Dems promote Supreme Court expansion, jettisoning Electoral College and lowering the federal voting age

Democrats are embracing a handful of dramatic reforms that stem directly from their frustration at President Trump’s victory in 2016.

The 2020 Democratic contenders and some liberals on Capitol Hill have embraced ideas such as expanding the Supreme Court, abolishing the Electoral College and lowering the voting age to 16. But some in the party are warning that those positions have the appearance of rigging the system out of the bitterness of defeat.

A quick rundown… 

  • There is roiling anger on the left that Trump has so far been able to appoint two new Supreme Court justices, particularly after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked former President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, from getting a vote in 2016. An idea that is gaining momentum on the left: Expand the court to “nullify” Trump’s conservative picks.

The Hill: Court packing becomes new litmus test on the left.

The Washington Post: Why court packing suddenly looks appealing to Democrats.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who is considering a presidential run, emphatically warned Democrats to back away from this idea during an interview with The Washington Post. Bennet said Democrats should focus on winning elections if they want to pick Supreme Court justices, not upending political norms because they lost.

“What I want to do is beat these guys so that we can begin to govern again.” — Bennet

The Hill: How many justices should be on the Supreme Court? It’s been a battle before.

  • Democrats are furious that Trump won the presidency despite losing the popular vote. Many in the party view his election victory as illegitimate, pointing to the Russian interference campaign aimed at dampening enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton.  Their solution: Abolish the Electoral College. 

“My view is that every vote matters. And the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting. And that means get rid of the Electoral College and everybody counts.” — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) last night at a CNN town hall event.

Several states are considering measures that would allocate their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, although some Democrats are warning this will further inflame the divide between the coasts and mainland America.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democrats in her caucus have advocated for lowering the voting age to 16. Many young voters skew liberal, so this would likely result in an influx of new Democratic voters.

Promoting Free Health Care

Tom Davis: Are Democrats facing a Tea Party-style reckoning?

Robert Leonard and Matt Russell: What Dems need to do to win in the heartland.

Meanwhile, on the GOP side, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan told The Washington Post he’s seriously considering a primary challenge against Trump, although he concedes it would likely be a doomed effort, at least at this point.

There are Republicans in Washington who are desperate to recruit a primary challenger to take on Trump. Many political insiders view that idea as a loser from the start, but some traditional Republicans would like to see a candidate run against Trump out of principle.

The Memo: Rough road awaits any Trump rival in GOP primary.

More from campaigns and politics … Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) faces sharp backlash from the left (The Hill) … But O’Rourke bested all of his 2020 rivals by raising $6.1 million in the first 24 hours of his campaign (The Hill) … Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) makes the case he’s electable (The Associated Press) … Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) talks ‘Medicare for all’ and tech regulation (NPR) … Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) says she’s the best candidate to take on Trump (MSNBC) … Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) has been disinvited from a local GOP event after voting to revoke Trump’s emergency declaration (The Kansas City Star).

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