Sometimes a line of reasoning goes in an unexpected direction, and by the time you’ve followed it to the end, you find yourself saying horrible things. At least, that’s the best-case scenario spin Nevada State Assemblyman Jim Wheeler, a Republican, is offering to explain how he wound up saying he would vote in favor of slavery if his constituents wanted him to.
Speaking to a local Republican group in August, Wheeler made the point that he is willing to vote the way his constituents tell him to in newspaper polls, even when he disagrees with them, as he did with the statewide Brianna’s law. Wheeler brought up the example of a constituent who’d written to challenge him on that stance, asking if he would even vote in favor of legalizing slavery. And Nevada’s Democrats were given this plum of a soundbite. Per the Las Vegas Sun:
“If that’s what they wanted, I’d have to hold my nose, I’d have to bite my tongue and they’d probably have to hold a gun to my head, but yeah, if that’s what the citizens of the, if that’s what the constituency wants that elected me, that’s what they elected me for,” he said. “That’s what a republic is about. You elected a person for your district to do your wants and wishes, not the wants and wishes of a special interest, not his own wants and wishes, yours.”
Wheeler later told The Sun he was exaggerating to make a point. “I don’t care if every constituent in (Assembly) District 39 wanted slavery, I wouldn’t vote for it. That’s ridiculous.” But there’s really no good way to spin this one. Probably best to leave the slavery hypotheticals alone from here on out.