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Chris Hayes and Progressives’ Lack of Respect for the Constitution

Chris Hayes and Progressives’ Lack of Respect for the ConstitutionLast week, conservatives in the Twitterverse had a good chuckle at the expense of MSNBC host Chris Hayes for something he said about the Electoral College on his show.“The weirdest thing about the Electoral College,” he offered, “is the fact that if it wasn't specifically in the Constitution for the presidency, it would be unconstitutional.”This is one of those things that sound a lot better in your head than they do coming out of your mouth! We’ve all been guilty of saying something similarly dumb, and most of us have probably been subjected to some good-natured ribbing over it. Hayes didn’t appreciate the ribbing, though, and took to Twitter a few days later to blast the entire conservative movement:> These days, conservatism is a movement deeply paranoid and pessimistic about its own appeal, increasingly retreating behind counter-majoritarian institutions: the senate, the courts, the electoral college.> > — Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) September 1, 2019> And so they are increasingly focused, as a matter of tactical and tribal fidelity, on ways to uphold minority rule. It’s a sad place for a movement to be.> > — Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) September 1, 2019I certainly agree that the Republican party needs to focus on broadening its appeal. But here’s the catch: Hayes’s armchair psychoanalysis notwithstanding, he is just plain wrong about the Constitution. And by that I do not mean that his breezy, clever-sounding point is actually a tautological non-sequitur. I mean that his underlying reasoning is false.Here’s his full original assertion:> 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. Here’s what I mean by that. Starting in the 1960s, the Supreme Court started developing a jurisprudence of 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 is a pretty intuitive concept, but is not a reality. There are all sorts of crazy representational systems that were created that would not give one person one vote, and that would disenfranchise certain minorities.If Hayes hadn’t been so glib, he might have said that the Electoral College runs contrary to the spirit of the Constitution. But, as I said, that is not true, either.The Supreme Court’s one-man-one-vote rule applies to state legislative elections and the House of Representatives, which makes sense in the constitutional scheme. The House of Representatives is the national institution of representation in our government. But our system is not wholly national. Here’s James Madison in Federalist No. 39:> The House of Representatives will derive its powers from the people of America; and the people will be represented in the same proportion, and on the same principle, as they are in the legislature of a particular State. So far the government is NATIONAL, not FEDERAL. The Senate, on the other hand, will derive its powers from the States, as political and coequal societies; and these will be represented on the principle of equality in the Senate, as they now are in the existing Congress. So far the government is FEDERAL, not NATIONAL. The executive power will be derived from a very compound source. The immediate election of the President is to be made by the States in their political characters. The votes allotted to them are in a compound ratio, which considers them partly as distinct and coequal societies, partly as unequal members of the same society.For these reasons, as well as others, Madison concludes, “The proposed Constitution . . . is, in strictness, neither a national nor a federal Constitution, but a composition of both.”So, Hayes is right in a very narrow sense: Neither the Senate nor the Electoral College would make any sense in a strictly national government where the states no longer had any sovereign function. At the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, this is what Madison wanted, more or less: to strip the states of their power in national affairs. But it just could not pass muster, and the Convention embraced the compromise pushed by small-state delegates: a compound republic embracing both national and federal modes.This is really Civics 101, and I’m not at all sure how many pundits on the left fully understand it. I rarely if ever see prominent progressives seriously engage with The Federalist Papers or Madison’s notes on the Constitutional Convention. Sometimes I wonder if they even know to look in those places for explanations of our constitutional structure. I get the impression that they think the whole design is a product of simple-minded men who lacked their sophisticated views on government. Yet when you read through the original debates about the Constitution, it becomes clear that the Founders often thought through these issues more carefully than contemporary intellectuals.Why are they so intent on attacking the Constitution in this case, anyway? There are, after all, other ways to ameliorate the problem of divergence between the popular vote and the Electoral College. Each state’s apportionment is the sum of its House and Senate delegates. The size of the House of Representatives is not fixed at 435. That number could be expanded, which would be completely consistent with the Constitution — probably more so, as the founding generation was skeptical that large districts could actually be representative. An expanded House would alleviate the frustrations of the large states, and it might also mitigate the problem of money in politics.Moreover, why are states given a pass for allocating electors on a winner-take-all basis? Again, it is not required under the Constitution, and in the early days of the republic electors were often allocated on a proportional basis. If the 2016 election had been conducted on that basis, Hillary Clinton’s Electoral College haul would have gone from 227 to about 255 — not enough for her to win the required absolute majority under a 538-vote Electoral College, but perhaps enough to win such a majority of the larger electoral-vote total created by an expanded House.I do not like it when the Constitution is attacked in this way, but not because the Constitution is perfect. It is far from perfect. Nobody understood that better than Madison, who was at first deeply frustrated by the finished product. Yet when he started to see the criticisms of it, he noticed that they were scattershot, parochial, and sometimes even contradictory. He realized that the choice facing the country was not between the Constitution and some other alternative, but between the Constitution and chaos leading toward disunion.I think the same holds true today. We should respect the Constitution if for no other reason than that it may be the last thing still holding us together. Such respect does not necessitate that we blindly accept the institutions it bequeathed us as they are. But we should thoroughly understand it before we criticize it, because it deserves better than facile straw-man attacks — especially when, as in the case of the Electoral College, there are alternative remedies that could be pursued within its framework.



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Chris Wallace Confronts WH Chief of Staff on Trump’s Racist Baltimore Tweets: There’s a ‘Clear Pattern Here’

Chris Wallace Confronts WH Chief of Staff on Trump’s Racist Baltimore Tweets: There’s a ‘Clear Pattern Here’Fox NewsPressed by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Sunday to defend President Trump recently calling Rep. Elijah Cummings’ Baltimore district a “rodent infested mess,” acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney claimed that the president’s attacks had “absolutely zero to do with race."With the president doubling down on his tweets on Sunday morning, Wallace began his Fox News Sunday interview with Mulvaney by asking “what is the president talking about” when he says no “human being would want to live” in Baltimore, especially considering Cummings’ district is in the upper half nationally in per capita income.Mulvaney insisted that the president was merely “fighting back” against the Maryland congressman for what he sees as “illegitimate attacks about the border” last week, prompting the Fox anchor to push back.“Nobody objects to the president defending his border policy but this seems to be the worst kind of racial stereotype,” Wallace stated. “Black congressman, majority-black district. ‘No human being would want to live there.’ Is he saying people that live in Baltimore are not human beings?”The top White House staffer objected, claiming it was “right for the president to raise the issue” of poverty in Baltimore. He went on to say that when he was in Congress, he would have been “fired” if his home district looked like Cummings’.“I think the president’s right to raise that and it has absolutely zero to do with race,” Mulvaney added.“You say it has little to do with race, there is a clear pattern here,” Wallace shot back, noting that Trump has made similar remarks about other congresspeople of color, such as Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and the so-called Squad.“Infested,” Wallace said. “It sounds like vermin. It sounds subhuman and these are all six members of Congress who are people of color.”Mulvaney, however, told Wallace that he was “spending too much time reading between the lines.”“I’m not reading between the lines,” Wallace countered. “I’m reading the lines.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Chris Kraft's Greatest NASA Accomplishments

Chris Kraft's Greatest NASA Accomplishments



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Fox News host Chris Wallace tells Stephen Miller: 'No question' Trump is 'stoking racial divisions'

Fox News host Chris Wallace tells Stephen Miller: 'No question' Trump is 'stoking racial divisions'"I’ve never called any of his tweets racist, but there's no question that he is stoking racial divisions," said "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace.



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Fox’s Chris Wallace Confronts WH Adviser Stephen Miller: ‘No Question’ Trump’s ‘Stoking Racial Divisions’

Fox’s Chris Wallace Confronts WH Adviser Stephen Miller: ‘No Question’ Trump’s ‘Stoking Racial Divisions’Making his first major television interview in months, White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller found himself grilled relentlessly by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Sunday over President Trump’s repeated racist taunts of Democratic congresswomen of color.Miller, the chief architect of the Trump administration’s hardline anti-immigration policies, appeared on Fox News Sunday and immediately defended both the president’s week-long racist tirade against the so-called Squad and a Trump rally crowd’s “Send Her Back!” chant. After saying the audience members behind the chant were like other “patriotic members” who are “tired of being beat up” by left-leaning members of Congress, Miller went on to claim that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)—a member of the Squad—had “profoundly outraged” him as an American Jew by calling border detention centers “concentration camps.”Stephen Miller Keeps His Head Down as Trump Makes His Nativist Dreams Come TrueWallace, meanwhile, noted that both before and after his election, the president has been even more critical of America than the four progressive congresswomen, highlighting a series of comments in which Trump said the country has a “lot of killers” and that “nobody respects” the United States.“Why is what those congresswomen have said, in general, any worse than what you just heard Donald Trump say—President Obama is ignorant, this country is killers, on and on?” Wallace asked the White House aide.Miller insisted the difference was that Trump wanted to “strengthen America’s core values” with his remarks while the Squad believed the country should turn “into Venezuela,” prompting the Fox News anchor to push back and point out we “are not talking about constitutional rights” but Trump’s own sharp criticisms of the United States.Wallace then went on to confront Miller on the overarching theme of the president targeting the congresswomen.“Nobody has any problem with what the president’s policies have been, it’s when he goes into stoking racial fears,” the Fox host declared. “I’ve never called any of his tweets racist, but there’s no question that he is stoking racial divisions.”Miller contended that the “core element of the president’s philosophy is ‘America First’” before pivoting to Ocasio-Cortez, accusing her of saying undocumented immigrants are “more American than Americans.” AOC, however, has never actually said this. The New York lawmaker has noted that immigrants historically commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans, She's also said that asylum-seeking refugees "are acting more American than any person who seeks to keep them out ever will be."Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Chris Watts confesses to killing daughters for first time: 'I didn’t want to do this, but I did it'

Chris Watts confesses to killing daughters for first time: 'I didn’t want to do this, but I did it'Christopher Watts drove his daughters to an oil site after killing wife, Shanann, in their Colorado home, Watts recently told investigators.



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Chris Christie: Steve Bannon wouldn't know the Lord's work if it hit him across the forehead

Chris Christie: Steve Bannon wouldn't know the Lord's work if it hit him across the foreheadFormer New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie says that Steve Bannon was not a team player while in the White House.



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Let Me Finish, review: Chris Christie goes easy on Trump in new tell-all book but hits out at Steve Bannon

Let Me Finish, review: Chris Christie goes easy on Trump in new tell-all book but hits out at Steve BannonWhen Chris Christie first met Donald Trump, over dinner at the Manhattan restaurant Jean-Georges in 2002, the developer ordered for both of them. Mr Trump had waiters bring Mr Christie the seared scallops and the roasted lamb loin.



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CNN's Don Lemon And Chris Cuomo Shred Fox News' Tucker Carlson Over Racist Rhetoric

CNN's Don Lemon And Chris Cuomo Shred Fox News' Tucker Carlson Over Racist RhetoricCNN anchors Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo jointly blasted Fox News counterpart



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Chris Matthews Predicts Trump Could Resign ‘In The Coming Weeks’

Chris Matthews Predicts Trump Could Resign ‘In The Coming Weeks’MSNBC's Chris Matthews said Monday that President Donald Trump could resign as



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