Despite being the head of a major political party, and charged with leading that party to victory in major national elections, DNC Chairman Tom Perez does not appear to understand precisely how the American electoral system actually works, nor where the guidelines for such elections appear.
In a Tuesday evening lecture to the Indiana University School of Law, Perez claimed the Electoral College does not appear anywhere in the Constitution and is merely a figment of American tradition designed to dash the hopes of would-be First Women Presidents.
"The Electoral College is not a creation of the Constitution," Perez said. "It doesn’t have to be there."
For starters, the Electoral College does, in fact, appear in the Constitution, in Article II, which reads:
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.
Those electors, of course, go on to vote for president. It's a system the Founders designed explicitly to protect smaller states and colonies who would have no say in a popular vote. At the time, as today, a presidential campaign focused on winning the popular vote would bypass small states like Ohio, Wisconsin, and even Massachusetts, because Texas, California, Virginia, and Florida have much higher populations.
Perez seems to be acknowledging that the Electoral College is in some way tied to the Constitution, just not specifically "created" by the Constitution, which is either ignorance of the constitutional requirement that states vote for electors, or a fancy way of saying he considers the Electoral College a secondary body to the one prescribed by the Founding Fathers, and one that could be either tampered or done away with.
Previously, Perez has called for the Electoral College to be abolished in favor of a national popular vote.
"There's a national popular vote compact in which a number of states have passed a bill that says we will allocate our vote, our electoral votes, to the person who wins the national popular vote once other states totaling 170 electoral votes do the same," Perez's speech continued. "I’m frankly proud to tell you that the first state to pass such a law was Maryland."
Re-litigating the 2016 Presidential election is an odd focus for a man charged with winning the next one. After all, Clinton was supposed to have the Electoral College in mind when forming her campaign strategy — and she still failed. And Trump played by the rules; had the popular vote been in effect, he may have changed his own campaign strategy to accommodate the new landscape.
Perhaps Perez's lack of focus is why the Democratic Party is seeing record low fundraising numbers.