Dem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived in sin' as way to perpetuate slavery

Dem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived in sin' as way to perpetuate slavery

Rep. Steve CohenStephen (Steve) Ira CohenMemphis congressman asks Tennessee, neighboring states to issue shelter-in-place orders Centrist Democrats insist Sanders would need delegate majority to win Clinton advises checking your voter registration during Trump's State of the Union MORE (D-Tenn.) said Tuesday the Electoral College was "conceived in sin" and originally designed to effectively perpetuate slavery. 

"The country is different than it was when the Constitution was drafted," Cohen said on CNN while issuing support for the push to move to a national popular vote for presidential elections.

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Cohen criticized the Electoral College's origins, saying, "When the Constitution was drafted, a lot of it had to do with slavery."

"The slave states wanted equal representation in the Senate because they wanted to keep slavery," he continued. "The slave states wanted to have an Electoral College to where the members that they had in Congress counted towards the vote of president, where the slaves counted as two-thirds, and in the popular vote they would count as zero. So the slaves states didn’t want a popular election because their slaves wouldn’t count towards voting and the slaves states would have less votes."

"This is all conceived in sin and in perpetuating slavery on the American people and on the African-American people directly," he added before invoking Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOn The Money: Trump officials struggle to get relief loans out the door | Dow soars more than 1600 points | Kudlow says officials 'looking at' offering coronavirus bonds Overnight Energy: Trump floats oil tariffs amid Russia-Saudi dispute | Warren knocks EPA over 'highly dangerous' enforcement rollback | 2019 sees big increase in methane levels in air Ex-CFPB director urges agency to 'act immediately' to help consumers during pandemic MORE's (D-Mass.) argument for bypassing the Electoral College in favor of a national popular vote. 

Warren said at a CNN town hall in Mississippi on Monday that a national popular vote system would lead presidential candidates to spend more time in non-swing states. 

"If it’s a popular vote, people would come to Tennessee to get those votes, in Memphis and other places, and it would be a much more Democratic system," Cohen, who introduced an amendment to abolish the Electoral College in January, said. "The American people need to take control of their government that’s being lost to entities that have eliminated the middle class."

The Electoral College has faced scrutiny in the years since President TrumpDonald John TrumpOvernight Health Care: US hits 10,000 coronavirus deaths | Trump touts 'friendly' talk with Biden on response | Trump dismisses report on hospital shortages as 'just wrong' | Cuomo sees possible signs of curve flattening in NY We need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen Barr tells prosecutors to consider coronavirus risk when determining bail: report MORE defeated Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWe need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen Poll shows Biden with 6-point edge on Trump in Florida Does Joe Biden really want to be president? MORE despite losing the popular vote.

Former President George W. Bush also won the Electoral College in 2000 after the disputed contest in Florida, even as he lost the popular vote to Democrat Al Gore.

Several Democratic-leaning states have entered a National Popular Vote Interstate Compact that seeks to bypass the Electoral College in favor of the national popular vote.  

The compact cannot go into effect until the coalition includes states that accumulate at least 270 electoral votes.

Warren became the first 2020 Democratic presidential contender to support leaving the Electoral College. 

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, another potential Democratic presidential candidate, has called for eliminating the Electoral College. Buttigieg, who launched a 2020 exploratory committee earlier this year, has said that the system is becoming "less and less democratic."