To the best of my knowledge and belief, no one has ever accused MSNBC’s Chris Hayes of being smart. I’m not saying that it hasn’t happened at sometime in the past but it certainly hasn’t happened recently. Yesterday, his own show released this clip of Hayes lecturing an audience on the constitutionality of the Electoral College. Here he is assuming his past persona as an adjunct professor (which is basically like being an Uber driver for unemployed pseudo-academics0.
WATCH: @chrislhayes on the electoral college: “The weirdest thing about the electoral college is the fact that if it wasn't specifically in the Constitution for the presidency, it would be unconstitutional.” #inners pic.twitter.com/bA5n31w03y
— All In with Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) August 31, 2019
I think there’s actually a deeper philosophical thing happening of what is American democracy is for. And the weirdest thing about the Electoral College is the fact if it wasn’t specifically in the Constitution [dramatic splayed finger gesture pointing towards the heavens] for the presidency, it would be unconstitutional.
Huh? Do you know what, if the 13th Amendment wasn’t in the Constitution, it would be unconstitutional as was the case before it was passed. What kind of faux insight is this. The sad thing is that Hayes is thinking he’s making a deep point and one must presume anyone stupid enough to want to be in Hayes’s studio audience was suitably impressed and went away muttering this nugget to themselves. I’ll probably see it on twitter a few hundred times today.
What he misses is the obvious: people don’t elect the president, states elect the president. The Electoral College was how small states, like Delaware and Connecticut, were convinced to join the union. Without it, the nation as it has existed since 1787 ceases to exist and becomes something entirely different.
Let’s move away from his jihad against the Electoral College and focus on the second part.
Here’s what I mean by that. Starting in the 1960s, 1961, specifically, the Supreme Court started developing a jurisprudence of [dramatic index finger gesture] “one person, one vote.” The idea is that each individual vote has to carry roughly the same amount of weight as each other individual vote. Which was a pretty intuitive concept but it was not a reality. There were all sorts of crazy representational systems that were created that would not give one person one vote and would disenfranchise certain minorities…you can guess which one [knowing titter from the studio audience…you are just so clever Chris].
Here’s an example. Let’s say you’ve got a city, it’s 60% black and it’s 40% white, okay. Here’s how you ensure white people stay in charge. Divide the city into four voting districts, right? But you put the entire black population in one district. Sixty percent of the people. And then each district elects one city council member. Voila. And now a city council for a majority black city is run by a majority white government.
Let’s take a look at that statement about the weight of votes. He’s right. And where, right now, do you find Americans being disenfranchised in much the same way that he uses in his city council example? Anywhere there are large numbers of illegals. Because if you live in a district that is 100% citizen your vote is literally worth half as much as a vote of someone living in a district where half the voters are illegals. That is how an illegal-heavy metropolis like Los Angeles or Dallas or Chicago or Miami can dominate state politics because their electoral power is exaggerated by having congressional districts formed based on total people, not total voters.
In other words, by counting bodies and not citizens what happens is that citizens become the black voters in Hayes’s example. They are all packed into one district. Three other districts, composed of mostly non-citizens have representatives elected with only about 13% of the total voting population. To get an idea of what that looks like nationwide, take a look at this map.
Inadvertently, Chris Hayes made the case for why the US government should count citizens and why congressional seats should be apportioned based on them.