E.W. Jackson, a GOP nominee for lieutenant governor in Virginia, has been all been all over the news this week for his radical views–most notably his outlandish claim that the federal government should not help its citizens in the aftermath of natural disasters. It has now emerged that in 2011, while running for the Virginia Senate, Pastor Jackson made a shocking statement about the 3/5ths clause in the original Constitution. According to TPM:
In an April 28, 2011 statement while he was a Senate candidate, conservative minister and lawyer E.W. Jackson held up the three-fifths clause as an ‘anti-slavery amendment.’ The context of his statement was to attack President Obama after a pastor at a church service he attended referred to the three-fifths clause as a historical marker of racism.
‘Rev. [Charles Wallace] Smith must not have understood the 3/5ths clause was an anti-slavery amendment. Its purpose was to limit the voting power of slave holding states,’ Jackson, an African-American, said in his statement.
As thoroughly screwed up as that is no matter who says it, it becomes even more deranged when you realize that E.W. Jackson is a black man! Apparently his logic–and we use that term VERY loosely–went something like this: 3/5ths is more than 0/5ths…so it’s good. Except, in addition to being painfully stupid, Jackson’s interpretation is wildly inaccurate.
This theory seems to partially originate from none other than the fantastically out-of-touch with reality radio show host, Glenn “Guano Crazy Man” Beck. Back in 2011, Media Matters interviewed historian Rick Beeman in response to Beck’s ridiculous assertions, who offered this explanation–which is a tad bit more plausible (to anyone with a working brain anyway):
My goodness — Glenn Beck got it completely wrong. They put [the three-fifths clause] there because delegates from the Southern states would never have agreed to the Constitution unless some weight was given to their slave populations in the apportionment of representation. They wanted slaves counted 100%, but when they saw that they could not get that, they settled for 3/5. The practical effect of that, far from making easier to abolish slavery, made it more difficult. It gave added weight to southern political power in Congress, it inflated Southern power in the apportioning of electoral votes, which led to a succession of Southern presidents. Ironically, the best thing that could have been done with respect to making it easier to abolish slavery would have been to have given slaves NO weight in the apportioning of representation.
Watch E.W. Jackson in all his maniacal glory talking about what he believes should be the federal government’s (non)role in natural disaster relief efforts: