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EDITORIAL: End run around Electoral College bad for Nevada

State Democrats bristle at the suggestion that they’re on a mission to transform Nevada into California, with its high-taxes, muscle-bound regulatory state, anti-business climate and housing pathologies. But those protestations ring hollow when they propose measures such as Assembly Bill 186, which would actually subjugate Nevada to California when it comes to presidential elections.

AB186 is a centerpiece of the Trump resistance and an end run around the Electoral College. It would create an interstate compact in which the participating states award their electors in presidential balloting to the winner of the popular vote. Thus if Nevada voters preferred Candidate A, yet Candidate B received the most support nationally, Nevada presidential electors would be bound to back a candidate rejected by the very people they are supposed to represent.

The measure, which has already passed in 12 states, is being pushed by Democrats upset that Donald Trump was elevated to the White House by winning the electoral vote even though he trailed Hillary Clinton by 3 million ballots nationally. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how this would disadvantage states with fewer residents. In essence, the compact would allow voters in a handful of highly populated states — California, New York, Texas — to select the president.

We’ll skip the civics lesson here about the differences between a direct democracy and a democratic republic or how the Constitution contains myriad provisions — not the least of which is the Bill of Rights — designed to shield the minority from the majority. The Electoral College operates in much the same vein in an effort to protect and empower smaller states.

“It’s important for all of our generations to know that their vote counts,” said Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson, the North Las Vegas Democrat who is sponsoring the legislation in Nevada. In fact, AB186 would erode the relevance of Nevada voters. If Mr. Thompson wants to make a principled argument that this is a matter of “fairness” and would be better for the country, so be it. But he should at least be honest about the ramifications for his home state.

Policy enacted out of impulsive anger and intended to achieve immediate partisan political ends rarely works as intended in the long run. See Harry Reid’s decision to invoke the “nuclear option” and eliminate the filibuster for many judicial nominees in the Senate. And let’s remember that when GOP activists in California pushed in 2007 to end the state’s winner-take-all electoral system in favor of a plan to award electors by congressional district, Democrats rushed to the defense of the Electoral College.

AB186 would be bad for Nevada and bad for the nation. If Democrats believe this will give them a political advantage, they’ll one day have buyer’s remorse.

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