Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has voiced support for abolishing the U.S. Electoral College, the mechanism that awarded victory to President Donald Trump on Nov. 8 2016. Clinton, who lost the 2016 presidential election despite winning the popular vote, has joined a growing chorus of Democrats who view the Electoral College as fundamentally undemocratic.
On Sept. 13, Clinton confirmed that she favored doing away with the electoral system while promoting her new memoir, "What Happened."
"I think it needs to be eliminated," Clinton told CNN. "I'd like to see us move beyond it, yes."
Clinton added that she believes unique factors contributed to her election loss. The former Democratic nominee said former FBI Director James Comey's October letter, the Russian government's influence campaign, and voter apathy "became a perfect storm."
"I lost a presidential campaign that I thought I was going to win," Clinton said. "It was devastating. But I have so many blessings in my life, starting with my husband and the life we've built together."
In November 2016, Clinton won roughly 65.8 million raw votes during the election, while Trump captured roughly 63 million. While nearly 3 million more Americans cast a ballot for Clinton, Trump secured the Oval Office by capturing 304 electoral votes, while Clinton only won 227 electoral votes, according to the Pew Research Center.
Clinton joined the small pool of presidential candidates who received more votes but lost their election due to the Electoral College: Andrew Jackson in 1824, Samuel Tilden in 1876, Grover Cleveland in 1888 and Al Gore in 2000, according to The New Yorker.
It was after Gore's loss that Clinton first called for the elimination of the Electoral College, when she was a New York senator. In November 2000, Clinton told reporters that the electoral system was outdated.
"We are a very different country than we were 200 years ago," Clinton said at the time, according to CBS News. "I believe strongly that in a democracy, we should respect the will of the people and to me, that means it's time to do away with the Electoral College and move to the popular election of our president ... I hope no one is ever in doubt again about whether their vote counts."
Following the latest election, a growing number of Democrats have renewed their criticism of the Electoral College. On Aug. 28, filmmaker and liberal activist Michael Moore predicted that Trump would still win re-election even with less support in 2020 if the electoral system remained intact.
"Here's the good news: we don't have to convince a single Trump voter to vote differently because we already have the majority," Moore told Fast Company, adding that he supports awarding the presidency to whoever captures the popular vote.
Critics of the Electoral College argue that it is undemocratic and encourages candidates to focus their campaigns on a handful of swing states. Former Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis, who supports abolishing the Electoral College, noted that all other U.S. offices are decided by a popular vote.
"We have 514,000 elected officials in this country," Anuzis told Politico. "And all of them are elected by who gets the most votes. Except one."
Meanwhile, defenders of the Electoral College retort that switching to a popular vote would shift the scales in favor of densely-populated areas. which are more likely to support Democrats.
"If we went to a popular vote, we would never see a presidential candidates in place like Colorado," Republican State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg of Colorado said. "We have a limited number of voters, and it would decrease our influence."