Bernie Sanders' Latest Criticism Of The Electoral College Is Part Of His Bigger Plan For The Democratic Party
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders may not have won the Democratic Party's nomination for president, but he's not done with politics. During an interview with CNN's Dana Bash on Nov. 27, Sanders called for an evaluation of the Electoral College and confirmed that, regardless of how Election Day turned out, he has big plans for Democrats going forward.
“We have one candidate who got two million more votes than the other candidate but she is not going to be sworn in as president, and I think on the surface that’s a little bit weird," Sanders told Bash on Nov. 27. As you very likely know, some states, like California and New York, traditionally vote Democratic in elections, and other states such as Texas and Alaska traditionally vote Republican. Unfortunately for the residents who vote contrary to their state's majority, their votes for president don't make as much of a difference as they would in the handful of "battleground" or "swing states," such as Florida. Sanders called it "unfair" that the other thirty-plus predictable states don't get to participate as much in the political process.
Sanders isn't alone in voicing his concerns about the Electoral College. California Sen. Barbara Boxer has introduced a bill to abolish the Electoral College in favor of electing the president by popular vote. "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 "The Electoral College is an outdated, undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society, and it needs to change immediately.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."
The Vermont senator also had some words for President-elect Donald Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway. "Look who 'can't accept the election results'" Conway tweeted in response to news about Hillary Clinton supporters calling for vote recounts. When asked by Bash what he thought of that, Sanders said, "Nobody cares!" He went on to point out that the Green Party recount effort, led by Jill Stein, is a "legal right."
But Sanders has a lot more change in mind than the already daunting task of reforming America's electoral system. On Nov. 22 he published a piece on Medium titled "How Democrats Go Forward," asserting that the Democratic Party, which Sanders called the "party of diversity," needs to expand that diversity. Sanders echoed this claim on CNN, pointing out that he wants to take the Democratic Party down a grassroots path.
This plan could start with his backing of Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minnesota congressman, for DNC chair. "What we need to do right now is to become a grassroots party, which is what Keith Ellison believes, open the doors to working people, open the doors to young people, less emphasis on raising large sums of money, more emphasis on bringing new blood into the political party," Sanders said. We'll have to wait and see what other changes Sanders, a longtime Independent, proposes for the Democratic Party.