On the first day of Democrat control in the House of Representatives, Rep. Steven Cohen (D-TN) introduced a bill to scrap the electoral college, which is all the evidence you need to know that the Democrats are STILL enraged over Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
This isn’t the first time that Democrats have gotten on a tear about the electoral college, of course. The first time came back in 2000, when George W. Bush ultimately prevailed over challenger Al Gore, despite losing the popular vote. That led to grassroots calls to abolish the electoral college, but the groundswell was not loud enough to lead to any real movement on Capitol Hill.
This is a different scenario, because as much as the Democrats despised W, they hate Trump with a fire that burns at least a million degrees hotter. And that hatred made itself known on day one of Democrat control of the House in the form of Cohen’s bill. Oh, and in case it wasn’t patently obvious that Cohen’s bill was aimed squarely at President Trump, he also introduced another constitutional amendment – one that would prohibit the president from pardoning himself or any of his family members.
“In two presidential elections since 2000, including the most recent one in which Hillary Clinton won 2.8 million more votes than her opponent, the winner of the popular vote did not win the election because of the distorting effect of the outdated Electoral College,” Cohen said. “Americans expect and deserve the winner of the popular vote to win office. More than a century ago, we amended our Constitution to provide for the direct election of U.S. Senators. It is past time to directly elect our President and Vice President.
“Presidents should not pardon themselves, their families, their administration or campaign staff,” Cohen continued. “This constitutional amendment would expressly prohibit this and any future president, from abusing the pardon power.”
So anyway, about the electoral college.
President Trump himself has mentioned that he would like to see us go to a straight, national popular vote, and has said on numerous occasions that he would have won the popular vote had that been the goal. Naturally, he would have drastically changed his campaign strategy in order to do so.
And that’s part of the problem. A heavy focus on a handful of “swing states” is not necessarily the best thing that ever happened to our electoral politics, but it would be so much worse if we went to a popular vote system. Candidates would suddenly spend all of their time catering to densely-packed metropolitan areas, Texas, California, New York, and…that’s about it. It would be a crushing blow to the rest of the country, and many states would be frozen out of national politics forever.
The Founding Fathers were wise to guard against the “tyranny of the majority” when they devised our elections process. We should not be so arrogant as to believe that we have moved beyond those concerns today. And we should certainly not change our Constitution just because one party is angry over the last election. Something tells us that if Trump had won the popular vote and Hillary the presidency, Cohen would not have introduced this bill.
But hey, we’re just speculating.