Senate Democrats are expected to propose a constitutional amendment this week that would abolish the Electoral College.
The proposal was first reported by The Daily Beast, which said that Hawaii Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz will unveil the proposal Tuesday, and that Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Dianne Feinstein of California are key supporters.
Gillibrand is not the only 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to support the measure. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts also backs it, while Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California have claimed a need for the person who wins the popular vote to elected president, The Hill reported.
Dumping the Electoral College is an idea that has been debated off and on for years, but it took on new life after Republican Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, despite Clinton winning the popular vote.
Although Clinton’s popular vote majority reflected lopsided wins in New York and California, abolishing the Electoral College has been embraced by Democrats who say it will allow more states to become part of the process. Republicans, by contrast, have said the system does not need to be changed.
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
The desire to abolish the Electoral College is driven by the idea Democrats want rural America to go away politically. https://t.co/ntMBY1bKcw
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) March 19, 2019
This is how we make sure every vote counts! I’m glad to see that another state has pledged to give its Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote. https://t.co/zPRPbKcNUx
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) March 31, 2019
Trump has said that the Electoral College shapes the presidential race. Although he has voiced support for the popular vote in the past, he is now opposed to a change.
….just the large States – the Cities would end up running the Country. Smaller States & the entire Midwest would end up losing all power – & we can’t let that happen. I used to like the idea of the Popular Vote, but now realize the Electoral College is far better for the U.S.A.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 20, 2019
In an opinion piece published by Fox News, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took a broader view of the dispute.
“The Founders feared the tyranny of the majority and created a Constitutional Republic for good reason so that any candidate would have to win broad support across the nation, not just in a handful of heavily-populated cities,” he wrote.
“Some dismiss this as putting ‘geography’ ahead of people but it’s actually protecting people. People in farming or ranching states shouldn’t be steamrolled by voters 1,000 miles away who have no understanding or concern about their lives and interests,” he wrote.
Huckabee noted that many states see the impact of popular vote contests when one or two metro areas dominate the voting.
“If you want to see what a national popular vote election would be like, ask a conservative farmer in California or Colorado how well he feels his state government represents him now. It’s no coincidence rural counties in both states have secessionist movements,” he wrote.
“Hillary was done in by a number of factors, not the least of which was her decision to ignore the problems of voters in Rust Belt states. Because of this, they voted for the candidate who actually came and addressed their concerns (Trump), which is exactly as the Founders intended.”
Referencing the 2016 contest in which Clinton’s popular vote majority came from two states, Huckabee wrote, “The Electoral College worked exactly the way it should have in 2016 by preventing two states from imposing their will on the clear preference of the rest of the country, and exactly the way the Founders intended.”
Passing a constitutional amendment is a daunting process.
First, it would require both houses of Congress to pass the amendment with a two-thirds majority.
Next, three-quarters of the states would need to approve the amendment.
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