Elizabeth Warren Gonna Yell That Old Electoral College Right Out Of Town!
Elizabeth Warren held a town hall at Jackson State University last night, and one member of the audience at the historically black university wanted to know about voting: What would Warren do to protect voting rights? Warren went one better than calling for laws protecting the right to vote; she'd like to see a constitutional amendment. That's good! And then she went a step further and said it's time to get rid of the Electoral College, which got one of her biggest ovations of the night.
Here, have some video:
Elizabeth Warren: Get rid of the Electoral College www.youtube.com
Warren's ideas went beyond the suite of voting protections in House Democrats' "For the People Act," a blueprint for voting reforms that can be enacted if Dems retake the Senate and presidency in 2020. To prevent fuckery, let's ensure voting rights through a constitutional amendment:
I believe we need a constitutional amendment that protects the right to vote for every American citizen and to make sure that vote gets counted. 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.
Then Warren upped the ante, pointing out that for every vote to really count, we need to let winners of the popular vote actually become president. Currently, there's little reason for presidential candidates to even bother campaigning in solid red or blue states.
Come a general election, presidential candidates don't come to places like Mississippi. They also don't come to places like California or Massachusetts, 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 --
We're fairly sure she said either "everybody can count" or "everybody can vote," but we're not sure, because the crowd drowned it out with applause as soon as Warren said the Electoral College should go.
Of course, given the power of small states, it's unlikely they'd ever approve of any constitutional amendment to eliminate the Electoral College. But since the Constitution gives states the power to decide how to apportion their electoral votes, an amendment isn't the only way to ensure the popular vote winner becomes president.
Eleven states and the District of Columbia have signed on to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement that would require the states to award their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, regardless of the outcome in those states. That change would only kick in once the compact has enough signatories to total 270 electoral votes -- the margin of victory needed to win in the Electoral College. Here, see some arguments on why it would probably pass constitutional muster!
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill Friday making Colorado the 12th state in the compact, bringing the total number of electoral votes in the agreement to 181. In addition, the New Mexico and Delaware legislatures have both passed bills to join, although neither state's governor has yet signed them into law. If they do, that will be another eight electoral votes.
Of course, most of the big blue states where this is already a popular idea have already signed on; in addition to Colorado and DC, the compact has California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. Colorado is the first truly swing state to hop into the agreement, and it seems iffy whether others, like Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Michigan, will join -- at least not yet.
Then again, a few more years of people getting disgusted with Republican fuckery with democracy, particularly in states where lameduck R legislators tried to overrule the results of the 2018 midterms, could lead to a voter backlash that might just bring in new legislatures in coming elections. (Hello, Michigan and Wisconsin, not to mention Ohio and Missouri. Fifty-four electoral votes in those four.)
Assuming, of course, that people are allowed to vote. We aren't so sure we can bet on that, which is kind of the point, now isn't it?
Update: Sexy Pete Buttigieg wants to ditch the electoral college, too!
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