A congressional Democrat has introduced a constitutional amendment to eliminate the Electoral College on the grounds that it failed to put Hillary Clinton in the White House.
Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee on Thursday, the first day in which Democrats controlled the House, used Clinton’s defeat at the hands of President Donald Trump as his reason why the Electoral College should be scrapped.
“In two presidential elections since 2000, including the most recent one in which Hillary Clinton won 2.8 million more votes than her opponent, the winner of the popular vote did not win the election because of the distorting effect of the outdated Electoral College,” Cohen said in a release posted on his website.
“Americans expect and deserve the winner of the popular vote to win office. More than a century ago, we amended our Constitution to provide for the direct election of U.S. Senators. It is past time to directly elect our President and Vice President,” he said.
The Electoral College was created by America’s Founding Fathers. Through it, electors are apportioned to the various states based upon population.
In recent years, the high-population, largely Democratic states of California and New York have helped ensure that Democrats have generally won the popular vote. Since 1992, former President George W. Bush has been the only Republican to win the popular vote. He did that in 2004.
Thus in 2016, Clinton posted an overall popular vote margin of 2.8 million votes over Trump. However, according to figures reported by CBS, Clinton’s margin over Trump in New York was 1.7 million votes, while her margin in California was 4 million votes. That means that in the other 48 states, Trump had a solid popular vote majority.
Cohen’s proposed amendments are unlikely to become law. Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress. Three-fourths of the states must also approve of any amendment.
Democrats have attacked the Electoral College in the past.
“It is well past time we eliminate the Electoral College, a shadow of slavery’s power on America today that undermines our nation as a democratic republic,” Democratic Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez of New York tweeted in November.
It is well past time we eliminate the Electoral College, a shadow of slavery’s power on America today that undermines our nation as a democratic republic. https://t.co/00HZN3MI6F
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 6, 2018
Clinton has also said that it is time to eliminate the Electoral College.
“I think it needs to be eliminated,” she told CNN in 2017. “I’d like to see us move beyond it, yes.”
Trump has said that he would not object to running for president under different rules, according to Politico.
“Remember, we won the election. And we won it easily. You know, a lot of people say, ‘Oh, it was close.’ And by the way, they also like to always talk about Electoral College. Well, it’s an election based on the Electoral College. I would rather have a popular election, but it’s a totally different campaign,” Trump said. “It’s as though you’re running — if you’re a runner, you’re practicing for the 100-yard dash as opposed to the 1-mile.
“The Electoral College is different. I would rather have the popular vote because it’s, to me, it’s much easier to win the popular vote.”
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