Sanders says he backs abolishing Electoral College

Sanders says he backs abolishing Electoral College
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGabbard arrives in Puerto Rico to 'show support' amid street protests Democratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall Sanders unveils plan to guarantee the 'right to a secure retirement' 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 WarrenJulián Castro is behind in the polls, but he's finding a niche Gabbard arrives in Puerto Rico to 'show support' amid street protests Democratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall MORE (D-Mass.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocratic 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 The Hill's Campaign Report: Second debate lineups set up high-profile clash MORE (D-N.J.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandDemocratic 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 The Hill's Campaign Report: Second debate lineups set up high-profile clash MORE (D-N.Y.), as well as South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegDemocratic 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 The Hill's Campaign Report: Second debate lineups set up high-profile clash 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 ClintonMatt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' What to expect when Mueller testifies: Not much McConnell challenger faces tougher path after rocky launch MORE lost the presidential election despite winning the national popular vote by just under 3 million votes. President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' 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 GoreOvernight 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 No presidential candidate can unite the country MORE's 266.