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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The tyranny of the minority

     We hear a great deal about the tyranny of the majority and the need to protect the rights of the minority This past weekend we saw the tyranny of the minority in the failure to convict Trump of insurrection.  By a vote of 57 to 43 Trump was spared the conviction he deserved.   

     The Constitution was written to provide for supermajorities in certain instances.   It takes a 2/3rd vote to override a presidential veto, approve a treaty, approve a constitutional amendment and convict an impeached president.  With the filibuster, it takes a 3/5th vote to stop a filibuster.   This high bar is one reason we have never had a conviction of a president, any recent constitutional amendments, and new treaties approved.   No other democratic country sets these high bars for approval of these issues and allows a minority to block the will of the majority.  Democracy is only functional with a strong majority rule.

      Conservatives are the main supporters for all of these minority protections are they have decided that they are comfortable being a minority party that can use these actions to block progressive legislation.  They feel less need to attempt to broaden their support by moderating their views to create a majority party.  They talk about bipartisanship only as a vehicle to lessen progressive legislation.   Bipartisanship is only talked about when they are in the minority and don't have power.  When they have the power they ignore the bipartisanship.  The examples of how they played the game of choosing Supreme Court justices by strictly partisan methods show how they play that game.

      The Senate is broken in making progress on legislation that is supported by the majority of citizens.  By its structure of giving every state the same number of senators, the conservation rural states play a disproportionate role in conservative blocking actions.  Add that reality to the conservatives' use of the filibuster to require 60 votes for most legislation and you see how the conservatives have little incentive to try to broaden their base.  Never forget that the filibuster came to be most commonly used to prevent civil rights legislation from being approved.  Until the filibuster rule is eliminated democracy in the United States is a reality that will not be achieved.


      The conservatives use one other method to undermine democracy but their attempts to limit the opportunity to vote.  Redistricting in a gerrymandered manner and throwing up barriers to make voting easier all work to permit the Republicans to continue to be a minority party.  Watch how conservatives will work in many states to restrict mail-in voting, early voting days, require voting ID, and reducing polling places to suppress the vote.


1 comment:

Rusty Toler said...

Spot on. What was left of "Democracy is coming to the USA" (Leonard Cohen's best song)
ended with the Senates vote last week to acquit the Former President.

The party , technically designated as the Republican party ,has not missed a beat this week - gearing up for 2022 and then 2024.