Former Vice President Al Gore gave astrong endorsement on Thursday for abandoning the Electoral College and returning to a presidential election system more heavily determined by the popular vote.
In a discussion during Current TV's coverage of the Republican National Convention, Gore and his co-panelists argued that Electoral College system had a corrosive effect on the power of votes and presidential leadership. For voters, casting ballots in a state that is predictably red or blue feels pointless in determining presidential elections. For leaders, visiting a state that is already in the bag for Republicans or Democrats seems unnecessary.
"I really do now think that it's time to change that," Gore said. "It's always tough to amend the Constitution and risky to do so, but there is a very interesting movement under way that takes it state by state, that may really have a chance of succeeding. I hope it does."
Gore and former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) proceeded to bring up a proposal,floated by a California professor, that would change the electoral vote allocation and partially tie it to congressional district outcomes.
Before anyone writes off Gore's proposal as a case of sour grapes, however, the former vice president did say that he continued to support the Electoral College, even after it cost him the presidency in 2000, when he won the popular vote but lost the election after a highly contentious vote count gave Florida to former President George W. Bush.
"The logic is it knits the country together, prevents regional conflicts, and it goes back through our history to some legitimate concerns," Gore said. "But since, I've given a lot of thought to it and I've seen how these states are just written off and ignored. And people are effectively disenfranchised in the presidential race."