Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) isn’t even the frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, but she’s already looking forward to running for her second term as president — a term, she hopes, she’ll win by popular vote after she eliminates the Electoral College.
Warren, like her opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, is desperately trying to salvage her position in Iowa by embarking on a statewide “listening tour” where she’ll speak to and with voters who are normally ignored — if not outright despised — by the Democratic party between presidential elections.
At a stop in Waterloo, Iowa, Warren waxed poetic about her first term in office as President Warren, and suggested that among her top priorities is a rewrite of the Constitution, eliminating the Electoral College and replacing it with a popular vote.
When asked about the Electoral College, Warren said she wanted to “get rid of it” — a statement she’s made before — and then added that her “goal” “is to get elected and then be the last American president to be elected by the Electoral College.”
“I want the second term to be that I got elected by direct vote,” she went on. “I’m ready.”
She was so proud of the exchange that she had her staff put it out as an ad on Twitter.
“My goal is to get elected—but I plan to be the last American president to be elected by the Electoral College. I want my second term to be elected by direct vote,” Warren announced on the social media site.
My goal is to get elected—but I plan to be the last American president to be elected by the Electoral College. I want my second term to be elected by direct vote. pic.twitter.com/a2Lj2a9F0F
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) December 2, 2019
As with most of Warren’s presidential “plans,” there are serious problems with abolishing and replacing the Electoral College. Although it may not cost every American taxpayer an arm and a leg like her “Medicare for All” plan or her plan to wipe out student loan debt, changing a process dictated by the Constitution directly comes with its own hurdles.
The Electoral College is spelled out in the Constitution, so the Constitution would need to be amended, a process that requires the assent of two-thirds of the U.S. House of Representatives, two-thirds of the Senate, and three-fourths of the states. Although that’s happened before (and with some regularity) it hasn’t happened in decades, and with an increasingly polarized electorate — particularly one that feels the change is only “necessary” because Hillary Clinton lost the Electoral but not the popular vote — it’s unlikely to happen any time soon.
The states themselves could elimate the Electoral College by agreeing not to send electors — and some did just that in the wake of the 2016 presidential election — but, and perhaps this is the most deeply ironic problem for Warren, states like Iowa, who don’t have the kind of population that would make them relevant in a national popular vote, probably wouldn’t agree to a system that wipes out their voice in elections.
To get there, of course, Warren faces the biggest hurdle of all: she has to get elected. And that looks less and less likely as time goes on. Warren’s campaign is now in a free-fall, losing more than 10% of its national support over the last several weeks, ever since Warren was forced to explain precisely how she plans to pay for the extensive programs in her platform.