Sanders says he backs abolishing Electoral College

Sanders says he backs abolishing Electoral College
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden Democrats brace for slog on Biden's spending plan To break the corporate tax logjam, tax overinflated CEO pay 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 WarrenSenate confirms Biden's Air Force secretary Senate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Will Pence primary Trump — and win? MORE (D-Mass.), Cory BookerCory BookerSenate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Juan Williams: Biden's child tax credit is a game-changer Congress can make progress on fighting emissions with Zero Food Waste Act MORE (D-N.J.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandEquilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Clean power repurposes dirty power Senators hail 'historic changes' as competing proposals to tackle military sexual assault advance Overnight Defense: Military justice overhaul included in defense bill | Pentagon watchdog to review security of 'nuclear football' | Pentagon carries out first air strike in Somalia under Biden MORE (D-N.Y.), as well as South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegChasten Buttigieg: DC 'almost unaffordable' JD Vance takes aim at culture wars, childless politicians Poll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary 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 ClintonA path to climate, economic and environmental justice is finally on the horizon Polling misfired in 2020 — and that's a lesson for journalists and pundits Biden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe MORE lost the presidential election despite winning the national popular vote by just under 3 million votes. President TrumpDonald TrumpCuban embassy in Paris attacked by gasoline bombs Trump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios Trump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race 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 GoreAnything-but-bipartisan 1/6 commission will seal Pelosi's retirement. Here's why Kamala Harris's unprecedented challenge Gore warns of 'yawning gap' between long-term climate goals and near-term action plans MORE's 266.