to millions on a national level. That has an impact on popular vote totals without necessarily changing the winner of a state’s electoral votes.

If President Obama wins 270 electoral votes, it will not matter how many votes Mitt Romney gets, he will not win the White House.

If you like writing about US politics and Campaign 2012, enter "The American Pundit" competition. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and November. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded after the November election.


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