Jan. 6 Committee Member Suggests Ending Electoral College

A member of the January 6 committee investigating the attack on Congress by a mob of loyalists to former President Donald Trump believes that more statutes are needed to prevent future attacks — and that there should be an examination of whether the Electoral College needs to be abolished.

On MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes” Friday evening, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) said that lawmakers should make changes to the criminal code in order to “account for now the possibility of presidents just taking a headlong rush at seizing the presidency.”

Statutes have been in place for some time to prosecute persons who seek to obstruct or interfere withRaskin noted that peaceful transitions of power to the presidency are possible. Additional laws may be required to prevent attempts to usurp an electoral result.

Raskin also spoke out in favor of changing the presidential selection process.

“We have to look at the way that the electoral system itself is vulnerable to strategic bad faith actors like Donald Trump,” Raskin said, adding that “the Electoral College is an accident waiting to happen.”

“We have to deal with that at some point in American history,” Raskin said. “Why not now?”

The Electoral College played a part in the Trump campaign team’s scheme to disrupt the 2020 election results. Trump sought to have his then-Vice President Mike Pence accept fake electoral votes from states he lost to President Joe Biden as legitimate, or at least as equal to real electors’ votes. Pence was to then send the matter to Congress, where Republicans, who controlled a majority of the state delegations, would award Trump a second term.

Pence refused the offer to accept it. noting he didn’t have the constitutional authority to accept or reject votes. As a result, Trump denounced Pence in his incendiary “Stop the Steal” speech on the day the election was set to be certified, prompting his loyalists to call for Pence to be hanged as they attacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Although the January 6 committee was in agreement on most issues there were differences of opinion about the Electoral College. Raskin, one of the members, believes that Trump has exposed flaws during the presidential selection process. The best way to fix these flaws is to get rid of the archaic systemTransition to a popular vote method.

Others, like Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming), vice chair of the committee, are worried that such an endorsement could delegitimize the committee’s work. Cheney may be worried that the elimination of the Electoral College might reduce the electoral power states with small populations such as hers.

Americans are generally consistentSupporting an end of the Electoral College. Drops in this support are common after elections inwhich Republicans won the Electoral College, but lost popular vote. This indicates that GOP voters changed their views based on the political benefits of the system. New polling indicates that support for abolishing Electoral College has reached its highest point since the beginning of the century.

According to a Pew Research Center poll published in August, 63 percent of voters think it’s time to select the president with a simple popular vote. Only 35 percent believe that the current system should be retained.