December 21, 2016
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin became the latest Democrat on Tuesday to call for the abolition of the Electoral College, arguing the American system of electing a president is a “relic from a shameful period” in U.S. history, referring to slavery. Like most people on the left, Durbin prefers to have the northeastern and west coast states, which have much larger populations and typically vote Democrat, determine who the president is.
Durbin tweeted a link to an editorial in The New York Times on Tuesday, concurring with their argument that the electoral college is a “living symbol of America’s original sin.” The Illinois Democrat argued that the best way for this to happen is for individual states to pass the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, where states would award electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.
“A relic from a shameful period in our nation’s history, the Electoral College allows some votes to carry greater weight than others,” Durbin tweeted. “You’d say that is fundamentally unfair, that we live in a nation that’s 1 person, 1 vote–but that’s exactly what the Electoral College does.”
He also noted that he introduced similar legislation in 2000 a week before the presidential contest between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore, who also won the popular vote but lost in the Electoral College. As of Wednesday, Clinton holds a 2.8 million vote lead over Trump in the national popular vote despite the president-elect winning 306 electoral votes.
Durbin also retweeted Trump in Nov. 2012 saying: “The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.”
The Illinois Democrat is just the latest member of his party to call for an end to the electoral college. Outgoing Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., introduced a bill to do just that a week after Trump’s victory. Sen. Bernie Sanders also called for changes Monday to the electoral system as electors officially declared Trump the next president.