After Clinton Wins Popular Vote, Nixing Electoral College Proposed

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A proposal to abolish the Electoral College is being debated after losing Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won the popular vote on Election Day, but lost to her Republican rival, Donald Trump.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) submitted the bill in Congress, although the measure is not likely to pass in what’s left of the lame duck session before she begins her retirement at the end of the year. The emboldened Republican congressional majority is also not expected to take up the constitutional amendment next year or beyond, but the proposal has become a hot topic nonetheless.

"When all the ballots are counted, Hillary Clinton will have won the popular vote by a margin that could exceed two million votes, and she is on track to have received more votes than any other presidential candidate in history except Barack Obama,” Boxer said. “This is the only office in the land where you can get more votes and still lose the presidency. The Electoral College is an outdated, undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society, and it needs to change immediately."

Tuesday marked the second time in 16 years that the popular vote winner lost the electoral vote, and therefore the presidency. Former Vice President Al Gore suffered the same fate in 2000 when he lost to George W. Bush. It only happened three other times in American history, all in the 19th century: when John Quincy Adams beat Andrew Jackson in 1824, when Samuel Tilden lost to Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876 and when Benjamin Harrison bested Grover Cleveland in 1888.

Political experts note that the Electoral College—which allocates designated electors to states depending upon their population size—is an antiquated system originally established to give southern states more sway in presidential elections in the slavery era before blacks won the right to vote.

Clinton backed the idea of scrapping the Electoral College after Gore’s loss. And when it appeared that Mitt Romney was going to win the popular vote but lose the presidency to Barack Obama in 2012, Trump called for the end of the Electoral College as well, although Obama went on to win both. And on his appearance on 60 Minutes on Sunday, the president-elect also said he favored electing presidents based on the popular vote, but by Monday morning, with Clinton's popular vote lead increasing, he reversed course and tweeted that the Electoral College is “genius.”

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