Democrats push for unfettered majority rule because they see it as their means to permanent empowerment. The concept has a certain appeal at first blush – especially for those who do not understand the dangers of pure majority rule.
America has never been a nation based on a system in which a majority coalition or party would ALWAYS win. That is what you see in authoritarian governments where minority viewpoints and powers are suppressed.
In American history, one can see the destructive nature of majority rule. We saw it in Dixie when the Democratic Party operated on majority rule … period. We also see it in many of our troubled cities – again where the Democratic Party has long maintained one-party majority rule.
We have seen many examples of parties that rose to power and then used the power of majority to suppress and even outlaw the opposition. We have been witnessing how majority rule has crushed the reform movement in Hong Kong.
Majority rule is most dangerous when it comes to matters of political power. Hitler rose to leadership by relatively democratic means, but once in power, he created a tyrannical majority rule.
The Founders understood that in a society in which some folks have views different from the majority, those opinions must be respected and protected. Some of those minority protections were embodied in the Constitution – while others evolved.
The American constitutional system is founded on majority rule WITH MINORITY PROTECTIONS.
The Electoral College is one example of minority protection. It protects the influence and voice of many states against the power of a coalition of large monolithic states. It also settles our presidential elections – preventing the constitutional crisis of a disputed presidential election and protracted lawsuits.
The filibuster is another means of protecting the rights of the minority. With an evenly divided Senate, it prevents the majority from simply running the table on legislation. Democrats may be frustrated that they cannot simply impose their will on the government and the people, but the even split in the Senate means that Democrats do not have a mandate from the people. That means there is a sizeable minority that needs to be considered.
Illinois once had a method of electing three members to the state legislature from each district – two of one party and one of the opposition party. It assured that at any time – despite the political winds of the moment – the minority would have at least one-third of the membership. Illinois abandoned that practice — and that led to a corrupt and autocratic leadership in which one Democrat – Speaker Michael Madigan — held almost dictatorial power for 36 years and literally wiped out all meaningful opposition in the legislature. The result was the collapse of the Illinois economy.
The danger of unfettered majority rule was expressed – albeit unintentionally – by New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during the 2020 campaign. She said it was essential for Democrats to take control of both the House and the Senate so that there would be “no need to negotiate” with Republicans.
The danger to the democracy comes more from the left than the right. The left’s pursuit of an increasingly large and powerful central government makes tyranny-of-the-majority a real possibility. The left – politicians and media – make no secret of their authoritarian ambitions. They have openly called for the Republican Party to be “wiped out,” “crushed” and “annihilated.” Those are the exact words they have used.
It is that concept of “minority protection” that keeps the American Republic a nation “of the people, by the people and for the people.” And we had better not forget it.
So, there ‘tis.