President-elect Donald Trump once tweeted that the Electoral College is “a disaster for a democracy.”
But now that it has helped him to win the election, does he still believe that?
“I’m not going to change my mind just because I won,” Trump said in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday. “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.”
Trump’s clinched his stunning victory over Hillary Clinton in last week’s election by amassing more than the 270 electoral votes needed to win. He won 290 to Clinton’s 228, with Michigan and New Hampshire still too close to call.
But the Democratic nominee currently leads Trump in the popular vote by more than 700,000 votes (61.3 million to 60.6 million) with several million left to be counted. If her lead holds, Clinton would be the first presidential candidate since 2000 to win the popular vote while losing the White House. (In that year, Al Gore lost the Electoral College to George W. Bush.) Clinton, who was then first lady, called at the time for the college to be disbanded so that no one would ever have to doubt again whether his or her vote counted.
The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2012
“Mr. Trump is unfit to serve,” Elijah Berg, who launched the petition, wrote on Change.org. “His scapegoating of so many Americans, and his impulsivity, bullying, lying, admitted history of sexual assault, and utter lack of experience make him a danger to the Republic.”
Berg argued that the Electoral College can award the White House to either candidate and should use its own “most undemocratic” institution to ensure a “democratic result,” going on to say, “24 states bind electors. If electors vote against their party, they usually pay a fine. And people get mad. But they can vote however they want and there is no legal means to stop them in most states.”
On the eve of the 2012 election between President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, Trump — who had backed Romney — ripped the Electoral College as “a disaster for a democracy.”
But in his interview with “60 Minutes,” Trump signaled that he has softened his position a bit as president-elect.
“There’s a reason for doing this, because it brings all the states into play,” he said. “And there’s something very good about that.”
Trump added: “I respect it. I do respect the system.”