Is slavery the new… Hitler? It might be, at least in terms of political hyperbole in the 2020 nomination race. Failed Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke decided to invoke the image of slavery this week while explaining why we need to do away with the electoral college. Elizabeth Warren may have been the first one to bring up the idea to appease all of the #poutrage Democrats who still can’t get past the results of the 2016 election, but since then it’s been a race between the rest of the declared candidates to heap more and more scorn on that portion of the Constitution. O’Rourke, however, seems to be demonstrating his liberal chops by taking it to the next level. (Free Beacon)
O’Rourke justified his call for eliminating the Electoral College by the comparing the institution to slavery.
“This is one of those bad compromises we made at day one in this country,” he said. “There are many others we can think of and they are all connected, including the value of some people based on the color of their skin. There is a legacy and a series of consequences that have persisted and remain with us to this day.”
“In this conversation about how we repair the damage, how we make things right, and how we keep from committing the same injustice going forward is squarely connected to the reason that we are all convened here today and that is fixing our democracy,” O’Rourke continued. “So yes, if we get rid of the Electoral College, we get a little bit closer to one person, one vote in the United States of America.”
Beto unleashed these comments at the We the People Membership Summit in Washington. (That’s the same event where attendees joined in chanting a quote from a convicted cop killer and entrant on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list.)
While it drew vocal approval from the crowd, the comparison is, of course, nonsense. The Founders obviously incorporated ideas into the Constitution that are viewed with horror from a modern perspective, with slavery and a 3/5 devaluation of human beings based on the color of their skin being among the worst. The Electoral College, on the other hand, was designed to do precisely the opposite. It was a safeguard put in place to ensure that the voices of people in smaller, less populous states, wouldn’t be entirely drowned out by those in larger, densely occupied ones.
The Electoral College reflects the same intentional design that went into setting up the legislative branch. The House is reflective of the size and population of states while the Senate treats all states equally. If you want to argue against the Electoral College, you may as well call for deconstructing the Senate and giving the larger states more senators, eliminating the original reason for having two chambers in the first place.
All of this is little more than a construct made from smoke and mirrors to draw supporters in the primary race. I’m sure each one of these candidates knows full well that any effort to amend the Constitution in such a fashion would fail to garner the required numbers of states supporting it. It’s not going to happen in any of their lifetimes, but that doesn’t matter. They can keep repeating the mantra until they win the nomination, and that’s all that really counts.