Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, is known for her direct and unflinching calling out of her political views across the spectrum of politics. Last week she said the Electoral College is a “bogus, scam” and that Native American reservations should be given a vote.
Cortez called out the Electoral College in an Instagram story post that was picked up internationally by media organizations. The Electoral College awards presidential candidates votes by state instead of via the popular vote. There have been five presidential contenders who won the election even though they did not receive the majority of votes.
President Donald Trump is the most current example. He won the presidency against Hillary Clinton with 304 electoral votes to Clinton’s 227 votes. Yet she earned the most popular votes of 65,853,514 to Trump's 62,984,828 votes, approximately 2.87 million fewer than Clinton.
After her initial Instagram story post, Cortez then stated she would not back down. Now This News grabbed her response video and added transcriptions in which Cortez stated the following in part:
“I'm not taking it back. It's bogus. It's a scam. I talked about how bogus the Electoral College is and Fox News got really mad. It's not even about rural voters vs. urban voters … If you cared about the voices of rural voters you would allow all of the rural voters to come together and have their votes counted,” said Cortez.
Cortez also explained that Republican voters in blue states have votes that are essentially erased, but in a popular vote, “everyone’s vote would count equally.”
“Why don't we give Indian reservations an electoral vote? Why don't we give Puerto Rico and US territories — hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens, If not millions of U.S. citizens have zero representation,” she said.
Indian Country Today found that the American Indian and Alaska voters are underrepresented across the political system.
“The mechanics of the Electoral College and the idea of counting every vote ought to be front and center in every election. The United States version of democracy is structured to make sure that we are not equal,” wrote Mark Trahant in What kind of democracy? One where Native votes are counted.
“But it’s not just the Electoral College. It’s the Senate. It’s the districting system in the U.S. House of Representatives (and for that matter, in most state legislatures). The fact, yes, the fact is the structure of this democracy does not ensure a reflection of the country. So every vote does not count the same.”
CNN’s opinion writer Robert M. Alexander said in a recent op-ed, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a point about the Electoral College with the following statement:
‘Winning the electoral vote but losing the popular vote can complicate claims to legitimacy. Legitimacy is a key factor in any government. The belief that one has a right to their position is a deeply rooted feature for political stability. While it is established that the Electoral College is the process we use to determine who wins the presidency, how a president wins in the Electoral College matters in what they are able to accomplish.”
Then, as Trahant wrote, “President Donald J. Trump was a longtime critic of the Electoral College until he won because of that very structural imbalance.”