Sunday, November 04, 2018

Entrenching Minority Rule

If you want to know how Republicans captured the government of the United States, take a good look at what they've done over the last two decades. Ian Samuel writes that they have entrenched minority rule:

Minority rule is the result of interlocking and mutually reinforcing strategies which must be understood together to understand the full picture of what the American right wants to achieve.
Examples are everywhere. Take North Dakota. In 2012, Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, won a surprise victory in a Senate race by just 2,994 votes. Her two largest county wins were in the Standing Rock and Turtle Mountain Reservations, where she won more than 80% of the vote. Her overall vote margin in counties containing Native reservations was more than 4,500 votes.
Observing that Heitkamp literally owed her seat to Native voters, North Dakota’s Republican legislature enacted a voter ID law that requires voters to present identification showing their name, birth date and residential address. There’s the rub: many Native voters do not have traditional residential addresses, so this law effectively disenfranchises them.
Or take Georgia, where the Republican nominee for governor, Brian Kemp, is the secretary of state and in that capacity has placed more than 50,000 voter registrations on hold, many from urban areas with high black populations. That is in keeping with Kemp’s privately expressed “concern” that high voter turnout will favor his opponent – Stacey Abrams, running strongly to be the first black female governor in US history.
Exacerbating voter suppression is the ongoing partisan gerrymandering effort – the redrawing of electoral maps to favor one party over another. After the 2010 census, the Wisconsin legislature (controlled by Republicans) drew a map for the state’s legislative districts explicitly designed to ensure they would retain control of the legislature even if they received a minority of votes. It worked: in 2012, despite receiving only 48.6% of the vote, they won 60 of 99 seats. Democrats won an outright majority of votes cast but secured just 39 seats.

And, because of the way the electoral college works, the last two Republican presidents became President while capturing a minority of the popular vote:

The two most recent Republican presidents have entered office despite receiving fewer votes than their opponent in a national election, thanks to the electoral college, which systematically over-represents small states. (California gets one electoral vote per 712,000 people; Wyoming gets one per 195,000.) With the presidency in hand in the run-up to the 2020 census, minority rule will be further entrenched by adding a citizenship question to the census. This will result in systematic undercounting of the population in heavily Democratic areas, which will in turn further reduce their influence as legislatures draw maps based on the data.

The American Right have known for a long time that they are supported by a minority of voters. But that hasn't stopped their march to power. And they intend to keep things that way.

Image: Metaphysical Outlaws in America


e.a.f. said...

The U.S.A. isn't a democracy and really never has been. voting as enshrined in the Constitution was for land owning white males. Once those rules started to change, they decided to ensure the policy of retaining the vote for white land owning males continued. If the U.S.A. tries to tell the world, they're the greatest democracy around, they ought to be confronted about it, because its big on voter suppression, no different than those countries which have their elections monitored.

In the U.S.A. to gain your right to vote, groups are continually in court. Now some might suggest the system works then. However, as the republicans stack the courts with their version of a good judge, that door closes tighter and tighter.

We might want to expect an influx of American citizens as political refugees as dtrump starts to change the rules regarding lives of the LBGTQ community and Jews. The synagogue shooting won't be fire last. The Republicans won't be happy until the only ones voting are those who voted in the early 1800s.

Owen Gray said...

For about four decades, the United States gave lots of people the franchise, e.a.f. But the Republicans always knew that more voters translated into fewer votes for them. And they have been trying -- for about three decades -- to take away the expanded franchise. For the last fifteen years, they've succeed in reversing the progress that was made.