While I’m far from deciding on a Democratic candidate, I agree with Senator Elizabeth Warren in her support for “getting rid of the electoral college,” and having the presidency decided by a national popular vote. Per Matthew Dowd’s ABC NEWS article, Warren was “quickly attacked by many who think this is a “radical idea.” Yet that assessment is incorrect. Per a new CBS News poll, about 60% of Americans are in favor of abolishing the Electoral College.
As Mr. Dowd notes, “support for the popular vote has risen as Americans have witnessed, in the last 20 years, two presidents win the Oval Office while losing the national popular vote.” In 2000, despite Gore receiving 543,895 more votes than George W. Bush, he lost the election. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 3 million, yet was still declared the “loser.” That is unprecedented and speaks to the outdated Electoral College model.
Per Memphis Representative Steve Cohen:
“The Electoral College is a relic of slavery; the 3/5 compromise. It let slave states wield more influence than their voting population merited. We need to move toward a “1 person, 1 vote” standard. That’s why I introduced an amendment to eliminate the Electoral College.”
Beyond the inherent unfairness of the Electoral College, the current model dictates that candidates spend an inordinate amount of time and energy on a few battleground states. As Mr. Dowd noted:
“If the 2020 election were to be decided by a national popular vote instead of the Electoral College, candidates and campaigns in the general election would have to completely refashion their strategies…[t]o reallocate resources, the campaigns would have to put time and effort into at least 40 states, representing 90 percent of the country’s voters.”
“In a national popular vote effort, campaigns would have to spend time in places like Texas, California, New York, Louisiana, Washington, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, George, North Carolina, etc. Under the current system, candidates only go to those states to fundraise.”
I’m tired of living in one of our most populous and diverse states and having our votes be an afterthought. Which brings me to another point – news networks should shut the hell up about all the prognosticating while people go to the polls – to actually vote. Stop polling in advance to manipulate and steer the race; stop exit polling. Just stop.
If rich talking heads wish to remain in their cloistered circles, they need to keep their opinions to themselves until after we have had our say – and that say will surely be diminished if the Electoral College is allowed to remain in place.
Candidates have an obligation to appeal to as many voters as possible across this nation, whether urban, rural or anything in between. As it stands now, many feel their votes matter less because if they live in a typically Red or Blue state, their votes won’t change the outcome – but a national popular vote determining the winner may make a difference. That may very well encourage those otherwise (rightly) frustrated or apathetic to be more involved in the process.
Also remember that in the last 7 presidential election cycles (1992-2016), a Republican only won the popular vote once — GWBush’s re-election campaign in 2004. So who does the Electoral College advantage? It keeps what is increasingly a minority Party in power.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder tweeted the following:
“Abolish the Electoral College. Have the direct vote of the people choose the President. To ensure national support – if one candidate doesn’t get 50% of the vote have a runoff 4 weeks after the election between the top two vote recipients. More fair. Better for true democracy.”
Show me a Representative who is against that and I will show you someone who wants to suppress your vote for their own selfish reasons.