As the hangover from this week’s electoral college protests starts to wear off, various activists and lawmakers are calling for structural change in how we elect the president. Their efforts will fail as miserably as the ill-conceived “Hamilton Electors” movement.
It looks like State Senator Andy Kerr has caught the bug and may be leading the charge for this change in Colorado. The Lakewood Democrat wants a system where the presidency is awarded to the winner of the national popular vote, and would favor a scenario where Colorado’s electors are awarded to the winner of the national vote. Kerr is not a johnny-come-lately though; he proposed a similar measure as a member of the State House of Representatives in 2009.
This plan would disenfranchise Colorado voters in multiple ways. If the state awarded its electoral votes to the winner of the national election, no candidate would campaign a single day in the state or to address issues that are important to this state; our population is too small and too spread out to move the needle in a national race. In Kerr’s scenario, Colorado’s votes would be muted by the nation’s large coastal population centers.
Kerr claims that nearly half of the post-election constituent contacts that his office is receiving is calling for this exact measure.
Kerr and his fellow Hillary Clinton supporters point to this year’s popular vote count, implying that if we had a different system, Clinton would have beaten Trump. This is a false narrative. Trump was running to be elected President of the United States. The objective had nothing to do with winning the popular vote, but rather winning in the electoral college. If the rules stipulated otherwise, Trump would have run a different campaign, and probably would have found a path to a popular vote plurality, given how poor a candidate and campaigner Clinton was.
The electoral college was created for the precise reason that Kerr is trying to suppress – a president should run a campaign that appeals broadly to the nation’s diverse population, not just a push for votes in homogeneous, large population centers. Kerr’s half-baked plan would diminish the vote of every Coloradan, and should be resoundingly rejected.