Obama: It Is Now The Electors' Job To Determine My Successor; Electoral College A "Vestige"

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At his year-end press conference, President Obama is asked about the electoral college and the electors who will cast their vote for the candidate that won their state.

"So with respect to the electors, I’m not going to wade into that issue because, again, it’s the American people’s job, and now the electors' job to decide my successor," he said.

However, the president then called the electoral college a "vestige" of the past, a "carryover." The president said "sometimes" the political system envisioned by the Founders are "going to disadvantage Democrats."

"Long-term with a respect to the Electoral College -- the Electoral College is a vestige, it’s a carryover from an earlier vision of how our federal government was going to work that put a lot of premium on states, and it used to be that the Senate was not elected directly, it was through state legislatures. And it’s the same type of thinking that gives Wyoming two senators with about half a million people, and California with 33 million get the same two," President Obama said Friday.

"So there are some structures in our political system, as envisioned by the Founders, that sometimes are going to disadvantage Democrats," he said. "But the truth of the matter is, is that, if we have a strong message, if we’re speaking to what the American people care about, typically the popular vote and the Electoral College vote will align."

From the December 17 press conference:

ISAAC DOVERE, POLITICO: What about long-term about the Electoral College?

THE PRESIDENT: Long-term with a respect to the Electoral College -- the Electoral College is a vestige, it’s a carryover from an earlier vision of how our federal government was going to work that put a lot of premium on states, and it used to be that the Senate was not elected directly, it was through state legislatures. And it’s the same type of thinking that gives Wyoming two senators with about half a million people, and California with 33 million get the same two.

So there are some structures in our political system, as envisioned by the Founders, that sometimes are going to disadvantage Democrats. But the truth of the matter is, is that, if we have a strong message, if we’re speaking to what the American people care about, typically the popular vote and the Electoral College vote will align.

And I guess part of my overall message here as I leave for the holidays is that if we look for one explanation or one silver bullet or one easy fix for our politics, then we’re probably going to be disappointed. There are just a lot of factors in what’s happened not just over the last few months, but over the last decade that has made both politics and governance more challenging. And I think everybody has raised legitimate questions and legitimate concerns.

I do hope that we all just take some time, take a breath -- this is certainly what I’m going to advise Democrats -- to just reflect a little bit more about how can we get to a place where people are focused on working together based on at least some common set of facts. How can we have a conversation about policy that doesn’t demonize each other. How can we channel what I think is the basic decency and goodness of the American people so it reflects itself in our politics, as opposed to it being so polarized and so nasty that, in some cases, you have voters and elected officials who have more confidence and faith in a foreign adversary than they have in their neighbors.

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