Soon-to-be-replaced President Barack Obama called the Electoral College an outdated “vision” from “how our federal government was going to work.”
Being a former constitutional lawyer, his views on the matter are a bit perplexing. On Friday, during a press conference at the White House, Obama described the Electoral College as one of the “structures in our political system as envisioned by the Founders that sometimes are going to disadvantage Democrats.”
“It used to be that the Senate was not elected directly, it was through state legislators,” he added. “It’s the same type of thinking that gives Wyoming two senators with about 500,000 people and California with 33 million gets the same two.”
Obama didn’t make any mention of the much more important factor for the use of the Electoral College, being the “winner take all” system of state votes in order to prevent one or two states from deciding every election based on their population alone. In fact, Hillary Clinton would not have won the popular vote if California weren’t a state. But Donald Trump would still have won if he’d lost Pennsylvania.
Obama went on: “The truth of the matter is that if we have a strong message, if we’re speaking to what the American people care about, typically the popular vote and the electoral college vote will align.”
When asked about whether Republican electors should vote against the voters’ decision, Obama said it wasn’t his place to “decide my successor.”
“With respect to the electors, I’m not going to weigh in on that issue,” Obama said. “Again, it’s the American people’s job, and now the electors’ job to decide my successor. It is not my job to decide my successor.”