Elizabeth Warren vows to abolish electoral college if elected president

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Elizabeth Warren said she wants to be last president elected by electoral college

Elizabeth Warren is the latest Democrat to weigh in on the electoral college, showing remarkable lack of understanding both of the system itself and how it might be altered.

The Democratic presidential candidate wants the college abolished after the 2020 election, Mailonline reports, and says she would be elected president next year under its rules and then secure the popular vote when she ran for re-election in 2024.

The system has recently been unkind to Democrats.

Democrats were infuriated in 2016 when Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but Donald Trump won the electoral college and the presidency, just like all the presidents-elect before him.

Only five times in American history has a candidate won the popular vote but lost the presidency, including the 2000 election where Al Gore was said to have won the popular vote but George W. Bush took the electoral college.

“I want to get rid of it,” Warren said on her Twitter feed, of the system designed to prevent mob rule and guarantee that smaller states and rural areas get equal representation in balloting.

“Call me old-fashioned but I think the person who gets the most votes should win,” Warren declared.

In fact it is the electoral college system that is “old-fashioned.” The founding fathers established it as a compromise between election of the president by a vote in Congress and election of the president by a popular vote of qualified citizens.

The electoral college consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the president. Every state determines how it will pick its electors, which is equal to its representation in Congress.

As for which candidate wins the electors, all but two states are winner-take-all: meaning whoever wins the most votes in the state wins all of that state’s electors.

Nor could Warren just “get rid” of the system.

Achieving her stated goal would take a Constitutional amendment, which would require the votes of two-thirds of the U.S. House of Representatives, two-thirds of the Senate, and three-fourths of the states. It would be a long process that could take years. 

3 COMMENTS

  1. Trump in June 2019 – Fox News interview
    “It’s always tougher for the Republican because, . . . the Electoral College is very much steered to the Democrats. It’s a big advantage for the Democrats. It’s very much harder for the Republicans to win.”

    Trump, April 26, 2018 on “Fox & Friends”
    “I would rather have a popular election, but it’s a totally different campaign.”
    “I would rather have the popular vote because it’s, to me, it’s much easier to win the popular vote.”

    Trump, October 12, 2017 in Sean Hannity interview
    “I would rather have a popular vote. “

    Trump, November 13, 2016, on “60 Minutes”
    “ I would rather see it, where you went with simple votes. You know, you get 100 million votes, and somebody else gets 90 million votes, and you win. There’s a reason for doing this. Because it brings all the states into play.”

    In 2012, the night Romney lost, Trump tweeted.
    “The phoney electoral college made a laughing stock out of our nation. . . . The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.”

    In 1969, The U.S. House of Representatives voted for a national popular vote by a 338–70 margin.

    Presidential candidates who supported direct election of the President in the form of a constitutional amendment, before the National Popular Vote bill was introduced: George H.W. Bush (R-TX-1969), Bob Dole (R-KS-1969), Gerald Ford (R-MI-1969), Richard Nixon (R-CA-1969),

    Past presidential candidates with a public record of support, before November 2016, for the National Popular Vote bill that would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate with the most national popular votes: Bob Barr (Libertarian- GA), U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R–GA), Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), and Senator Fred Thompson (R–TN),

    Newt Gingrich summarized his support for the National Popular Vote bill by saying: “No one should become president of the United States without speaking to the needs and hopes of Americans in all 50 states. … America would be better served with a presidential election process that treated citizens across the country equally. The National Popular Vote bill accomplishes this in a manner consistent with the Constitution and with our fundamental democratic principles.”

    Eight former national chairs of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have endorsed the bill

  2. A football game is never won based on the most yards gained. It is won by the Electoral College equivalent of most points scored. Every weekend there are games lost in spite of making the most yards gained.

    • “ Let’s quit pretending there is some great benefit to the national good that allows the person with [fewer] votes to win the White House. Republicans have long said that they believe in competition. Let both parties compete for votes across the nation and stop disenfranchising voters by geography. The winner should win.” – Stuart Stevens (Republican)

      In Gallup polls since they started asking in 1944 until the 2016 election, only about 20% of the public supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states) (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided).

      When asked the simple question “Do you think the person who wins the most votes nationwide should become the president?” 74% of all Americans surveyed say yes.

      Support for a national popular vote for President has been strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in every state surveyed. In the 41 red, blue, and purple states surveyed, overall support has been in the 67-81% range – in rural states, in small states, in Southern and border states, in big states, and in other states polled.

      There are several scenarios in which a candidate could win the presidency in 2020 with fewer popular votes than their opponents. It could reduce turnout more, as more voters realize their votes do not matter.

      Most Americans don’t ultimately care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state or district. Voters want to know, that no matter where they live, even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was equally counted and mattered to their candidate. Most Americans think it is wrong that the candidate with the most popular votes can lose. It undermines the legitimacy of the electoral system. We don’t allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

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