Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., winks as she jokes with other senators on the Senate Banking Committee ahead of a hearing on the nomination of Marvin Goodfriend to be a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
With a push by some states to enter into compacts to award electoral college votes in their state to the winner of the national popular vote no matter which candidate wins the popular vote in their state , it was just a matter of time before some enterprising Democrat jumped on the bandwagon.
And the winner is…
Every vote should count—and the way we can make that happen is getting rid of the Electoral College. pic.twitter.com/pyGOkvhLzC
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) March 19, 2019
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Monday endorsed ending the electoral college, arguing for a system where “every vote matters.”
Many Democrats, including Warren, have disparaged the electoral college following the presidential election results in 2000 and 2016, when Al Gore and Hillary Clinton both won the national popular vote, yet lost the electoral college vote and, as a result, the presidency.
The announcement from Warren, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, came during an hour-long town hall at Mississippi’s Jackson State University and amid a wave of (blue-leaning) state action to do the same.
The elimination of the electoral college is an idea that has some serious anti-Republic as well as almost insurmountable logistical problems (there is no nationally verified popular vote winner, for example).
Calls to eliminate the EC started bubbling up in earnest when former (and disgraced) Attorney General Eric Holder began his post-administration work of lobbying against both gerrymandering and the electoral college. He’s been pushing the idea that the EC is anti-Democratic. But this Twitter response to him regarding the issue explains pretty handily why the idea is terrible — and the rationale for why the Founders decided the electoral college was a way to proportionally decide elections based on population and protect from tyranny at the same time.
I don’t want NY and CA picking my president every four years. https://t.co/UnkE47dH7A
— Melissa Braunstein (@slowhoneybee) March 18, 2019
What this user is alluding to is the fact that because California and New York have such a concentration of the population, if a national popular vote total was what elected our presidents rather than a shared selection with the college of electors, the candidate that espoused policies crucial to those urban areas would be elected almost every time. And New York and LA have very different needs from, say, Omaha and Boise.
Additionally, the founders felt that a popular vote was very easy to manipulate in as much as a charismatic tyrant could possibly convince an easily-led electorate to believe snake oil promises of monorails (thank you Simpsons) without some countervailing body checking the human tendency of susceptibility to group-think. And an uninformed electorate is very open to that kind of advertising, even if they don’t realize it.
The Democrats would very much like to do away with that check on power because the coastal and urban elites who vote for them would win every time, and elections like the 2016 election of Donald Trump, where the rust belt and middle American voters likely played an outsized role, would be a thing of the past.
Like the Green New Deal and Universal Health Care, the elimination of the electoral college is a bad idea being sold as a utopian democratic solution that’s good for both the country and her people. It’s neither. But it could be very, very good for Democrat candidates in perpetuity were it ever to be adopted.