On Tuesday, California Senator Barbara Boxer filed legislation that would get rid of the Electoral College. It’s probably too late to change the results of the 2016 presidential election, in which Donald Trump beat Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College but lost heavily in the popular vote. It has been a turbulent year with Trump’s surprising campaign and victory, but this bill could make a serious change to the dated Electoral College, which has been denounced by many Americans.
The Founding Fathers originally created the Electoral College with slavery in mind … something that has been abolished since 1865. It only makes sense that the government reconsiders how the president is elected without paying mind to a system that was about literal ownership over another person. However, Boxer will surely face an uphill battle to get the bill passed. The amendment would only take effect if it is first passed by the U.S. Congress and then ratified by three-fourths of the states.
As of Tuesday night, Clinton’s lead over Trump increased to over 1 million in the popular vote, according to the Cook Political Report. That margin could increase to over 2 million by the time all the votes are counted. Clinton is on track to have received more votes than any other presidential candidate in history except Barack Obama.
“This is the only office in the land where you can get more votes and still lose the presidency,” Boxer said in a statement. “The Electoral College is an outdated, undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society, and it needs to change immediately. Every American should be guaranteed that their vote counts.”
While Trump has obviously benefited from the Electoral College this year, back in 2012 he had some thoughts about the system.
Many people are also hoping that faithless electors could keep Trump out of the White House. A Change.org petition urging them to vote for Clinton instead of Trump has over 4.3 million signatures as of Tuesday night.
This year is the fourth time in American history that a presidential nominee has lost the Electoral College but won the popular vote. The last time it happened was in 2000, when Al Gore lost to George W. Bush.
There will undoubtedly be both support and opposition for Boxer’s bill. And while it may not pass, it’s a first step toward government officials publicly calling out the country’s flawed systems and inciting others to fight for change.