Letter: A case against the National Popular Vote

The Detroit News

In contrast with the views expressed by The Detroit News in the Sept. 9 editorial, "Michigan should pass National Popular Vote," I believe it is important for Michigan to avoid jumping on the National Popular Vote train.

For starters, I take exception with the editorial’s assertion that the compact approach to circumventing the Electoral College is “brilliant." Since when is it “brilliant” to find a way around the task of making an argument to the American people for amending the Constitution, especially on an issue as important as how our next president is elected?

In the 2016 presidential election, Michigan turned red for the first time since 1988 and voted to allocate all 16 of our electors to President Trump. Hillary Clinton would have gained these electors if National Popular Vote were the law of the land. In this light, could support for this initiative be a referendum against President Trump? In short, I don’t believe so, but it is likely a referendum against the free-thinking citizens who put Trump into office.

Voters file their ballots at the electronic voting machine at the Warren Community Center in Warren.

During my eight years in the Michigan Senate, I learned a very salient truth. If there is one thing that unifies establishment politicians, it is control. In addition to pushing policies that increase their control over our lives, they like to ensure the election of themselves or their establishment “friends." They value control above party, above principle and, above all, above the views of our citizens.

My contention is that the popular vote at its heart is all about control. It hides under a mask of respecting the will of the people, but actually does the exact opposite. The sentiment of the vast majority of voters is shaped by the media rather than direct engagement with candidates or hands-on study of issues. It is much easier to control voter sentiments via a New York-based national media cabal than it is to control 50 unique laboratories of thought. 

How does the media control voter sentiments? They control what news you hear and what news you don’t hear. They control which candidates you hear about and which you do not.  

Our founders created a firewall to protect us from “group think." It is called the Electoral College. Michigan needs to reject any attempts to poke holes in this firewall. Keep control of presidential elections in the hands of free-thinking citizens.

State Sen. Patrick Colbeck

R-Canton Township