WASHINGTON–Support for the Electoral College continues to rise as Democrats look for ways to abolish the 230-year system.
According to a recent Gallup poll, more Americans support the Electoral College system than ever before. In 2011, Gallup reported only 35 percent of respondents believed the College should remain in place as the system of voting that elects the president and vice president. That number is now 47 percent.
For the first time since Gallup first started inquiring about the Electoral College 49 years ago, less than half of Americans claimed they want to get rid of the College and elect a president via popular vote.
Following Donald Trump’s election last month, only 49 percent of Americans now want to amend the Constitution and scrap the Electoral College. This is down from around 60 percent over the past 16 years.
The highest level of support for ridding the country of the Electoral College happened in 1968 with 80 percent wanting to see it gone after Richard Nixon narrowly won both the popular vote and Electoral College.
Democrats, who tout the fact that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by over 2 million people over President-elect Donald Trump, have argued that Clinton was essentially scammed out of a victory as a result of an outdated voting system created by the country’s Founding Fathers. Comparing the circumstances to George W. Bush and Al Gore in 2000, when Bush also won the Electoral vote but lost the popular vote, Democrats gathered in a forum Tuesday to discuss ways to do away with the College.
“Under our current system, the votes of millions of people in non-swing states are effectively lost when their candidate loses their state because all of that state’s electoral votes will go to the other candidate,” Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers, who led the forum, said.
He went on to say, “Slave states opposed direct elections for the president because in a direct election system the North would outnumber the South, whose many slaves could not vote.” He added, “But the Electoral College instead let each southern state count its slaves, although with a two-fifths discount… in computing its share of the count.”
New York Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler nearly mocked the College stating, “It’s considered elementary in every other democratic country in the world. Only here is it considered novel.”
Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert disputed the claims telling a reporter that without the College,”The election would be decided by the big urban areas.”
What about a small state Democrat whose state, one senator says, is routinely looked over? West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin told The Daily Caller last month that abolishing the Electoral College would likely make no impact on his constituents in his state, because politicians ignore them anyway, and while he believes “the popular vote should prevail,” he would need to go back home and have town hall meetings over the issue.
“People say, ‘we’re left behind anyway.’ ‘They don’t come to West Virginia anyway.’ So neither one would hurt us,” he said.
“If your argument is more people will come and you’ll see people will try and get your vote, and they want the popular vote and they’re saying they’ll do that. Of course, the whole purpose of this thing is it keeps them from going to the most populated areas,” Manchin explained. He went on to say, “On the popular vote, they’ll ignore the little states like mine, so the Electoral College is supposed to give us all equal footing…we don’t get equal footing either way. They don’t come to us whether there’s an electoral vote or popular vote.”