EDITORIAL: Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto proposes Senate mandates to ensure the body’s “diversity”

Catherine Cortez Masto gave an interview recently to Politico and the contents deserve more attention than they’ve received.

Nevadans last year elected Sen. Cortez Masto, a Democrat, as the first Latina to serve in the U.S. Senate. Earlier this month, she lamented to Politico that there are too many white people in the Senate and on Senate staffs. “We should be mandating diversity on our committees, mandating diversity in our hiring practices, mandating diversity throughout the United States Senate,” she said.

Note the word “mandating.” Not “encouraging” or “promoting.” To “mandate” means to “order” or “command.”

Does Sen. Cortez Masto seek a constitutional amendment to replace the democratic process with a federal quota system to ensure the “proper” distribution of pigments and chromosomes in the nation’s highest legislative body?

At a minimum, she seems to be advocating laws dictating that each Senate committee reflect an acceptable ethnic composition. But who will make such a determination? Do we need a federal panel to oversee each senator’s staff selections in the name of enforcing diversity decrees?

Such proposals would have been dismissed as ludicrous just a few years ago, but given the left’s surging obsession with race and gender, they’re likely within today’s liberal mainstream.

It’s distressing that government force and coercion, rather than persuasion and freedom, seem to be a constant theme coursing through the progressive agenda. Issuing ideological mandates couched in noble language about diversity is a recipe for division rather than progress. Besides, the type of diversity that Sen. Cortez Masto and others promote is actually designed to camouflage an intellectual conformity hidden amid the bright colors of the rainbow.

The late iconoclast Christopher Hitchens identified the identity politics that now defines the Democratic Party as a “sinister” and “deadly” force that promotes mindless tribalism over thought and freedom.

“It would never have done for any of us to stand up and say that our sex or sexuality or pigmentation or disability were qualifications in themselves,” Mr. Hitchens wrote in his 2011 memoir. “There are many ways of dating the moment when the left lost or — I would prefer to say — discarded its moral advantage, but this was the first time that I was to see the sellout conducted so cheaply.”

There is, of course, nothing wrong with developing opportunities for women and people of color. But what Sen. Cortez Masto advocates for the U.S. Senate goes far beyond that. She has now gone on the record elevating the pursuit of diversity for diversity’s sake above the Constitution and the country’s democratic traditions.

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