Political figures from the American heartland are torching Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., after the coastal congresswoman posted an Instagram video where she claimed the Electoral College was a racist “scam” that needs to go.
The post featured her driving on an empty highway in a desert landscape and joking about how "many votes" there are out there.
Eliminating the current system in favor of electing the president via the national popular vote would shift power to more heavily populated states, such as Ocasio-Cortez’s home of New York. Midwestern states like Michigan and Wisconsin, now heavily sought-after swing states, and smaller ones like Iowa would have less of an impact should this happen, as Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst pointed out.
“Actually @AOC, eliminating the Electoral College would silence our voices here in Iowa and in many other states across the country,” the Republican senator tweeted, adding, “This is just more evidence of how out of touch the Democrats have become.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said that Ocasio-Cortez's statements were evidence that she never took a civics class, asserting the "Electoral College is good for Dems and GOP."
Republican National Committee spokesperson Elizabeth Harrington also took Ocasio-Cortez to task for believing that “it’s a ‘scam’ to allow anyone but coastal elites” to determine how elections are decided.
The cause of eliminating the Electoral College has picked up support among some 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, in the wake of President Trump beating Hillary Clinton in 2016 despite losing the popular vote.
Ocasio-Cortez claimed in her Instagram post that, “Due to severe racial disparities in certain states, the Electoral College effectively weighs white voters over voters of color, as opposed to a 'one person, one vote' system where all our votes are counted equally.”
Fox News’ Dana Perino fired back Wednesday night on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” calling Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks “bad for civics education,” because of the impact she has on social media.
“Think of how many people follow her on Instagram and are going to think, 'OK, the Electoral College is racist' -- because she's... driving through flyover country, then she thinks that it's OK to say that these people don't matter -- the people that live here don't matter,” Perino said, reminding viewers that the Electoral College was not considered racist when it yielded two victories for President Barack Obama.
Proponents of the Electoral College, like Ernst, fear that if the status quo is changed, presidential candidates would overlook smaller states in favor of larger or more densely populated ones.