Democrats Reignite Calls to End Electoral College

'That should be at the top of the Democratic priority list'

Michael Dukakis / AP
November 14, 2016

Failed Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, who fell to George H.W. Bush in the 1988 election, said those in his party should focus primarily on abolishing the Electoral College after Donald Trump's stunning defeat of Hillary Clinton last week.

Clinton is currently leading Trump by over 700,000 votes, with thousands yet to be counted, but the former Republican nominee smoothly secured the White House on Tuesday after surpassing the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

"Hillary won this election, and when the votes are all counted, by what will likely be more than a million votes. So how come she isn't going to the White House in January? Because of an anachronistic Electoral College system which should have been abolished 150 years ago," Dukakis told Politico on Sunday.

"That should be at the top of the Democratic priority list while we wait to see what a Trump administration has in store for us. So far, all we know is that dozens of lobbyists are all over the Trump transition–a strange way to drain the swamp," he continued.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), who lost to Clinton during the Democratic primary, also questioned the role of the Electoral College. In an interview with USA Today published Monday, Sanders said the U.S. should have a "serious" discussion about the institution, "which is seating a man for president who didn't get the most votes."

In 2012, Trump called for the institution to be dismantled when it first appeared Mitt Romney had captured the popular vote. Clinton too called for the Electoral College's abolishment in 2000 during the Florida recount that led to Al Gore's contentious loss.

"I believe strongly that in democracy we should respect the will of the people, and to me that means it’s time to do away with the Electoral College and move to the popular election of our president," Clinton said at the time.

Democrats have won the popular vote in six of the past seven presidential elections. In 1988, Dukakis lost to Bush by 7 million votes.

Clinton is currently leading the popular vote count over Trump in large part due to heavily Democratic California, where the Democratic nominee has nearly three million more votes than Trump.