President Donald Trump has a bright idea to get rid of the Electoral College, the body that effectively won him the 2016 election.
Trump said he'd rather see the popular vote decide presidential elections since he believes it's "much easier to win," apparently forgetting that he lost the popular vote to opponent Hillary Clinton by some 2.9 million votes.
“Remember, we won the election," Trump said in an interview on Thursday with Fox & Friends. "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 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.
“The Electoral College is different," he continued. "I would rather have the popular vote because it's, to me, it's much easier to win the popular vote."
It's not the first time Trump has insisted that he would have simply run a different campaign if the election were based solely on the will of voters. In the immediate aftermath of the 2016 vote, Trump argued that he could have sailed to victory just as easily by targeting more populous states.
"If the election were based on total popular vote I would have campaigned in N.Y., Florida and California and won even bigger and more easily," Trump tweeted at the time. "The Electoral College is actually genius in that it brings all states, including the smaller ones, into play. Campaigning is much different!"
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">If the election were based on total popular vote I would have campaigned in N.Y. Florida and California and won even bigger and more easily</p>— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/798519600413601792?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 15, 2016</a></blockquote>
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Weeks later, he tweeted that he would have won the 2016 popular vote even if "you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally." Trump was referring to a repeated and wholly unsubstantiated claim he has made that three to five million people voted illegally in the last election.
In January, just after his inauguration, Trump told congressional leaders he wanted to abolish the Electoral College but was reportedly deterred by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who warned the president of the potential headache of conducting a national recount.
There have been at least 700 attempts to reform or abolish the Electoral College system since its inception, albeit perhaps for reasons different from the president's.
Calls to overthrow the system—which grants a group of electors chosen by each party the ability to decide presidential outcomes—have grown loudest in the wake of elections where the candidate who wins the popular vote fails to clinch the presidency, like in the 2000 George W. Bush-Al Gore election, or 2016's presidential contest.
After Trump's victory, California Senator Barbara Boxer proposed legislation to get rid of the system.
"This is the only office in the land where you can get more votes and still lose the presidency," Boxer said in a statement at the time. "The Electoral College is an outdated, undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society, and it needs to change immediately."
Trump, apparently, agrees.
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