South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) continued his presidential campaign in Iowa with an outdoor town hall on the grounds of Roosevelt High School in Des Moines last night. After his opening remarks he addressed written questions from the audience which were randomly selected from a large glass jar.
A question and answer on the Electoral College:
Question: …the talk of eliminating the Electoral College seems shortsighted and fails to recognize the Great Compromise which our country was founded upon.
Pete Buttigieg (D): [….] So, look, call me simple-minded, I just think in a Democracy the best way to elect our leaders is to count up all the votes and give it to the person who got the most. [cheers]
Now, I know there’s the Great Compromise, but let’s admit that was a compromise with slavery.
And to the extent that there is a defense of the Electoral College it used to be that it helped small states. Right? Only today it doesn’t help small states. It just helps some states. Think about it. A small state like Rhode Island doesn’t count ’cause it’s too liberal. A mall state like Wyoming doesn’t count ’cause it’s too conservative. A medium state like Indiana doesn’t count because we’re too conservative. But a big state like California ’cause it’s too liberal.
And here’s the other thing, the other argument that I used to find convincing, to be honest, was that candidates wouldn’t visit certain areas if it weren’t for the Electoral College. Although, again, look at all the areas that are being cut our right now.
But here’s the other thing, when you’re electing the Governor of Iowa, right, you don’t have counties vote. People vote. And then the person who gets the most votes gets to be the governor. And I’m pretty sure that anybody who’s ever run for Governor of Iowa has gone to the big cities and they’ve gone to the small towns. Because it’s the right thing to do and it’s how you reach them.
So, I believe that’s, it, after all, it’s how we run every other election we do in this country.
And the other thing I would mention is, if you really want to think about it, this is what I’m getting at when I talk about how politics is personal. Think about how your life is different because of the Electoral College. How would your life personally change because the Electoral College exists instead of a national popular vote. And there are two big ways that your life is different.
Your life is different because we have President Bush instead of President Gore, which means among other things, that the Iraq War affected you in any way. Uh, then your life changed because of the Electoral College. And your life is different, if you think that your life is different in any way because Donald Trump is President of the United States. Those are the biggest things that happened in your life because of the Electoral College.
And I just think that overruling the American people isn’t Democratic. I think we can honor the concerns of people in rural areas, in urban, big states and small, different kinds of counties and communities. But do it in a way where everybody’s vote counts exactly the same.
I just think that’s the fairest way to run an election. [cheers][applause]
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) – Town Hall – Des Moines, Iowa – October 12, 2019 (October 13, 2017)