The Iowa Republican party platforms calls for a constitutional change that could theoretically result in a turn in slavery.
With the Republican Iowa Caucuses campaigns underway, it is important to understand the kind of Republicans these candidates are going to tailor their campaigns to, so I spent some time reviewing the Iowa Republican Party Platform after someone brought this issue to my attention.
Plank 7.19 says:
We call for the reintroduction and ratification of the original 13th Amendment, not the 13th Amendment in today's Constitution.
The United States Constitution abolished slavery with the 13th Amendment:
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
If the Iowa Republican Party got their wish the amendment would be replaced by one of two earlier versions. Since the platform is not clear which of the earlier versions it wishes would go into effect, let's visit them both.
In 1805, Congress passed what would have been the Thirteenth Amendment with the Titles of Nobility Amendment, which would have revoked citizenship for anyone accepting a foreign noble title like sir, king, prince, etc. It was not ratified by enough states to become part of the US Constitution.
Or the current Thirteenth Amendment could be replaced by the Corwin Amendment, which according to Wikipedia would have "forbidden attempts to subsequently amend the Constitution to empower the Congress to 'abolish or interfere' with the 'domestic institutions' of the states, including 'persons held to labor or service' (a reference to slavery)."
The Corwin Amendment is likely the amendment the author of the Iowa Republican Party was referring to. While it could still be ratified, the likelihood of that is zero, but it gives you a very clear picture of where the Iowa Republican Party is positioned.
Now before everyone heads to Facebook to demonize every Republican in Iowa, it is important to keep in mind how the platform process works in Iowa. Anyone can show up to their Iowa Republican precinct meeting during the platform writing process to submit a platform item.
I used to go with my mom when I was in high school. She would go to make sure issues supporting public education were included in the platform. The process was very simple. Not very many people showed up, so it was easy to get your plank on the list to send up to the county.
We would usually go to the county meetings, where you could fight for your planks, and then onto the state. The state meetings were painfully long as people from all over Iowa fought for their ideology to be included in the state platform.
Candidates who accept Republican nominations are supposed to be doing so with the commitment that they are going to represent the platform once they are elected. The platform is supposed to guide their legislative agenda.
However, candidates are usually just playing lip service to their constituents. Elected officials my family knew used to give me the wink when some nut case would step up to the microphone to argue for outlandish platform points. They acknowledged privately they would pretend to support certain issues, just to get elected.
So when the race baiting in the Republican party heats up, you will know why. Some person bothered to show up at a school cafeteria in Iowa, then took the time to follow their racist ideology all the way to the state meeting.
The Republican Party of Iowa should be ashamed of this blatant endorsement of slavery. I want to hear every Republican candidate running for president denounce this platform for the hate mongering it is. Unfortunately, we are more likely to get subtle clues and not so subtle clues that candidates can be racists too.