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Opinion: Popular vote makes Colorado relevant

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Dennis Lennox

It’s time for Colorado conservatives to make themselves politically relevant.

Proposition 113 on this year’s ballot, aka the National Popular Vote, does just that by ensuring the presidential candidate who gets the most votes wins.

Let’s be honest. Colorado is irrelevant in this year’s presidential election, despite counties such as Animas, Huerfano and Pueblo flipping from ‘blue’ to ‘red’ in 2016. This year will be decided by the voters of Arizona and a handful of other battleground states — not the Centennial State.

In months of campaigning from Kit Carson County to Montezuma County and everywhere in-between I have seen firsthand what happens to conservatives when Colorado is no longer a battleground state in presidential elections.

In short, it can be a huge struggle to recruit down-ballot candidates with rural or flyover counties getting few resources. As a result, Colorado conservatives lose more than they win.

In a presidential election under a popular vote the votes of every voter in every state would be equal. No longer would we elect a president of the battleground states. Rather, we would elect a president of the United States.

This would force the presidential nominees of both major parties to invest in their respective state and county parties because winning would become a numbers game.

Proposition 113 creates an incentive for Republicans to turnout each and every conservative in the Western Slope, High Country and Eastern Plains. Similarly, conservatives in Kansas, Utah, Wyoming, the Dakotas, and Oklahoma would have a reason to vote. Right now, their votes, as with those of conservatives in rural Colorado, are ignored.

That is why opposition is so puzzling.

Conservatives should be focused on re-electing U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, not spending time and money opposing a ballot question that, if passed, would revitalize the conservative movement in Colorado starting with renewed county Republican parties in each and every county.

Don’t take my word for it. Just listen to conservatives in other ‘blue’ states.

In Oregon, Democratic since 1988, Republicans have been decimated in the state legislature, losing 33 percent of their seats in the lower chamber since 2006. Portland is an example of what happens when one party runs everything.

The same is true in New York, where the National Popular Vote passed with the support of state legislators from the Conservative and Republican parties. They recognized the political right would benefit if the New Yorkers had a reason to show up and support conservative candidates.

Then there is the fact that Arizona, Georgia and Texas are either toss-up ‘purple’ or trending that way. Under the present method, the math is increasingly stacked against Republicans.

This explains why President Donald J. Trump has said he supports a popular vote. Trump knows it’s easier for him — and other Republicans — to win if ‘red’ America had a reason to vote.

Conservatives need to stop and think. A ‘yes’ vote on Proposition 113 makes Colorado relevant again.

Dennis Lennox is campaign manager of Conservatives for Yes on National Popular Vote.