Long before he was even a candidate, Donald Trump argued that the Electoral College is “a disaster for a democracy.” After he won the presidency – thanks entirely to the Electoral College – he stuck to that belief, arguing during his transition that he’d “prefer” a system in which the popular-vote winner is elected.
“I’m not going to change my mind just because I won,” Trump said the week after his election.
As it turns out, he still maintains this position. During his bizarre Fox News interview yesterday, Trump was asked about pop-culture figures who’ve said nice things about him. The president responded by, oddly enough, shifting his focus to the Electoral College.
“Remember, we won the election, and we won it easily. You know, a lot of people say, ‘Oh, it was close.’ And by the way, they also like to always talk about [the] Electoral College. Well, it’s an election based on the Electoral College. I would rather have a popular election, but it’s a totally different campaign.
“It’s as though you’re running – if you’re a runner you’re practicing for the 100-yard dash as opposed to the one-mile. The Electoral College is different. I would rather have the popular vote, because it’s – to me, it’s much easier to win.”
He then shifted his focus again to complaining about news organizations of coverage of a congressional special election in Arizona. (Remember, the question he was responding to was about Kanye West.)
The exchange was rather odd, but there’s one key takeaway: when Trump says he’d find it “easier” to win the popular vote, that’s backwards.
I was talking to someone yesterday who reminded me that Americans born in the early 1970s have only voted in one election in which the Republican presidential ticket won the popular vote.
That may seem hard to believe, but it’s true: the Democratic ticket received more votes in 1992, 1996. 2000, 2008, 2012, and 2016. Yes, in two of those election cycles, the Republican took office anyway, but Dems have nevertheless won the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections.
I’m glad Trump is being consistent on this, but after losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots in 2016, what makes him think it’d be “easier” to win the popular vote in 2000?