Donate

Sen. Blutarsky has not commented on the bill


For your paired "Damn Well About Time" and "Never Gonna Happen" file folders, you'll be glad to know retiring (but very outgoing) Sen. Barbara Boxer will introduce a bill to abolish the Electoral College, that leftover artifact of colonial America that has led to the second-place finisher in the total vote count becoming president five times now, most recently this year and in 2000. Boxer's press release on the proposal notes the New York Times estimates that once all the ballots in this year's election are counted, Hillary Clinton's popular vote lead over Donald Trump could be as high as 2 million votes.

"In my lifetime, I have seen two elections where the winner of the general election did not win the popular vote," said Senator Boxer. "When all the ballots are counted, Hillary Clinton will have won the popular vote by a margin that could exceed two million votes, and she is on track to have received more votes than any other presidential candidate in history except Barack Obama. This is the only office in the land where you can get more votes and still lose the presidency. The Electoral College is an outdated, undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society, and it needs to change immediately. Every American should be guaranteed that their vote counts."

Boxer also reminds us that the winner of this year's electoral vote griped in 2012 (when Barack Obama won both the electoral and popular majorities):

Boxer noticed that Trump's position on the Electoral College has evolved a little in the past few days. On Sunday's "60 Minutes," he said he still thought it was kind of antiquated: "You know, I'm not going to change my mind just because I won. But I would rather see it where you went with simple votes. You know, you get 100 million votes and somebody else gets 90 million votes and you win," he explained. Astonishingly, by Tuesday morning, he had seen the wisdom of the Founders, but was pretty sure he'd be president either way:

So hey, win-win! He definitely coulda won California and New York, because he is a genius!

Even if Boxer's amendment goes nowhere, which seems likely, there's also a grassroots movement to convince state legislatures to adopt a "National Popular Vote Interstate Compact," under which states would agree to commit their electoral votes to the winner of the nationwide popular vote; to ensure that the current system would operate until the movement has reached critical mass, the compact would only go into effect when a total number of states equaling 270 electoral votes had adopted the measure. It's a terrific idea that's probably doomed. But we like it! Here's a nifty 'splainer from WNYC's On the Media: