Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen, who is often in the vanguard of controversial or transformative efforts, has done it again, introducing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would, in the words of a press release from his office, “eliminate the Electoral College and provide for the direct election of the President and Vice President of the United States.”
The action by Cohen, who represents Tennessee’s 9th congressional district (Memphis) and is the ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, takes place amid increasing dissatisfaction — especially among Democrats — with the workings of the Electoral College, designed by the Founding Fathers at a time of much more primitive means of communication and transportation.
A case in point: The presidential election of 2016 presents an anomaly whereby the Electoral College loser, Democrat Hillary Clinton, actually out-polled victorious Republican Donald Trump by at least 2 ½ million votes.
Below is the Cohen press release announcing the Congressman’s action:
Ranking Member Cohen Introduces Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to Eliminate the Electoral College
[WASHINGTON, DC] – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, today introduced an amendment to the United States Constitution that would eliminate the Electoral College and provide for the direct election of the President and Vice President of the United States.
“For the second time in recent memory, and for the fifth time in our history, we have a President-elect, who lost the popular vote,” said Congressman Cohen. “The Electoral College is an antiquated system that was established to prevent citizens from directly electing our nation’s President, yet that notion is antithetical to our understanding of democracy. In our country, ‘We the People’ are supposed to determine who represents us in elective office.”
Congressman Cohen continued, “When the Founders established the electoral college, it was in an era of limited nationwide communication. It was premised on a theory that citizens would have a better chance of knowing about electors from their home states than about presidential candidates from out-of-state. The development of mass media and the internet, however, has made information about presidential candidates easily accessible to U.S. citizens across the country and around the world. Today, citizens have a far better chance of knowing about out-of-state presidential candidates than knowing about presidential electors from their home states. Most people don’t even know who their electors are.
Congressman Cohen concluded, “Since our nation first adopted our Constitution, we have amended it repeatedly to expand the opportunity for citizens to directly elect our leaders. We have Constitutional amendments that guarantee the right of all citizens to vote regardless of race, gender and age for citizens who are 18 years of age and older, as well as an amendment to empower citizens to directly elect U.S. Senators. We need to also empower citizens to directly elect the President and the Vice President of the United States. It is time for us to fix the anachronistic process of the Electoral College and make our Constitution better reflect the ‘more perfect Union’ to which it aspires.”