Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren proposed eliminating the Electoral College on Monday night, putting front and center the movement to abandon a system that critics say is unfair and outdated — and that has denied the presidency to two Democrats who won the popular vote in recent years, including Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Warren said doing away with the Electoral College would encourage presidential candidates to appeal to voters in all states regardless of whether they trended Republican or Democrat. Speaking during a CNN town hall at Mississippi’s historically black Jackson State University, the senator explained that most presidential candidates never bother campaigning in states like Mississippi — or her home state of Massachusetts — because they aren’t one of the handful of Electoral College battleground states.
“Every vote matters, and the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting, and that means get rid of the Electoral College,” Warren declared, eliciting an ovation from the crowd.
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
Democrats have grown exasperated by the Electoral College. In 2000, Democratic candidate Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the presidency after a highly contentious Florida recount drama that went on for weeks. Then, in 2016, more Americans voted for Clinton than any other losing presidential candidate in U.S. history as she beat President Trump in the popular vote by almost 2.9 million ballots. Clinton surpassed even President Barack Obama’s 2012 vote count by 389,944 votes. Despite this, Obama earned 100 more Electoral College votes in 2012 than Clinton did in 2016.
During her comments on Monday night, Warren also noted that Republicans were continuing to engage in voter suppression efforts nationwide, most often targeting African-Americans and other minority groups that trend Democrat.
“I believe we need a constitutional amendment that protects the right to vote for every American citizen and makes sure that vote gets counted,” said Warren when asked about the problem of disenfranchisement. “We need to put some federal muscle behind that, and we need to repeal every one of the voter suppression laws that is out there.”
At the same town hall, Warren called for a commission to study reparations for black Americans, though she avoided answering a question about direct payments to descendants of slaves. She later tweeted her support for a “bill in the House to support a congressional panel of experts so that our nation can do what’s right & begin to heal.”
Read the full story at The New York Times.