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Chris Hayes On The Electoral College: ‘If It Wasn’t Specifically In The Constitution … It Would Be Unconstitutional’

By  Ashe Schow
DailyWire.com
Emmy-winning "All In" host Christopher Hayes stops by AOL BUILD at AOL HQ on November 1, 2016 in New York City.
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

MSNBC host Chris Hayes attempted to again sow distrust in the Electoral College during his show Friday night, but his comments have earned mockery on social media.

While speaking to an “All In With Chris Hayes” audience, the host suggested that the Electoral College – America’s system for selecting its president since the Constitution was written – is unconstitutional.

“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,” Hayes said.

The host briefly paused and looked to the audience, as if this was supposed to be an applause line. His explanation for what he meant didn’t help:

Here’s what I mean by that. Starting in the 1960s – 1961, particularly – the Supreme Court started developing a juris prudence of ‘one person, one vote.’ Right? The idea is that each individual vote has to carry roughly the same amount of weight as each other individual vote, which is a pretty intuitive concept, but it was not a reality. There are 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 ones.

Here’s an example. Let’s say that a city is 60% black and 40% white, okay? Here’s how you would ensure [that] white people stay in charge: Divide the city into four voting districts, right? But you put the entire black population into one district. Sixty-percent of the people. And then, each district elects one city council member, and voila, now the city council – for a majority black city – is run by a majority white government.

This isn’t just the clip that conservatives are sharing on social media; it’s the one Hayes’ own show shared on Twitter.

Let’s break down all the ways in which Hayes went wrong.

“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.”

Setting aside the absurdity of the statement, Hayes didn’t offer any evidence that this would be unconstitutional. Hayes begins his history lesson in the 1960s – nearly 200 years after the Constitution was written. It might be unconstitutional by the standards liberals espouse today (because they don’t like that Donald Trump won the 2016 election), but it would not actually be unconstitutional.

“The idea is that each individual vote has to carry roughly the same amount of weight as each other individual vote, which is a pretty intuitive concept, but it was not a reality. There are 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 ones.”

The reason we have the Electoral College is precisely so that each individual vote carries roughly the same amount of weight as each other individual vote. As I’ve written previously, the Electoral College ensures that as many states have a say in who becomes president as possible. Without the Electoral College, a handful of cities would determine who is president, leaving everyone else at their mercy. The “minorities,” Hayes referred to are not the minorities he is suggesting, but voters in less populous states.

“Here’s an example. Let’s say that a city is 60% black and 40% white, okay? Here’s how you would ensure [that] white people stay in charge: Divide the city into four voting districts, right? But you put the entire black population into one district. Sixty-percent of the people. And then, each district elects one city council member, and voila, now the city council – for a majority black city – is run by a majority white government.”

This is an example of gerrymandering, not the Electoral College. Gerrymandering occurs after county, district, city, and state lines are drawn. That’s not how America was divided. State lines were drawn up pretty much as they joined the union, and the Electoral College was already set up. Politicians did not draw state lines around certain populations after America’s entire land mass was already established.

Following Hayes’ example as it relates to the Electoral College, the “constitutional” way would allow the black population to determine who represents the entire city. Let’s remember how America chooses presidents. Each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., vote for who they want to be president. That’s 51 separate votes. Add up all the votes and you get the popular vote. But each state has a proportional number of Electoral votes based on its population. Add those up and you get the Electoral vote that actually determines the president. In Hayes’ example – if the city were a state – then whoever the black population wanted to represent the state (assuming they all voted the same way, which isn’t necessarily the case) would represent the state, even if all the black voters were in the same city.

Hayes goes on in his monologue to say that the Supreme Court has struck down representational governments such as the one he described “except for two institutions.” One of the institutions he mentions is the Senate, and suggests it’s unfair that a state as populous as California has the same number of senators as Wyoming. Does Hayes not understand the original intention of the Senate and the House of Representatives? The House is representational, meaning each state gets a number of representatives according to its population. It’s why California has 53 representatives and Wyoming has just one. The Senate is supposed to represent the state’s interest, which is why each state has two. They used to be chosen by the state legislatures, not the people, but that changed thanks to the 17th Amendment. (Does Hayes think the 17th Amendment should be abolished?)

The other institution he mentions is the presidency, but for the reasons already listed, he is wrong on this account as well.

Hayes’ initial comment about something being unconstitutional if it isn’t in the constitution was silly. His explanation was flat-out inaccurate.

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