California Sen. Barbara Boxer filed a bill on Tuesday that would eliminate the Electoral College, a statement of legislative protest against the election of Donald Trump, who lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Boxer, a Democrat who will retire at the end of this term, was a vocal supporter of Clinton throughout the 2016 election.
Trump won 306 of the 583 electoral votes awarded in American presidential elections, far beyond the 270 needed to secure the presidency. Clinton, however, won the popular vote by just over 1 million votes, according to the most detailed current tally.
As a result, opponents of Trump have signed petitions in an attempt to abolish the Electoral College and taken to the streets in protest in an effort to persuade so-called “faithless electors” to cast their electoral votes for Clinton rather than Trump, which would be illegal in more than half the U.S. states.
Trump, who once called the Electoral College a “disaster for democracy,” drastically changed his opinion this week, tweeting that it is “actually genius” because it requires campaigns to focus on states that may not have the largest populations—a common assessment among those who favor the Electoral College system over counting the popular vote.
If the election were based on total popular vote I would have campaigned in N.Y. Florida and California and won even bigger and more easily— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2016
The Electoral College is actually genius in that it brings all states, including the smaller ones, into play. Campaigning is much different!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2016
Boxer’s legislation would amend the Constitution to eliminate the requirement for an Electoral College. If passed, it must be ratified by 75 percent of states within seven years.
The legislation is almost certainly doomed, however, as both house of Congress is held by Republican lawmakers. Of course, nobody thought Trump would win the presidency, either, so perhaps anything is possible.