A former constitutional law professor criticized the Electoral College system on Friday, saying that it is a “vestige” of an “earlier vision” of how the U.S. government was going to work.
“The Electoral College is a vestige, it’s a carryover from an earlier vision of how our federal government was going to work that put a lot of premium on states,” President Obama said during an end-of-the-year press conference.
Obama, who once taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago, had been asked by a reporter about thoughts on the Electoral College given that Donald Trump carried it while losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.
Many Democrats have called for an end to the system in the wake of Trump’s victory. Trump won 74 more electoral votes than Clinton while she received more than 2 million more votes than he did.
Obama said that the Electoral College has “sometimes” put Democrats at a disadvantage. He also seemed to lament how the Senate is apportioned.
“It used to be that the Senate was not elected directly, it was through state legislators. It’s the same type of thinking that gives Wyoming two senators with about 500,000 people and California with 33 million gets the same two,” Obama said.
“There’s some structures in our political system as envisioned by the Founders that sometimes are going to disadvantage Democrats, but the truth of the matter is that if we have a strong message, if we’re speaking to what the American people care about, typically the popular vote and the electoral college vote will align.”
Obama was also asked during the presser what he thought of the possibility that some electors from states that picked Trump casting their votes for Clinton.
“With respect to the electors, I’m not going to weigh in on that issue,” Obama said. “Again, it’s the American people’s job, and now the electors’ job to decide my successor. It is not my job to decide my successor.”