BALTIMORE — Guns and religion aren’t the only things congressional Democrats are accusing Republicans of clinging to these days — the electoral college can now be added to the list.
In the wake of former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton losing the election to President Donald Trump, a number of Democrats are calling for changes to the system. Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland alleged the electoral college isn’t reflective of the county’s views, arguing Republicans have been taking advantage of the system by pandering to certain states.
“In a partisan sense, I believe that the Republicans are hiding behind a wall of gerrymandered districts and clinging to the electoral college, which they have used to win in two of the last five elections despite the fact that Democrats won big popular victories both in 2000 and especially in 2016 with Hillary Clinton getting 2.9 million votes more,” he told reporters at the Democratic policy retreat Wednesday.
While proponents argue the electoral college is necessary to ensure more than just three states — New York, California and Texas — are responsible for electing the president, Democrats allege the system is rigged against them, arguing the congressional lines drawn by state legislatures has kept them in the minority.
“More than 90 percent of the money in the 2016 election was spent in fewer than a dozen states, the vast majority of the people live in 38 states where there were no presidential visits, no campaign offices set up, no TV ads whatsoever because they are saving in safe red states or safe blue states and so they’re not part of the electoral contest,” Raskin said, advocating for National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which would allow states to award their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the overall popular vote.
The president won the vote in 2,626 counties across the country, flipping more than 200 counties that went to President Barack Obama in 2012, in contrast Clinton won the vote in just 487 counties. Roughly 50 percent of Clinton’s popular vote lead over Trump came from 1.5 million voters in the five counties in New York City.
Raskin went on to allege Russia was largely responsible for Trump’s win, adding he believes the country is working to manipulate elections around the globe.
“And I will say finally in the global context, back in the home office in Moscow, Putin and the KGB are organizing a league of despots, dictators and right-wing white nationalist movements all over the world to try to attack political democracy,” he said. “And in America we should be in the forefront of the global struggle to defend and expand political democracy, human rights and civil liberties.”
Republicans have repeatedly noted Russia and Wikileaks did not prevent Clinton from campaigning in states like Wisconsin.
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