Former Democratic nominee for president Hillary Clinton is calling for the end of the archaic way we select the commander-in-chief, saying it’s time once and for all that we get rid of the Electoral College.
“I think it needs to be eliminated,” Clinton said in a recent interview. “I’d like to see us move beyond it, yes.”
Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump had a very close election result last fall. Ultimately, Trump won the presidency by attaining a higher number of votes in the Electoral College — even as Clinton won three million more votes than he did in the popular vote tally.
Trump has questioned the validity of the popular vote numbers, going so far as to say that they were the result of undocumented immigrants illegally casting ballots for Clinton, a claim that the president has yet to produce evidence to back up.
This is not the first time that Clinton has called for the Electoral College to be dismantled. Shortly after winning her first election to the U.S. Senate — and after Al Gore lost the election for president to George W. Bush, also while winning the popular vote but losing the Electoral College — Clinton commented on the need to amend the Constitution in favor of allowing a popular vote total to choose the leader of the nation.
We are a very different country than we were 200 years ago. I believe strongly that in a democracy, we should respect the will of the people and to me, that means it’s time to do away with the Electoral College and move to the popular election of our president.
Five times in our nation’s history, the president has been selected by the Electoral College while also losing the popular vote total. On one other occasion, the popular vote and Electoral College failed to produce a clear winner, resulting in the House of Representatives choosing John Quincy Adams for the presidency.
Trump himself once called the Electoral College unfair, when it appeared that Barack Obama was set to defeat Mitt Romney in Electoral College votes but not the popular vote.
The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2012
Later on, however, as more vote totals came in, Obama won both the Electoral College as well as the popular vote. Trump also signaled, shortly after winning the election in 2016, his willingness to look at removing the Electoral College in an interview with 60 Minutes. “I would rather see it where you went with simple votes,” he said.
Shortly after that interview, however, Trump backed off on his calls to eliminate the mechanism that propelled him to victory, and began plastering the walls of the White House with maps of his Electoral College victory.
Watch the video below for an in-depth explanation of how the Electoral College works: