Democrats have been working hard to try and abolish the electoral college, and while they’ve had some success, they just hit a Trump-sized wall that may kill their hopes.
Trump has called the left’s effort to abolish the electoral college “strange.”
The Democrats are getting very “strange.” They now want to change the voting age to 16, abolish the Electoral College, and Increase significantly the number of Supreme Court Justices. Actually, you’ve got to win it at the Ballot Box!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 20, 2019
He’s also been very transparent about how his mind has changed on this topic over time.
The Hill reported that Americans are deeply divided along partisan lines over whether the Electoral College, the state-by-state voting mechanism set up by the U.S. Constitution to choose the president, should be abolished.
In a Hill-HarrisX poll released Tuesday of 1,000 registered voters, 44 percent of respondents said that they wanted to get rid of the Electoral College while 37 percent said they wanted to keep it. Nineteen percent of respondents said they were unsure what to do.
A majority of Democratic voters, 60 percent, said they supported abolishing the Electoral College and allowing whoever receives the most votes nationwide to become president. Just 20 percent said they wanted to keep the current system. Twenty-one percent were unsure.
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However, thanks to the steep hurdles to amend the Constitution and remove the electoral college the Democrats hopes have been dashed.
An effort led by Democrats to scrap or bypass the Electoral College and shift presidential elections to contests decided by the national popular vote has almost no chance of succeeding, guaranteeing Democrats will again have to defeat Trump in the Electoral College they lost in 2016 while winning more votes nationally.
The Electoral College places the power to elect presidents in the hands of individual states and is enshrined in the Constitution.
The hurdles to amend the Constitution and move to the national popular vote are steep. So the bipartisan National Popular Vote interstate compact seeks to subvert this constitutional shield by convincing states to throw their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, regardless of which candidate wins their state. Compact supporters believe this doesn’t require amending the Constitution, but that notion would be challenged in the courts.
But the effort has run into another problem — stiff political resistance from Republicans, who lately see the Electoral College as possibly their only viable path to the White House.
The Republican Party’s appreciation for the Electoral College, and tradition of granting electoral votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote within each state, has blossomed since Trump “pierced the blue wall” in 2016. The president won Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, states the GOP hadn’t carried in decades, capturing the White House even as he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million to Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Especially with Trump poised to win re-election without carrying the popular vote, Democrats’ frustration with the existing system is rising. Liberal activists are demanding the Electoral College be abolished.
“That man has no chance of winning the popular vote,” Democratic operative Rodell Mollineau said, even as he acknowledged that Trump might win re-election anyway.
But in an era of bitter, divisive politics, clearing the threshold required for amendments, two-thirds of the Congress, and three quarters of the states, is a practical impossibility, emphasized Jeff Brauer, a political science professor at Keystone College in Northeastern Pennsylvania who studies the Electoral College.
“In this case it would be fairly unlikely because there are a lot of people who benefit from the Electoral College, particularly Republicans,” Brauer said.
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