Warren Pressed in Iowa on Call to Abolish Electoral College: ‘Doesn’t Rural America Get the Shaft?’

• March 29, 2019 4:15 pm


Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) was pressed by Iowa reporters Friday over her call to abolish the Electoral College, with one remarking it would give rural America "the shaft."

Des Moines Register reporter Brianne Pfannenstiel asked Warren whether her proposal would hurt small states like Iowa, which is frequently a battleground state. The winner of Iowa has won six out of the past seven presidential elections, the exception being Al Gore in 2000.

"No, this is not about states," Warren said. "This is about voters. It makes every voter important, including voters in Iowa, including voters in Mississippi, including voters in Massachusetts and California."

Iowa Press host David Yepsen also pressed Warren, saying rural America could "get the shaft" if she had her way.

"Wouldn't rural America just be overlooked? The Founders set this up so that big colonies, like Massachusetts, weren't running over the little ones," Yepsen said. "Doesn't rural America get the shaft? No one will ever see a presidential candidate if we get rid of the Electoral College."

Warren said she didn't see it that way.

"Look how much of America is rural, only right now it's all got state boundaries," she said. "And you look at every state, and in every single state, you've got a minority population. … You have to get out and actually meet family farmers. You've got to meet people who live in small-town America and rural America.

"They no longer get subsumed as the minority within their state because all that matters is where your 10 electoral votes are going or your 20 electoral votes are going. I think this actually enhances the power of rural America and small-town America," she added.

Warren joined Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote in 2016 but lost the Electoral College, in calling for its abolition during a CNN town hall in Mississippi on March 18.

"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," Warren said.

Other Democratic presidential candidates, including former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D., Texas), have also called for it to be replaced. Its only prominent defender on the Democratic side: entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

President Donald Trump called the system a "disaster for a democracy" shortly after President Barack Obama was re-elected in 2012, but he's changed his tune, recently tweeting the "brilliance of the Electoral College is that you must go to many States to win."

Democrats and the media touted Hillary Clinton's impenetrable "blue wall" before Trump shocked the political world by winning Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in 2016, three states no Republican had won in decades.