We like to think of the United States Constitution as a perfect document, outlining the rule of law which forms the foundation of the Great American Experiment. And for many it is, at least in theory. But the actual printing of the document was initially riddled with errors. (You can read a nice history of those penmanship and printing problems here.) There was one episode of the West Wing which featured the possibility of an errant comma in the Takings Clause changing its entire meaning. But for the most part, it’s been fairly solidly reproduced.
Or has it? Somebody needs to check the copy that DNC Chairman Tom Perez is using because that one seems to have a massive, glaring omission in it. During recent comments, Perez reminded everyone that the electoral college is not only a flawed system which robbed Hillary Clinton of the presidency, but it’s not even in the Constitution.
Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez incorrectly stated “the Electoral College is not a creation of the Constitution” during a Tuesday night speech.
“The Electoral College is not a creation of the Constitution,” Perez said during a lecture at Indiana University Law School. “It doesn’t have to be there.”
The Electoral College, a mechanism for indirect election of the president created by the Founding Fathers as a compromise between smaller states and larger states, is clearly laid out in Article II of the Constitution: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.”
Should we be giving Perez the benefit of the doubt here? After all, the phrase, “not a creation of the Constitution” is rather gauzy to begin with. And when you get right down to it, the Constitution is a thing. The document is itself a creation and, as such, is incapable of creating anything on its own. The electoral college was actually a creation of the document’s authors, right?
Naw. I’m not feeling that overly charitable this morning. I’m guessing that Perez thought the EC was crafted via legislation at some point. Of course, if that were the case it would probably have been long gone by now, or at least significantly modified. It’s been the cause of occasional controversies over the past couple of centuries and I’m pretty sure some Congress would have dragged it out for a fresh look.
But just to avoid leaving the DNC Chair in a state of confusion for any longer, let’s help him out. Here you go, Tom. It’s at the bottom of page two of the original document.
Just a brief observation in closing here. This is the guy the Democrats elected to lead their party out of the wilderness after the beating they took last fall. I’ll be the first to admit that there are some obscure bits of the Constitution that I couldn’t recite without looking them up first, but the establishment of the electoral college is a faily big deal. If Tom Perez didn’t even know that much about it, have the Dems really found the right man for the job?