Honored Social Butterfly

It’s Dangerous When Minority Party Rules

It’s dangerous when the minority party rules everyone else


Before the end of the year, Amy Coney Barrett will probably be sworn in as a Supreme Court justice — and she may serve for decades. She will have been appointed by an impeached president who lost the popular vote in 2016 and may well continue in office after losing it again in 2020. She will almost certainly be approved by senators representing less than 45 percent of the American population.


Our nation is moving even deeper into minority rule: The House aside, the U.S. government is controlled by the less popular party in a polarized two-party system. We may call this unfair, but that would trivialize the problem. It is entirely permissible under the Constitution, and it is dangerous. When the majority of a nation’s citizens can’t get its candidates elected or its preferred policies passed, the government’s legitimacy is compromised and destabilizing pressure begins to build.


The tendency toward minority rule in the United States, present since the founding, has become more acute. That’s certainly true in the Senate: California has 68 times as many residents that Wyoming has, but the same number of senators. The disparity in population size between the biggest and smallest states is far greater than anything the founders knew.


Residents of rural, sparsely populated states are vastly overrepresented in the Senate. And because the electoral college is based on the number of federal representatives, this rural-state overrepresentation plays out in the selection of presidents, as well. Former vice president Joe Biden could well win the popular vote by three or four percentage points, or even more, this fall and still not be elected.


The House, the most democratic institution in the three branches of government, has no role in selecting Supreme Court justices. That’s the purview of the president and the Senate, which means that the composition of the high court has a minoritarian, rural-state bias built into it as well.


(According to a Washington Post-ABC News Poll, only 38 percent of Americans say the replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg should be nominated by Trump and confirmed by the current Senate; 57 percent say the nomination should be left to the winner of the presidential election, and put to a Senate vote next year.) Should a Trump nominee be confirmed, the Supreme Court will consist of six justices appointed by Republicans, even though the party has won the popular presidential vote only once in the past seven elections (George W. Bush, in 2004).


On its own, a rural state bias in representation is potentially problematic but not invidious. Plenty of issues in rural states should receive national attention, of course. But the problems mount when one party dominates the rural areas and the other dominates the urban ones, which is where we stand today. Republicans essentially get bonus points: They can be the less popular party and still get to govern.


Political science research reveals that ideologically extreme parties tend to do worse in elections than more moderate parties, and that parties that find themselves in the minority — and out of power — recognize the problem and recalibrate toward the center. But because of their built-in systemic advantage, Republicans face no such check. They have come to prefer winning narrowly with committed partisans than winning broadly with unreliable moderates. Such a strategy helped bring the nation President Trump.


This presents a further problem: How are Democrats to respond to an increasingly extreme, Trumpist Republican Party? Democratic leaders, when pressed with examples of Trump’s latest malfeasance, typically respond with, in effect, a one-word answer: “Vote.” It’s good advice, of course. But what if it’s not enough? What if Democrats continue to bring more people to the polls than Republicans but Republicans maintain control of most of government?


Democrats largely responded to the presidential elections in 2000 and 2016 — in which they won the popular vote — by conceding that rules are rules, and sometimes the more popular candidate just doesn’t get to be president. But how many such defeats will they take in stride? There may be a tipping point at which the situation becomes intolerable.


Since George Floyd’s death, in police custody, at the end of May, enormous numbers of protesters (many, although hardly all, Black) have taken to the streets to demand change. They have done so in large part because, with considerable justification, they don’t think that working within the system — voting regularly, calling their elected officials, showing up at city council meetings, etc. — is producing the change they need. Black people are still being killed by police officers who face few or no consequences. Protest and unrest are a predictable outcome when a population thinks the political system is completely unresponsive to its needs.


Imagine that dynamic multiplied many times over. When well more than half the country votes for one result — over and over — and continues to get another, the situation is unsustainable. This is how a government loses its legitimacy. Governments worldwide facing legitimacy crises have been faced with struggling to govern, as we saw in the Philippines under Ferdinand Marcos, or brutally cracking down on protests, as we saw in Egypt under Hosni Mubarak and continue to see under Abdel Fatah al-Sissi. It’s an ugly situation, and the United States is not immune.


Reform is possible — in theory. The Constitution can be amended to substantially change the electoral college procedure, as happened in 1804 when the 12th Amendment was ratified, allowing separate votes for president and vice president. But as long as one party considers the current system advantageous, it’s hard to imagine such an amendment attracting the supermajority support needed to pass. Other reforms — such as an interstate compact that would make presidential elections subject to the popular vote — are possible without an amendment.


And that reform, too, faces the brutal logic of minority rule: The party in power will fight desperately to keep its entrenched advantage (and deepen it, if possible). Almost by definition, the longer the anti-democratic spiral continues, the harder it becomes to reverse. And it’s not a counterargument to say that the advantages the Republicans have today are “constitutional.” In fact, that’s the heart of the problem.


It’s dangerous when the minority party rules everyone else 


It’s dangerous when the minority party rules everyone else....we sure see FAR more hate crimes, armed morons and militia's.  We need to regain control of our Democracy!

"FAKE 45 #illegitimate" read a sign at the Woman's March in DC, 1/27/2017
Honored Social Butterfly

It’s not only dangerous, it’s happening. 
How can trump claim to be in the majority when he lost the popular vote by 3 million, and between the House and Senate, less than half are trump repubs, who are holding our Country hostage...we are being ruled by a minority...time for change...Vote!

Honored Social Butterfly

Republicans Keep Admitting Everything They Said About Obama Was a Lie


White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, appearing on Fox News Sunday, repeated the official administration line that Democrats had to choose between legislation and investigation. Chris Wallace reminded Mulvaney that he had supported a Republican Congress that had engaged in continuous investigations of the White House, reopening probes to chase conspiracy theories even after they had been conclusively debunked.


This prompted Mulvaney to make an interesting confession. The Republican Congress never wanted to pass laws in the first place:


WALLACE: You were there, of what the Republicans did to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on Benghazi, on Fast and Furious. And they got some things done despite the fact that these were aggressive partisan investigations.


MULVANEY: Well, we didn’t get very much done. Listen, I’ll be the first to admit that when the tea party wave, of which I was one, got here in 2011, the last thing we were interested in was giving President Obama legislative successes.

When somebody says “I’ll be the first to admit,” it’s usually an idiom, suggesting they are not trying to hide a fact that is widely known and frequently confessed. But in this case the sentence construction makes more sense if read literally. Mulvaney may actually be the first person to admit that congressional Republicans did not want to give Obama any legislative successes at all.


Mitch McConnell boasted that he pressured Republicans to refuse to compromise with any of the Obama administration’s priorities in his first two years (“We worked very hard to keep our fingerprints off of these proposals. Because we thought — correctly, I think — that the only way the American people would know that a great debate was going on was if the measures were not bipartisan.”).


Yet after Republicans won control of Congress on the shoulders of a tea party wave of debt hysteria in 2010, a conventional wisdom took hold that President Obama needed to get Republicans to make a deal. Most outside observers conceded that the congressional GOP might not be the easiest negotiating counterparty. Still, Obama was widely held to bear a share of the blame for his inability to get Republicans to make a deal. He didn’t play enough golf with them, or drink enough with them, or “lead.” The idea that Obama could and should force Republicans to make deals with him was pure conventional wisdom for years on end.


As a high-profile link between the Obama-era Republican Congress and the Trump administration, Mulvaney has retrospectively clarified a lot of points people refused to understand at the time.


Mulvaney casually confessed last week that nobody cares about the deficit. Mulvaney of course spent the Obama era claiming to care about the deficit a lot — so much, indeed, that he was willing to shut down the government or even default on the national debt in order to reduce it. The debt hysteria was manufactured to cover a different agenda. Republicans wanted to force Obama to reduce popular domestic spending programs so they could cut taxes for the affluent. But since neither cutting retirement programs nor reducing taxes for the rich are popular goals, Republicans framed their policy as “deficit reduction,” and the debt-scold community and most of the mainstream news media took this framing at face value.


That’s one reason why Obama couldn’t make a deficit deal with Republicans: They didn’t care about the deficit. Also, as Mulvaney now casually concedes, they didn’t want to give him any accomplishments at all, so even if Obama offered a deal they could live with, they would have opposed it rather than allow him to claim legislative success.


The Republican Party of the last quarter century regularly toggles between methodological extremes. When they gain the presidency, they dismiss congressional oversight and fiscal responsibility alike as totally unnecessary. When they relinquish it, they pursue both to fanatical extremes. Either they are blowing up the deficit and covering up wild crime sprees, or they are demanding senseless austerity and conducting permanent, redundant investigations of phantasmal Fox News–generated nonevents.


Typically, they roll out a new cast of characters to justify the stance of the moment and allow the old ones to fade into the sunset. The Clinton-era inquisitors of Capitol Hill were gone from the scene when the Bush administration was escaping oversight and rolling up debt. The Bushies faded into the background when Obama-era Republicans waxed hysterical about debt and scandal. Now a new reversal is upon us. Unfortunately for Trump’s party, Mulvaney is still with us to answer for the past.


Republicans Keep Admitting Everything They Said About Obama Was a Lie 


Now, isn't THAT special....

"FAKE 45 #illegitimate" read a sign at the Woman's March in DC, 1/27/2017
Honored Social Butterfly

@Centristsin2010 wrote:


"FAKE 45 #illegitimate" read a sign at the Woman's March in DC, 1/27/2017
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Trusted Contributor


Centrist said: And the GOP was pledging not vto 0ote with Obama on ANYTHING, regardless of if amd how it approved America, race relations or moved the country forward.  It was difficult for the GOP to vote and side with a black man."


Never happened.  The fact checking sites say it's a lie.  But if you have any evidence to back it up certainly feel free to post it.  But thanks for another great example of why this site is a waste of time.  Regarding that, I forgot that when nothing else works, the norm here is change the subject and make a nonsensical comment to try to cover up the truth.  "YOUR truth is a sham.  THE truth is fair, usually reasonable AND objective!!! "  Yeah, right.  To rational people the truth is the truth regardless whether it fits your particular partisan views or how fair, reasonable or objective you might find it.



Regular Contributor

This strong leader, full of energy, able to make split second decisions, having supreme intellect, who the world will follow with his demanding leadership, will straighten everything out

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Honored Social Butterfly

I'm not sure you can even call the Republican Party a political party anymore.

Under Trump, they have become a mindless cult obeying an insane leader ..... thanking and praising Trump as they are falling over a cliff!



Trusted Contributor

What's truly dangerous is what is currently happening to the media in this country, especially the Post which was once the greatest newspaper in the country but has become nothing more than another tabloid like the National Inquirer.


The only thing more dangerous is the lack of knowledge of the principles under which this country was founded, especially since they were clearly explained by the founding fathers in the Federalist Papers.


First and foremost. this country was founded as, and always has been, a conglomeration of states with each state having equal representation. That's why each state has two senators.  While the House was established to ensure the population had a voice, the Founders stated specifically they were concerned that large population centers could grow to the point of selecting the President and dictating to the states. To make sure that didn't happen they came up with the electoral college.


And now we are in the exact situation the Founding Fathers wanted to avoid. The people in the large population centers are whining about giving more power to the population than the states. Fortunately, the Founders were wise enough to foresee that when they established how the Constitution could be changed. Three-fourths of the states have to vote in favor of it.


Anyone who believes that three-fourths of the states are going to vote to give away the power they have to the large population states so they can be dictated to needs to try a little IQ building. It's never gonna happen. So let's stop whining and move on to a topic that's at least within the realm of possibility.

Honored Social Butterfly


@EricH3 wrote:


EricH...well said.  But IMO, your point is dated (no pun intended).  The framers put the 3/4th requirement in because they knew a time would come when the states would make changes to the Constitution.  As you may know, 33 times since the Constitution was written in 1789, the states were sent new amendments to ratify 33 times, 27 times the states ratified the amendments are some, I think 5 or 6 are still pending. So it seems to me the process works.


As far as some states giving up power, who knows? Some may have to give up some control to remain solvent.  With possibilities of additional states joining the Union, the 75% threshold may become easier to attain.  Who know?  Did anyone actually believe someone would be such a threat to our Democracy here would be elected?  I think now!


IMO, the Post is far from the Nation Enquirer, but we are both entitled to our opinions; no?


"FAKE 45 #illegitimate" read a sign at the Woman's March in DC, 1/27/2017
Recognized Social Butterfly


Do you actually believe that the founders foresaw that there would be one state that had a population over 68 times that of another?  I, for one, do not think the founders were omnipotent.  If we refuse to change with the times, eventually our Country will be destroyed.

BTW, the theory that a few a large states will be able to exert control over the rest is ridiculous, look at the math, especially if each vote was treated equally.

Honored Social Butterfly

Residents of rural, sparsely populated states are vastly overrepresented in the Senate. 



That's how the Constitution was written - so each state would have two Senators regardless of population and the House would be based on population.  This way, even the "small states" get some say on how the laws were passed, but you knew that already!


Just say no to Sleepy Joe and BLM cult!

Honored Social Butterfly


Residents of rural, sparsely populated states are vastly overrepresented in the Senate. 



That's how the Constitution was written - so each state would have two Senators regardless of population and the House would be based on population.  Yep.  They also determined who was a witch by throwing them, feet and hands bound, into the water to see if they floated.....what made sense 200+ years ago isn't necessarily appropriate today. This way, even the "small states" get some say on how the laws were passed, but you knew that already!  Yep! "some say" is much different than equitable say....


"FAKE 45 #illegitimate" read a sign at the Woman's March in DC, 1/27/2017
Honored Social Butterfly

Yep! "some say" is much different than equitable say....


"Equitable say" is what the Constitution is all about.  If you don't like it, there are two choices - leave or take the steps to have it changed (and that isn't by rioting)!


Say no to Joe and BLM cult!

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