Don Lemon suggests eliminating electoral college amid Supreme Court battle

The CNN host called this 'a crucial moment for this country. But what this president wants is to distract you,' he said.

Loading the player...

Update: One day after his controversial comments about “blowing up the entire system,” CNN host Don Lemon is clarifying his remarks.

Talking to fellow newsman Chris Cuomo during his weeknight night handoff on CNN, Lemon said, “I was responding to you when you said we want people with integrity in office, and I said, ‘Well, then we’ve got to blow up the whole system, right?’ And I said ‘Here’s what Democrats can do, and that’s the danger: they can stack the court.’ But all of a sudden, I am calling for the abolishing of the Electoral College and that I’m a Democrat, because I said ‘we.’ I mean the American people!”

The popular host complained about being taken out of context.

“Run and tell this: I do think that we need to look at the Electoral College because I think it disenfranchises voters, both Democrats and Republicans,” Lemon said.

He decried how the results of electoral votes don’t reflect the ballots actual voters cast.

“So I do think it should be looked at because I think it does disenfranchise certain people,” Lemon concluded. “Should it be abolished? It’s not for me to say. I’m saying this is what Democrats are saying; stack the courts, get rid of the Electoral College. But there is no nuance and no context anymore, so who cares.”

On his eponymous program Monday, Don Lemon Tonight, the CNN host told his colleague, Cuomo, that Democrats may move to eliminate the Electoral College in reaction to Republicans moving to fill a Supreme Court seat less than two months before the election. 

“We’re going to have to blow up the entire system,” Lemon said. 

Cuomo responded: “I don’t know about that.” 

CNN host Don Lemon called this “a crucial moment for this country. But what this president wants is to distract you.”
(Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights)

“Yes. What are we going to have to do?” Lemon asked. “Honestly, from what your closing argument is, you’re going to have to get rid of the Electoral College because the people … The minority in this country decides who the judges are, and they decide who the president is. Is that fair?” 

Cuomo explained that a constitutional amendment would be necessary to eliminate the Electoral College. 

At least two-thirds of both the House of Representatives and the Senate would have to vote to abolish the Electoral College and move to a direct popular-vote process. 

Read More: Crowd chants ‘fill that seat’ at Ohio rally as Trump reaffirms court plans

In 2016, Donald Trump became president of the United States despite receiving 3 million fewer votes than Hillary ClintonStudies have shown that Republicans are far more likely to benefit from the Electoral College than Democrats. 

The Electoral College gives a structural advantage to small states. Each state receives a number of electoral votes equal to the number of representatives they have in the U.S. House, plus two. 

Read More: Single plane passenger gave COVID-19 to 15 others: CDC

This advantage skews in favor of smaller states, which skew Republican, while it is negligible for larger states, which have large urban centers, which are likely to skew Democratic. 

At the beginning of the program, Lemon called this “a crucial moment for this country. But what this president wants is to distract you, is to gaslight you, to make you forget all about the deaths of the nearly 200,000 people — 200,000 of our friends, our neighbors, our coworkers. Don’t fall for it, everyone.” 

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s “Dear Culture” podcast? Download our newest episodes now!

Loading the player...