Sanders says he backs abolishing Electoral College

Sanders says he backs abolishing Electoral College
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump to hold campaign rally in Michigan Castro hits fundraising threshold for December debate Buttigieg draws fresh scrutiny, attacks in sprint to Iowa 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 WarrenTrump to hold campaign rally in Michigan Castro hits fundraising threshold for December debate Buttigieg: Harris 'deserves to be under anybody's consideration' for vice president MORE (D-Mass.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerCastro hits fundraising threshold for December debate The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi says House will move forward with impeachment Booker: Primary voters 'being denied' their candidates of choice MORE (D-N.J.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandHarris posts video asking baby if she'll run for president one day Warren hits Bloomberg, Steyer: They have 'been allowed to buy their way' into 2020 race Supreme Court poised to hear first major gun case in a decade MORE (D-N.Y.), as well as South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegCastro hits fundraising threshold for December debate On The Money: Congress races to beat deadline on shutdown | Trump asks Supreme Court to shield financial records from House Democrats | House passes bill to explicitly ban insider trading NYT editorial board calls on Buttigieg to disclose details of work at consulting firm 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 ClintonTrump to hold campaign rally in Michigan Saagar Enjeti ponders Hillary Clinton's 2020 plans Political ad spending set to explode in 2020 MORE lost the presidential election despite winning the national popular vote by just under 3 million votes. President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrumps light 97th annual National Christmas Tree Trump to hold campaign rally in Michigan 'Don't mess with Mama': Pelosi's daughter tweets support following press conference comments 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 GoreImpeachment can't wait Lessons of the Kamala Harris campaign The Memo: Will impeachment hurt Democrats or Trump? MORE's 266.