Sanders says he backs abolishing Electoral College

Sanders says he backs abolishing Electoral College
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders'Medicare for All': The hype v. Maryland's reality Biden says he supports paying campaign staff minimum wage Biden's lead narrows in early voting states: poll MORE (I-Vt.) on Thursday night said he favored getting rid of the Electoral College. 

Sanders was pressed on the issue at a presidential town hall hosted by the League of United Latin American Citizens

“It is hard to defend a system in which we have a president who lost the popular vote by 3 million votes, so the answer is yes,” he said.

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Sanders had previously made similar remarks, but stopped short of calling for abolishing the voting body.

"Presidential elections cannot be fought out in just a dozen 'battleground' states," he told The Washington Post. "I believe that we need to reexamine the concept of the Electoral College."

A number of other Democratic presidential hopefuls including Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren warns another 'economic crash' is coming The Hill's Morning Report — Mueller Time: Dems, GOP ready questions for high-stakes testimony Biden's lead narrows in early voting states: poll MORE (D-Mass.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerTrump tweets, rally chant dominate Sunday shows as president continues attacks Sunday shows - Fallout over Trump tweets Booker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' MORE (D-N.J.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandHarris faces pressure to define policy proposals Democratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage MORE (D-N.Y.), as well as South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegNashville radio host blocked by employer from airing his interview with Buttigieg Buttigieg says white supremacy could be 'issue that ends this country' Biden's lead narrows in early voting states: poll MORE (D) have also called to eliminate the Electoral College.

And a recent NBC News–Wall Street Journal survey found that a majority of voters says the Electoral College system should be abandoned in favor of a national popular vote.

The push to consider moving to a national popular vote comes as several Democratic states in recent years have entered into the National Popular Vote interstate compact, an agreement that would essentially bypass the Electoral College if enough states join. 

The Electoral College has faced renewed scrutiny from the left after 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonChelsea Clinton announces birth of third child Ukrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report A question for Robert Mueller MORE lost the presidential election despite winning the national popular vote by just under 3 million votes. President TrumpDonald John TrumpChelsea Clinton announces birth of third child Ukrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report Trump attacks 'the Squad' as 'racist group of troublemakers' MORE won the Electoral College, though, by a margin of 304 to 227.

Former President George W. Bush similarly lost the popular vote in 2000, but won in the Electoral College with 271 votes to Democratic candidate Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreNew York State of wind Overnight Energy: EPA halts surprise inspections of power, chemical plants | Regulators decline to ban pesticide linked to brain damage | NY awards country's largest offshore wind energy contracts New York awards country's largest offshore wind energy contracts MORE's 266.