Democrat Rep. Jaime Raskin appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday with a strong condemnation of the United States' Electoral College system. He called it a ‘danger to the American people’ and argued that it has given the country five presidents who won despite losing the popular vote in recent years.
The interview came shortly after both chambers of Congress passed the $1.7 trillion Omnibus bill, which included an Electoral Count Reform Act intended to address this very issue. The act makes clear that the Vice President's role in counting electoral votes is merely ceremonial, as well as setting a higher threshold for members of Congress to object should they disagree with electoral results. It also makes it harder for state legislatures or governors to ignore popular votes when certifying Electoral College votes.
Raskin went further during his interview, claiming that the US Constitution itself is a danger to democracy and American people because it enables presidents to be elected despite not receiving majority votes from citizens across the country. He argued that elections should more closely resemble other ones within the United States, such as those for mayors, senators, representatives and governors: "We should elect the president the way we elect everybody else...whoever gets the most votes wins."
The problem with this proposal is that it would essentially disenfranchise citizens in states outside of large population centers, like California and New York. Should all votes count equally, these states would hold undue influence over presidential elections due to their much larger populations relative to other states; thus tipping balances in favor of candidates with more liberal policies who tend have higher approval ratings within greater metropolitan areas.
Therefore, although Jaime Raskin's sentiment about ensuring each U.S citizen has an equal say in how their leaders are chosen is certainly noble and admirable, his solution isn't likely to bring about much change given its potential consequences for smaller towns and rural regions throughout America, something all Americans should strive to keep in mind when considering alternatives to our current election system.