Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, cast two of New York’s Electoral College votes Monday, but Clinton made certain to reassure her remaining supporters that she still supports abolishing the Electoral College despite her participation.
The Clintons, who now make their home in New York, cast two of that state’s Electoral College votes for Joe Biden Monday, helping the 2020 Democratic presidential contender secure his victory over President Donald Trump. But despite her apparent glee at voting for Biden, Clinton took to social media to explain that she still does not view the institution as legitimate after she failed to secure an Electoral College victory in 2016.
“I believe we should abolish the Electoral College and select our president by the winner of the popular vote, same as every other office,” Clinton said on social media above a photo of herself giving the “thumbs up.” “But while it still exists, I was proud to cast my vote in New York for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”
I believe we should abolish the Electoral College and select our president by the winner of the popular vote, same as every other office.
But while it still exists, I was proud to cast my vote in New York for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. pic.twitter.com/th9qebu9ka
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) December 14, 2020
But while Clinton lost the Electoral College vote in 2016 after winning the popular vote by 3 million, Biden has secured a victory in both (though President Trump is still challenging the official vote tally in at least five battleground states), leaving far fewer Democrats clamoring to eliminate the Electoral College — something that could only be done by Constitutional amendment.
The Electoral College exists to give smaller, less populous states a larger say in choosing a leader than they would receive if the vote were based purely on population. A “national popular vote” would leave selecting a president in the hands of states like California, New York, Illinois, and Texas, where most of the country’s population resides, leaving smaller states like Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania out in the cold.
Clinton has long-since theorized that, if 2016 had been a “popular vote” election that she would have taken the White House easily, but a popular vote election would have necessitated a change in strategy for both parties, and Clinton’s strategy for winning the Electoral College appears to have been largely at fault for her loss. The Clinton campaign abandoned efforts in two key states, Wisconsin and Michigan, and Trump’s campaign snapped up vulnerable swing populations in both states.
Biden’s strategy differed markedly from Clinton’s, giving him narrow, albeit contested, victories in both states. On Monday, both states cast their electoral votes for Biden, eliminating all but final challenges to the Democrat’s presidential win. Trump told Fox News on Sunday that he plans on continuing to press forward with litigation, and the president’s campaign team has been courting Republicans who may be willing to vote against certifying the Electoral College vote when Congress meets in January.
Fox News notes that Clinton opposition to the Electoral College dates back a bit further, though: “Clintons calling for the abolishment of the Electoral College dates back to then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush’s 2000 victory over then-Vice President Al Gore, the previous time a popular vote winner lost the Electoral College count.”
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