MSNBC Anchor: Democrats Have 'Zero Percent' Chance of Abolishing Electoral College

April 2, 2019

MSNBC's Hallie Jackson on Tuesday poured cold water on a Democratic plan with "a zero percent chance" of abolishing with the Electoral College.

Speaking with MSNBC regular Jeffrey Rosen, Jackson wondered why Democrats were making so much noise about the moonshot proposal.

"We've already laid out, Jeffrey, just how high of a bar you'd have to clear so that this would actually happen, and, like, it's a really high bar," Jackson said. "So are Democrats at this point just wasting their time?"

Rosen is the president and CEO of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.


Jackson wondered at the scale of the effort to "get rid of the Electoral College," despite the long odds. "They're looking to 100 percent  change how presidents are elected in this country, even though this thing has virtually a 0 percent chance of actually happening," she said.

Given the amendment's certain failure, Jackson considered the political upshot of simply introducing the proposal. "It's an interesting political maneuver here for those Democrats," she said.

Washington Free Beacon editor David Rutz first shared a clip of the comments.

On Tuesday, Senate Democrats introduced a Constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College, which has structured American presidential elections since the Constitution's ratification. Sens. Brian Schatz (D., Hawaii), Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) sponsored the amendment. They hope to make presidential elections a question of garnering a simple nationwide majority.

Currently, Article Two and the Twelfth Amendment of the Constitution provide for presidential elections through the Electoral College. States are apportioned total electors based on their two Senators and their share of the 435 Representatives. The District of Columbia gets three electors. A simple majority of the 538 electoral votes wins the presidency.

Article V of the Constitution requires two thirds of both the House and Senate or 34 states to propose an amendment. An amendment "shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution" only if 38 states approve. Republicans control too much of the House, Senate, and the nation's state houses for a hostile amendment to pass. The last two Republican presidents, Donald Trump and George W. Bush, won presidential elections without winning the so-called "popular vote."

In addition to Gillibrand, who introduced the amendment, a number of other 2020 Democratic candidates for president have supported destroying the Electoral College.

Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) said that the person "with the most votes" should be president. Democratic socialist  Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) has supported having a "serious" conversation about the radical reform. Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) calls herself "open" to abolishing the Electoral College. Gov. Jay Inslee (D., Wash.) claims the Electoral College stands in the way of his plan to fight climate change. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) said the system disfavors rural areas. Former Sec. Julian Castro wants to "do away" with that system. Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D., Ind.) said in January that the "Electoral College needs to go." Former Rep. Robert Francis 'Beto' O'Rourke (D., Tex.) has said the same.

Others, like Andrew Yang, have proposed some electoral reforms, but not addressed the Electoral College itself.

Candidates have made similar claims about packing the Supreme Court or otherwise changing systems of America's federal government established in the Constitution.