Running Up the Popular Vote?

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This sounded too crazy to me as a theory when readers first started raising it. But now I’m at least wondering. Could the GOP SuperPacs simply be trying to run up the popular vote as high as possible as some sort of legitimacy cudgel in the face of an electoral college defeat? I have no doubt this would be very valuable to Republicans as a cudgel against a reelected Obama. But actually deploying so much money to get it while so many races — both state presidential and senate — are still in play seems really hard for me to believe.

Here’s the theory from TPM Reader MW

A thought on your post as to why GOP-leaning SuperPACs are making odd buys: they may be trying to run up Romney’s popular vote. I am sure they will try to delegitimize Obama if he loses the popular vote but wins the EV.

It is striking, and depressing from a small-d democracy perspective, just how little visibility the Obama campaign has in NYC. Volunteers go to Pennsylvania, sure. But I don’t think I’ve gotten even a single piece of mail reminding me to vote Tuesday, every vote counts, etc. Turnout will be way down in African-American neighborhoods, etc.

(I don’t attribute it just to Hurricane Sandy, btw. Rather to the national campaign’s understandable swing state focus, and the anemic state of party organization elsewhere.)

I’m for National Popular Vote. This dispiriting election in non-swing states shows why. Meanwhile, Ds may have to insist (as Rs did after 2000) that a win is a win — regardless of who gets more popular vote.

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