A strategist who often works with Republican Party candidates, including with Mitt Romney during his run for president in 2012, recently penned an opinion piece suggesting the GOP should join Democrats in calling for the end of the Electoral College.
Stuart Stevens expressed his views this week in an op-ed that appeared in USA Today, pointing out that there has been only one election since 1988 in which the Republican candidate for president won the popular vote — in 2004, during George W. Bush’s re-election campaign.
Stevens’s calls for ending the Electoral College don’t come because he’s switching parties or otherwise wants to see the Republican Party fail — rather, he wants to see it thrive, especially in light of changing demographics across the United States. But GOP candidates won’t change as long as the Electoral College exists.
Right now, Stevens noted, it’s possible for candidates to win the election, through the Electoral College, “without substantial nonwhite support.” But that won’t always be the case, and it won’t help Republicans win legislative races either. What it will do is make the party stagnant.
“As long as the Republican Party believes it can win as an overwhelmingly white party, it will never feel the political pressure to change…[but] without an Electoral College, the Republican Party would be forced to grow or die,” Stevens said.
The Electoral College should be abolished so GOP can no longer win by being party of white people, says ex-Romney strategist https://t.co/Qvoo8m5z0a
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) July 9, 2019
Stevens also rejects the notion that ending the Electoral College might result in candidates only courting big cities across the country. “The benefits of campaign appearances are far more about driving a message than the acquisition of votes in that particular market,” Stevens wrote, adding that “the idea that suddenly, presidential nominees would run campaigns like mayoral races in big cities is a fanciful excuse to justify an outdated system of electing a president.”
Research into abolishing the Electoral College, as previously reported by HillReporter.com, demonstrates Stevens may be right in his assessment. Campaigning in just the largest cities would hurt politicians in big ways: the 500 most populated cities in the country only account for about a third of the U.S. population, for example.
In short, by ending the Electoral College, Stevens argues it will force Republicans to become more competitive, fighting for voters it wouldn’t ordinarily try to vie for. “Let both parties compete for votes across the nation and stop disenfranchising voters by geography. The winner should win,” Stuart concluded.
Long-term polling shows that most Americans have supported the idea of ending the Electoral College for many years now. Democrats are typically consistent, as are independents, on the issue. Republicans, on the other hand, tend to change their minds, according to polling from Gallup — especially after elections in 2000 and 2016, where the Electoral College helped them win the presidency despite not winning the popular vote.
Among the more prominent Republicans who have held inconsistent views is the current president himself. Donald Trump, in 2012 when Mitt Romney was running for president, tweeted out that the Electoral College was “a disaster for democracy.”
The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2012
Trump made that comment early in the evening on election night 2012, when it looked like Romney had a popular vote win over former President Barack Obama, but the election had been called for the latter. Later in the evening, popular vote totals showed Obama had also won that number as well.
Trump is now against changes to the Electoral College, having won the election in 2016 with its help.