Liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, one of the high court’s staunchest Leftists, downplayed Democrat-led efforts in the states to abolish the Electoral College, calling it “largely a dream.”
“It’s largely a dream because our Constitution is … hard to amend,” Ginsburg said while speaking at the University of Chicago on Monday, The Chicago Sun-Times reported. “I know that from experience.”
The 86-year-old justice has, nevertheless, expressed support in the past for moving to a system where presidents are elected by popular vote — a pure democracy that our founders considered and expressly rejected, establishing the Electoral College instead as a compromise to give smaller states a voice.
“There are some things I would like to change. One is the Electoral College,” Ginsburg said in 2017, according to The Hill. “But that would require a constitutional amendment, and amending our Constitution is powerfully hard to do.”
The founders also purposely made amending the Constitution difficult so that the document could not be altered willy-nilly, without serious debate and thought.
Democrats and Left-wing groups have increasingly attacked the Electoral College since President Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Clinton won the popular vote, thanks to California, but the president handily won the Electoral College vote.
“If you take California out of the popular vote equation, then Trump wins the rest of the country by 1.4 million votes. And if California voted like every other Democratic state — where Clinton averaged 53.5% wins — Clinton and Trump end up in a virtual popular vote tie,” Investors Business Daily reported in 2016.
Former President George W. Bush also defeated former Vice President Al Gore in 2000 via the Electoral College after losing the popular vote, but by a much narrower margin.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has called the Electoral College system a “scam,” and a majority of Democratic presidential candidates are open to eliminating it, The Washington Times reported.
On the Republican side, Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, tweeted last month that the Electoral College helps maintain a representative democracy, which was the founders’ purpose for establishing it.
“We live in a republic, which means 51% of the population doesn’t get to boss around the other 49%,” he wrote.
Abolishing the electoral college means that politicians will only campaign in (and listen to) urban areas. That is not a representative democracy.
We live in a republic, which means 51% of the population doesn’t get to boss around the other 49%. https://t.co/eZilBsVhyP
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) August 24, 2019
Left-wing groups founded a movement called the National Popular Vote Compact, which seeks to essentially bypass the Electoral College. Several Democrat-run states have already passed legislation that would award all of their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who garnered the most popular votes nationwide, even if the voters in those states chose the opposing candidate.
Legal experts have said opponents of NPVC won’t be able to challenge it until it actually takes effect.
Drafted in 2006, the National Popular Vote Compact “would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia,” according to the group’s website.
“The bill ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter in every presidential election. The National Popular Vote bill preserves the Electoral College and state control of elections.”
The objective now is to convince enough states with a total of 270 electoral votes — the number needed to win the presidency — to sign onto the compact. At present, states with only about 190 electoral votes have enacted the compact.
But experts believe if it passes it will eventually be found unconstitutional by federal courts or the Supreme Court.