At a town hall event in Mississippi, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) pledged to avenge her predecessor candidate, Hillary Clinton, and do away with the Electoral College if she is elected president.
The plan to eliminate the Electoral College has caught fire among Democratic presidential hopefuls, and Warren is just the latest in a line of prospective nominees who want to replace the age-old system of allowing each state a certain number of votes proportional to their size and population with a “national popular vote” that will, of course, favor Democrats.
Warren, however, may have been the first to announce her plan in a state that would be cut out of the presidential process almost completely were the “national popular vote” system adopted.
Ironically, CNN reports, Warren announced her plan by suggesting that a national popular vote would make sure all Americans count equally in the process of electing a president.
“Come a general election, presidential candidates don’t come to places like Mississippi. They also don’t come to places like California or Massachusetts, because we’re not the battleground states,” she said. “My view is that every vote matters and the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting and that means get rid of the Electoral College — and every vote counts.”
Warren is right on one count: around 90% of electioneering takes place in 10 or 11 major battleground and swing states. But eliminating the Electoral College wouldn’t necessarily change the plan to win the presidency; it would merely change the select destinations.
Presidential candidates still would not go to “places like Mississippi” in the event of a national popular vote. Places like California (which Democrats do, in fact, visit, if only to collect checks from Hollywood bigwigs), New York, and Virginia would more than dominate electoral politics — they would, essentially, be able to exercise near-imperial rule over most other states.
That’s fine for Democrats, but not exactly fine for the people of Mississippi.
Warren’s plan also has other problems. Like a handful of more extreme Democratic proposals, promising to abolish the Electoral College is a bit like a fifth grader promising to make every day pizza day in the cafeteria as part of his platform for heading up the student council: it just isn’t going to happen without a major change in how party politics operates.
The Electoral College is enshrined in the Constitution and would require an amendment to alter, and an amendment involves calling a Constitutional convention (difficult), or obtaining 2/3 of the vote in both houses of Congress (nearly impossible). And although a handful of states have pledged to buck the Electoral College system and assign their electors to the winner of the national popular vote, acting on those votes could trigger a firestorm of litigation and a potential Constitutional crisis.
Warren, though, seems pretty much willing to commit to any proposal that earns her even a fraction of a percent at this point. Trailing far behind the leaders, and unable to move her numbers above 7%, it looks as if her bid to become president is over just weeks after it started. In addition to the Electoral College, Warren has proposed support for reparations (though she isn’t sure what that looks like), and has tacitly endorsed packing the Supreme Court with additional judges.
And yet, none of these three extreme proposals has moved her any further up in the polls.