Outgoing Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., plans to introduce legislation on Tuesday to eliminate the Electoral College and to award the presidency to the candidate with the greater share of the popular vote, in direct response to President-elect Donald Trump’s historic victory.
“This is the only office in the land where you can get more votes and still lose the presidency,” Boxer said in a statement. “The Electoral College is an outdated, undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society, and it needs to change immediately.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.”
Trump romped over Hillary Clinton in the battle for Electoral College votes, and stands to get 290 to her 232 when the electors vote next month. But the former secretary of state won the day in the popular vote, where she is leading by roughly 800,000 votes according to Associated Press figures.
There’s no reason to think that Republicans who control Congress will take up, much less adopt, Boxer’s proposal, which would amend the Constitution in order to scrap the Electoral College. To be ratified, the amendment would need support from two-thirds of both houses, followed by approval by 38 of the 50 states.
Trump had called the Electoral College “a disaster for democracy” in response to President Obama’s 2012 reelection, at a time when Trump believed Obama would lose the popular vote. In a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday, Trump said his opinion hadn’t changed, despite the results of the current election.
“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 told CBS News’ Lesley Stahl.
But Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to declare the Electoral College “actually genius” and to declare that he would have “won even bigger and more easily” if the presidency had been determined by the popular vote.
It’s impossible to know whether that would be true, but Trump’s core argument — that you campaign on the basis of the rules that decide the winner — is basically correct.