Sen. Elizabeth Warren is calling for an end to the Electoral College as a way to guarantee that “every vote matters.” Her comments came at a CNN town hall in Jackson, Mississippi, in response to a question about voter disenfranchisement.
“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,” she said, to enthusiastic applause. Warren noted that during the general election, “Presidential candidates don’t come to places like Mississippi. … They also don’t come to places like California and Massachusetts, right? Because we’re not the battleground states.”
Since 2000, Democrats have seen two of their presidential candidates, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, win the popular vote only to lose the Electoral College — and the election. Because most states distribute electoral votes through a winner-take-all system, candidates tend to pay much less attention in the general election to states that are either deeply Democratic or deeply Republican, focusing instead on the battlegrounds where the outcome is uncertain. The groupthat by November 2016, over 90 percent of the electoral activity in the campaign had taken place in just 11 battleground states.
However, moving to a popular vote system could negatively impact a different set of voters. Candidates would likely focus more on heavily populated urban areas and less on those who don’t live in cities.
Warren joins South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who’s also seeking the Democratic presidential nod, in calling for an end to the Electoral College.
Warren also responded to a question about reparations — she did not definitively support direct financial payments as part of a plan but instead called for convening a congressional panel of experts to find the most effective solution to correct generational inequalities.
She also reiterated her support for an “ultra-millionaire” tax on wealth, for the green new deal and for breaking up the big tech companies.
Ben Mitchell and Caitlin Huey-Burns contributed to this report.