Accuracy in Media


MSNBC host Chris Hayes appeared to have misunderstood the American political process, which included the Electoral College, elections for the House of Representatives and Senate, drawing of congressional districts, and the U.S. Constitution. In a recent segment, before a live audience, Hayes claimed, “…[T]he 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.”

In other words, Hayes alleged that the Electoral College would have been unconstitutional if it was not included in the U.S. Constitution. He believed that the Electoral College contradicted a Supreme Court decision that one person equals one vote and added that the Electoral College disenfranchises American voters. Hayes said, “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.”

He then said the Electoral College permits district lines being drawn in a way to disenfranchise minority voters across America. However, Hayes is describing gerrymandering, which is a political tactic used by one political party to draw district lines to favor their party. The Electoral College does not handle district lines, but handles overall votes for each state during a presidential election and not a congressional or senate election.

For his next topic, Hayes compared the perceived problems of the Electoral College to voting in House of Representatives and U.S. Senate races. He said the following:

“The basic principle behind one person, one vote, the candidate with the most votes wins, those are the basic principles that are applied everywhere in the United States, in every election, from dog catcher, to state senator to governor up to two institutions, the two most powerful: the United States senate and, this might be for another show, but you might have noticed, the same number of senators represent the 40 million people of California and the half-a-million people of Wyoming. Not really one person, one votee. And then, of course, the other institution, the presidency.”

However, Hayes missed the point of congressional and senate elections. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate are represented by legislators elected by the people, not the Electoral College. He inadvertently pointed out the benefits of the Electoral College, specifically that the president will have to cater to Americans across low-density and high-density population states to win the presidency.

Hayes’s anti-Electoral College segment illustrated his misunderstanding about the practice, which only applies to a presidential election and not congressional or senate elections.




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