People for and against the Electoral College

A.
In favor of the Electoral College
B.
Against the Electoral College
1. Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States:

“The brilliance of the Electoral College is that you must go to many States to win. With the Popular Vote, you go to 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.”

Source: Twitter.com, Mar. 19, 2019

[Note: Donald Trump had previously spoken against the EC. On Nov. 6, 2012, he tweeted, “The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.”]

1. Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic nominee for President:

“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. I hope no one is ever in doubt again about whether their vote counts.”

Source: Associated Press, “Hillary Calls For End To Electoral College,” cbsnews.com, Nov. 10, 2000

[Note: On Dec. 14, 2020, Hillary Clinton renewed her support for ending the EC, writing on Twitter, “I believe we should abolish the Electoral College and select our president by the winner of the popular vote, same as every other office.”]

2. Joe Biden, President-Elect of the United States:

The New York Times told Biden that many of his Democratic primary challengers “have proposed major structural reforms to our government and to our democracy. These include abolishing the Electoral College, expanding the size of the Supreme Court, setting term limits for justices, abolishing the legislative filibuster. Which, if any of these, do you support?”

Biden replied, “None… Because that structural change requires constitutional amendments. It raises problems that are more damaging than the problem that exists.”

Source: New York Times Editorial Board, “Joe Biden,” nytimes.com, Jan. 17, 2020

2. Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives (R-GA):

“The winner-take-all method of allotting electoral votes means candidates must focus their efforts on just a handful of closely divided states — Ohio, Florida, and Virginia being the current examples. In fact, only 12 states received any attention at all from the nominees of either party in the recent general election campaign…

Americans would be better served with a presidential election process that treated citizens across the country equally. The National Popular Vote bill accomplishes this in a manner consistent with the Constitution and with our fundamental democratic principles.”

Source: Letter to John R. Koza, chair of National Popular Vote, available at nationalpopularvote.com, Jan. 14, 2014

3. Marco Rubio, US Senator (R-FL):

“#ElectoralCollege was work of genius by founders. It requires candidates for President to earn votes from various parts of country. And it makes sure interests of less populated areas aren’t ignored at the expense of densely populated areas.”

Source: Twitter.com, Mar. 19, 2019

3. Elizabeth Warren, US Senator (D-MA):

“We need to make sure that every vote counts… You know, come a general election, presidential candidates don’t come to places like Mississippi…

They also don’t come to places like California and Massachusetts, right? Because we’re not the ‘battleground states.’ Well, my view is that 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 and everybody counts.”

Source: CNN Town Hall at Jackson State University, transcripts.cnn.com, Mar. 18, 2019

4. Andrew Yang, entrepreneur and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate:

“The problem with deciding Presidential elections via popular vote is that candidates would naturally campaign in urban areas with big media markets and their policies would follow suit. Better to have proportional electoral college votes in each state so you campaign everywhere.”

Source: Twitter.com, Mar. 17, 2019

4. Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and nominee for Secretary of Transportation under President-Elect Biden:

“We need a national popular vote. It would be reassuring from the perspective of believing that we’re a democracy. But I also think it would be highly encouraging of voter participation on the national level. [Ending the Electoral College] wouldn’t be easy to do overnight, but it would also have the function of reminding everybody that structural reforms are an option, and encouraging us to have that level of intellectual ambition.”

Source: Greg Sargent, “How Democrats can defeat Trump and his ugly ideas, according to Pete Buttigieg,” washingtonpost.com, Mar. 19, 2019

5. Hans Von Spakovsky, Manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies:

“Imbued with the ideals of this nation’s Founders, the Electoral College has proved itself both effective in providing orderly elections for President and resilient in allowing a stable transfer of power of the leadership of the world’s greatest democracy…

In an age of perceived political dysfunction, effective policies already in place—especially successful policies established by this nation’s Founders, such as the Electoral College—should be preserved.”

Source: Hans Von Spakovsky, “Destroying the Electoral College: The Anti-Federalist National Popular Vote Scheme,” heritage.org, Feb. 20, 2020

5. Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law:

“I’m very concerned about the Electoral College.

We are the only country in the world that thinks of itself as a democracy where the candidate who loses the (popular vote) can become president.

I think the Electoral College should be abolished and the winner of the popular vote should be the president of the United States.”

Source: Josh Peter, “Electoral College will pick the president on Monday. Here’s what you should know,” usatoday.com, Dec. 13, 2020

 

6. Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas:

“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.

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…

The Electoral College worked exactly the way it should have in 2016 by preventing two states [California and New York] from imposing their will on the clear preference of the rest of the country, and exactly the way the Founders intended.”

Source: Mike Huckabee, “Gov. Mike Huckabee: The Electoral College protects all Americans,” foxnews.com, Mar. 29, 20196.

6. Eric Holder, Chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee and former US Attorney General under President Obama:

“I’d do away with the Electoral College and make the president be elected by direct popular vote of the people. You know, the president, he or she is the one person who is seen as the national leader, it’s the one national office that we vote for, and to have it go through an Electoral College process where, as we’ve now seen four or five times, where somebody can get fewer popular votes and still end up as president, I think that’s bad.

I think if you had direct elections, you would then have Republicans campaigning in New York, campaigning in California. Democrats would campaigning in Texas, for instance, in ways that they do not now. You would truly have national elections. You wouldn’t be spending inordinate amounts of time and money on these so-called ‘battleground states.’… You also decrease the possibility of fraud.”

Source: Eric Holder, “The Supreme Court, Census, Gerrymandering, and the Constitution,” 92y.org, Oct. 13, 2020

7. Tara Ross, retired lawyer and author of four books on the Electoral College:

“The older I get, the more I think that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is always the best approach to the Electoral College… The Founders created checks and balances in 1787 to protect American liberty from the imperfections of human nature. Humans are still imperfect. Safeguards are still needed…

American’s presidential election system was designed to serve a large, diverse country… The Electoral college is, if anything, needed even more today than it was in 1787.”

Source: Tara Ross, Why We Need the Electoral College, 2017

7. Jamelle Bouie, New York Times columnist:

“If direct election of the president would give equal weight to all votes, then the Electoral College works to give outsize weight to a narrow group of voters in a handful of states. That bias is why Donald Trump is president. A healthy plurality chose his opponent, but his supporters dominated key ‘swing’ states…

The Electoral College routinely threatens or produces perverse outcomes, where the will of the voters is thwarted by an ill-considered 18th-century electoral device. It has no place in a democracy that strives for a standard of ‘one person, one vote.’”

Source: Jamelle Bouie, “The Electoral College Is the Greatest Threat to Our Democracy,” nytimes.com, Feb. 28, 2019

8. Will Sellers, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama and four-time presidential elector:

“The Electoral College guarantees that successful presidential candidates will appeal to large swaths of the American landscape, and that the president himself will reflect the diversity of various regional ideas. It orchestrates the American chorus so that every section of the country will be heard by a serious presidential candidate.

We might not always like the outcome; it is always frustrating when your candidate loses, especially if he or she won the popular vote. Nevertheless, the remedy is not to change the rules, but rather to master the nuances of the rules in order to organize a presidential campaign so that it attracts supporters—and votes—from all portions of the country.”

Source: Will Sellers, “In Defense of the Electoral College,” city-journal.org, Nov. 3, 2020

8. Mehdi Hasan, political analyst and host of The Mehdi Hasan Show on NBC’s Peacock network:

“Since the start of this century, the United States has elected two Republican presidents – Trump and George W. Bush – who lost the national popular vote but won the majority of electoral college votes. How so? The electoral college elevates smaller, rural Republican states at the expense of bigger, more urban Democratic states. Compare California to Wyoming: the former has one electoral vote per 712,000 people, while the latter has one per 195,000 people. That means a vote in Wyoming has 3.6 times the impact in the electoral college as a vote in California.

The core of democracy is supposed to be the principle of one person, one vote, but the electoral college makes a mockery of that principle. And guess what? Most Americans agree. In June, a PRRI poll found that two-thirds (68 per cent) of Americans would prefer electing their presidents on the basis of the national popular vote, as opposed to the electoral college.”

Source: Mehdi Hasan, “Eight simple steps to fix American democracy,” newstatesman.com, Nov. 1, 2018

9. Laura Ingraham, host of The Ingraham Angle on Fox News Channel:

“The Founders designed the Electoral College as part of the overall system of checks and balances. So that all 50 states, not just the most populous ones, have a meaningful say in electing the president…

Without the Electoral College, we’ll essentially be living in something akin to a tyranny disguised as a democracy, with a handful of liberal states making all the decisions for the rest of us.

For instance, California, with its super-Democrat majority, believes in sanctuary cities, of course pot legalization, taxes, regulating anything that moves. And their values and concerns, it’s a beautiful state, but their values and concerns often do not match up with those of other states like South Carolina, Indiana, Georgia… And that’s why the Electoral College provides a necessary balance.”

Source: Laura Ingraham, “Ingraham: Democrats move to sideline middle America,” video.foxnews.com, May 31, 2019

9. Samantha Bee, comedian and host of the news satire show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee:

“Trump’s so-called election [despite losing the popular vote] is just one of the many reasons the Electoral College sucks and should be abolished… Americans have known for a long time that this system stinks, and for decades they’ve preferred a popular vote. That goes all the way back to a poll from 1944 when two-thirds of Americans supported a popular vote…

Under the current system, the only votes that really matter are the swing states… And yet, the conservative argument for the Electoral College always panics over candidates ignoring the small states. Even though that’s exactly what’s already happening.

Regardless of which side benefits, the Electoral College is unfair and undemocratic by design. It’s time to ditch it.”

Source: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, “It’s Time to Cancel the Electoral College | Full Frontal on TBS,” YouTube.com, Sep. 11, 2019

10. Trent England, David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and founder/executive director of Save Our States:

“The Electoral College prevents candidates from winning simply by driving up the popular vote (legitimately or otherwise) in a few states where they are already popular. Those “safe states” remain important, however, as the base that gives their preferred party and candidate legitimacy. From there, the Electoral College creates an incentive for campaigns to expand into marginal states…

The Electoral College works even better than the American founders hoped. It allows states to remain in charge of elections, contains disputes, limits fraud, and promotes a duopoly of diverse national coalition parties rather than a proliferation of interest-group or geographic parties.”

Source: Trent England, “In Defense of the Electoral College,” firstthings.com, Dec. 13, 2020

10. Jesse Wegman, author and member of the New work Times editorial board:

“I first became aware of how the Electoral College really functions and dysfunctions back in 2000, when, for the first time in anybody’s living memory, it split between the popular vote and the Electoral College. That year George W. Bush won the Electoral College and became President, despite losing the popular vote to Al Gore by about 530,000 votes…

It struck me that, if we are choosing a president to lead the whole country, that person should be chosen by the whole country, with everybody counting equally. But because of the way the Electoral College works, that’s not how it happened…

The whole point of this is people should count equally, no matter where they live. A voter in New York city should count no less and no more than a voter in Wyoming. Everyone should count equally. That’s one person, one vote, the principle at the heart of a representative democracy.”

Source: Quinn Kowitt, “Abolish the Electoral College: A Q&A with Jesse Wegman,” newschoolfreepress.com, Dec. 22, 2020