By Brian Niemietz
Maine's former governor -- who left office last month -- argued the Electoral College is necessary to keep white people in power.
"What would happen if they do what they say they're gonna do is white people will not have anything to say," Paul LePage told a WVOM radio show Tuesday when asked about abolishing the system currently used to elect presidents. "It's only going to be the minorities that would elect."
LePage, who left office Jan. 2 and now lives in Florida, said making every vote equal would give too much power to states like "California, Texas and Florida," where larger swathes of people live.
The 70-year-old Republican served two terms as Maine's governor and had one of the highest disapproval ratings among governors nationwide during his last year in office. He's no stranger to racial controversy, either.
In 2016, LePage complained "guys by the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty" come to Maine from New York and Connecticut to sell drugs and "half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave."
Later that year, LePage called Latinos the "enemy" during a bizarre news conference where he tried to explain why he'd hurled homophobic remarks at a reporter.
"The enemy right now, the overwhelming majority of people coming in are people of color or people of Hispanic origin," he said.
On Friday, a proposal to elect U.S. presidents with a popular vote rather than doing so through the Electoral College process will be considered by the Maine Legislature.
LePage called the bill "insane" and worried that white people, who make up more than 61 percent of the nation's population and have accounted for all but one of the nation's presidents, are "gonna be forgotten people."
Critics including Sen. Vernon Sykes, D-Ohio, have argued the Electoral College marginalizes black voters.
"(We have) an Electoral College that says to this entire voting block of people, 'You all are voting in high numbers, high turnout across the board ... But in the end, that does not matter because we'll have this elector, maybe they'll do what you've done, maybe they won't,' " he told PBS during a 2018 interview.
A nationwide proposal called the National Popular Vote initiative has been approved by 12 states accounting for 172 electoral votes, including New York. It cannot be enacted until states with a combined 270 electoral votes agree that every voter's ballot should count equally.
There have been four times in U.S. history when the people voted for one candidate and the Electoral College selected another. Each time benefited Republicans. Only one of the past three U.S. presidents came into office by winning the popular vote and that was Barack Obama in 2008. President Donald Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million ballots in the last election, but received 304 electoral votes to her 227.
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