Minority Rule

The problem is real.

“Confused Democracy” by Steven Taylor is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Political scientist Seth Masket makes a point that I frequently make here at OTB: It’s dangerous when the minority party rules everyone else.

Before the end of the year, Amy Coney Barett 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 piece outlines a number of issues that need to be repeated so that they are understood, including the disparities in representation between large and small states and the disjuncture in representation between urban and rural voters.

He also highlights a matter I have noted but I think needs to be amplified:

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. 

One thing is for sure: when vast numbers of citizens feel that the government is not listening, they will find other ways to be heard. And while those citizens may not always understand exactly why their issues aren’t addressed, over time they do notice.

Minority rule will eventually lead to a serious crisis.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Democracy, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    Trump supporters will tell you that no one in government ever listened to them, and that’s why they voted and will vote for Trump.

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  2. Jc says:

    Minority rule would end if people would all vote. Turnout by minorities and people in general is weak. Trump would not be POTUS had there been minority turnout like 2008 and 2012. I don’t want to go out every year and vote for old white guys, but if they are the only progressives on the ballot, ya gotta do it, period. Would love to see two day holiday to vote in this country. We tout the greatness of our government system, yet limit participation in it by making voting, a pain in the ass for most people.

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  3. @CSK: Ironically, I do think that part of what motivates some Trump voters is the lack of representativeness that j have discussed. They just don’t understand that the GOP really isn’t likely to forward their interests.

    @Jc: Better voter turnout would help, but it will
    not fix the underlying problems.

    Note voter turnout will not make the Senate more representative nor will more voter turnout fix the myriad flaws of single seat districts (e.g., voter turnout can’t fix gerrymandering).

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  4. Scott F. says:

    Before the end of the year, Amy Coney Barett 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.

    The media in the coming weeks will make this about Barrett’s conservative views or her dogma or her brilliance and decency, but for me, this nomination has nothing to do with her and everything to do with this.

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  5. @Scott F.: Agreed. The nomination itself is not my main issue. My main issue is how profoundly it reflects minority rule.

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  6. JohnMcC says:

    Difficult to separate this important issue from the issue/problem of ‘legitimacy’ as it was discussed in a recent thread on these pages. My two sisters, both TeaParty conservatives and outspoken Christians simply do not believe that winning the most votes makes a Democrat ‘legitimate’ (altho they do not use that word). They are not alone. My interpretation of the ‘problem’ discussed in the OP is that the R-party/Fox Nation/’Conservative Movement’ side of things believe that only they should govern.

    If only they knew how to govern.

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  7. Scott F. says:

    @JohnMcC:

    My interpretation of the ‘problem’ discussed in the OP is that the R-party/Fox Nation/’Conservative Movement’ side of things believe that only they should govern.

    When I read Dr. Taylor’s earlier OP on Breonna Taylor, I couldn’t help thinking of an omission when he brought up the wars on crime and drugs. He left out the war against liberals – those of us on the left who have been named as Destroyers of Civilization because… well, for reasons that have never been very clear to me.

    And in war your side is righteous, the other side is enemy combatants and you win by destroying your opponent. The smaller force of Spartans won over the much larger army of Persians in the Battle of Thermopylae and history sees the minority force as heroes of the ages. That’s how so many on the Right see themselves. Legitimacy is besides the point.

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  8. Hal_10000 says:

    Minority rule and the failure to enact police reform have nothing to do with each other. The biggest failure are on the part of cities, most of which are run by Democrats. The Democrats have done little to reign in police abuses, done nothing about QI, done nothing about the military gear being sent to police. California just defeated a very mild police reform bill and there are maybe three Republicans in the state. Republicans focus on law and order but Dems are utterly beholden to unions and refuse to cross them. The effect is the same.

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  9. Gustopher says:

    @Hal_10000: I assure you that the police departments of Podunk towns are no less worse. The average one will have fewer incidents per year, because there are fewer people and fewer minorities, so they just have less opportunity to make racially biased errors and other errors.

    They are corrupt as fuck.

    This is a case where neither party has even really attempted to deal with the issue, and where Democrats are waking up to it but Republicans are still approving of it.

    Dems are utterly beholden to unions and refuse to cross them

    Police unions are not a hotbed of Democratic support.

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  10. charon says:

    @Jc:

    yet limit participation in it by making voting, a pain in the ass for most people.

    Most western states vote by mail (entirely or e.g. AZ largely) which pretty much negates that problem.

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  11. charon says:

    @Jc:

    yet limit participation in it by making voting, a pain in the ass for most people.

    It is especially difficult in heavily black precincts in the deep South and some midwest states for obvious reasons, which helps perpetuate the rule of the minority herrenvolk party.

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  12. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Hal, the problem with the lack of police reform is only in a small part under the control of city political leaders. Local governments exist at the will of the state legislatures who proscribe what the local government can and can’t do. Generally if the legislature has not told a local gov that it can do something the default is that local gov can’t. This is was a hard lesson learned by the moronic Minneapolis city council.

    If you want to blame some level of gov for local problems, you should start with state government.

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  13. James Joyner says:

    While we agree on the overall problem—the increasing unrepresentativeness of the processes for electing the President and the US Senate—Masket’s tie to the anti-police protests is rather dubious. For the most part, that’s a local issue and one person, one vote has been the norm in state and local government going back to at least Baker v Carr in 1962. Indeed, many of the cities with the biggest problems/protests have Black mayors and/or Black police chiefs. So, while there may well be a psychological linkage, I don’t know that there’s a structural one.

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  14. Nightcrawler says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    part of what motivates some Trump voters is the lack of representativeness that j have discussed. They just don’t understand that the GOP really isn’t likely to forward their interests.

    Yes and no. A lot of DT supporters are willing to slit their own throats and bleed out on the floor in an effort to “own the libs” and “make liberals cry.”

    I had a crazy aunt who did things like this. She’d screw herself financially, in enormous ways, because getting revenge on someone else was more important to her than making sound business decisions. She was willing to lose if that meant someone she didn’t like also lost out. Ironically, the targets of her rage rarely lost as much as she thought they did.

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  15. @James Joyner:

    So, while there may well be a psychological linkage, I don’t know that there’s a structural one.

    Clearly, when speaking about things like mass behavior, we are dealing with psychological motivations. Protests arise due to a confluence of situations and reactions to them.

    I have stated before that I think the protests (and other mass behaviors, like some voting for Trump) had been influenced by the lack of perceived representativeness in our system (not that I can prove it, per se. It is really more of a hypothesis).

    I think, however, that you are over-estimating the degree to which the fact that certain progress (Baker v. Carr or the election of Black mayors) is sufficient to address what Masket raises or that I have discussed in the past.

    I wrote more that I am going to try to craft into a post.

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  16. @Hal_10000:

    Yes and no. A lot of DT supporters are willing to slit their own throats and bleed out on the floor in an effort to “own the libs” and “make liberals cry.”

    Two quick rejoinders, and as I said to James, likely another post on this:

    1. Any kind of federal response is clearly hampered, if not made impossible when Republicans control the Senate.
    2. The courts, from the lower courts all the way to the SCOTUS are populated, and in the case of SCOTUS, soon to be heavily populated by Trump appointees (and will have a 6-3 strongly conservative bloc). If you were someone who thought that reforms would have to make it through a court challenge, how would you feel about your prospects?

    And on the courts in general, I will point out yet again: one GOP president has won the popular vote (Bush in 2004) once out of seven tries, and yet has won 3 terms in office. That’s a lot of judges in place to influence these outcomes.

    So yes, minority rules is very much part of this discussion.

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  17. Northerner says:

    In parliamentary systems (at least the ones whose seats are determined by first past the post riding elections, which is most of them), minority rule is the norm. In Canada, the UK and Germany its rare for the party that gets the majority of the seats to get more than 40% of the vote.

    Minority rule creates far fewer problems in those countries than it does in America. I suspect that is in part because of the differences between parliamentary systems and presidential systems, but more because of how partisan American politics has become. I doubt any system would work under those circumstances (my outsider’s guess is that Trump is driving much of that craziness, but he’d cause problems in any system if 40% of the population were willing to vote for his leadership).

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  18. @Northerner: Depending on what you are talking about, there are some huge differences.

    1. There is a difference between plurality winners (getting the most votes and not an absolute majority and actually having the minority govern) and letting the second-place party rule instead of the first-place party.
    2. In parliamentary systems, such as yours, even when there is a minority government that government still has to be able to get an agreement with other parties to be able to form. And it is typically the party with the most seat, or a coalition that has the most seats.

    Fundamentally: in any parliamentary system wherein the election does not produce a party with a majority of seats either parties have to join together in a coalition to construct that majority or, a party or coalition with the plurality of seats will form a minority government, but that requires the acquiescence of some other party or parties in the parliament to allow them to do so. Else, there will be new elections. (I say all that for those who may not be familiar).

    So, I am not talking about a situation in which the largest bloc of voters (or largest bloc of seats in parliament) get to govern. I am talking about groups that get fewer votes than others being allowed to govern.

    Trump won fewer votes than HRC, but became president.

    Senate Republicans literally represented fewer people than do Senate Democrats.

    And combined they are directly populating the Supreme Court.

    This is rule by the minority over the majority, plain and simple.

    This is not analogous to a minority government in a parliamentary system.

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  19. @Northerner:

    at least the ones whose seats are determined by first past the post riding elections, which is most of them

    BTW, what you are describing here is disproportionality, and it is also a representativeness problem that FPTP creates. The UK parliament, for example, is not as representative as it could be if the UK used different rules.

    BTW, the German parliament is not elected by FPTP, it is elected by MMP which a proportional system.

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  20. charon says:

    @Northerner:

    my outsider’s guess is that Trump is driving much of that craziness,

    Trump gave the GOP a push down the path it was already traveling, got it there faster. Now Trump and the GOP are pushing each other along, mutual reinforcement. People like Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley are pretty extreme also and coming to dominate the GOP.

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  21. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Northerner:

    In first past the post parliamentary systems, typically the party winning a plurality needs a minor party partner to achieve a majority. Think the UK under Cameron with the Conservatives partnering with the Liberals or the eternal dating of parties in Israel.

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  22. charon says:

    Minority rule is giving disproportionate power to the media that caters to that minority – Fox, Sinclair, Rush, Mark Levin etc. etc. etc.

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  23. Teve says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Dems are utterly beholden to unions and refuse to cross them. The effect is the same.

    The issue isn’t unions. I’m in a union, the Communications Workers of America. If I punched a customer the union would kick me out the door themselves. The problem is politicians making shitty deals with police unions.

    Unions are just about the only thing that ever helped the average person.

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  24. @Nightcrawler: Sure. But individuals don’t necessarily tell us anything about mass behavior. And to be clear, I am not suggesting that all Trump voters were motivated in the way that I suggested.

    I just think it is a reasonable hypothesis that some subset of the overall Trump vote was motivated by the fact that they do not feel represented and since there are only two real choices, gave him a try in hope of having their needs addressed.

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  25. Northerner says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    So, I am not talking about a situation in which the largest bloc of voters (or largest bloc of seats in parliament) get to govern. I am talking about groups that get fewer votes than others being allowed to govern.

    That is actually the normal situation in parliamentary systems (as I mentioned, and as you say in your next post, it comes from having FPTP system). Its normal in Canada for a party to get a majority of seats (over 50% of the seats) with about 40% of the vote. Its not ideal by any means, and I’m one of those that think we should have a system of proportional representation (unfortunately while about half of Canadians want such a system, there’s no agreement on which of the many forms it should take, so provincial referendums on it always fail). However, the problems of illegitimacy you mention aren’t nearly as severe as in America (as I said, its pretty much the norm) — and generally are tied to regional representation (the West or Quebec feeling left out) rather than to the majority/minority aspect.

    Moreover, there have been cases where the party gaining the majority of seats has a smaller percentage of the popular vote than the second party (ie the official opposition), for the same reason your electoral college produces that result — vote concentration (and different regions of the country having different numbers of voters per riding). Again its not ideal, but has never created the problems it does in America (our problems are more about regionalism, mainly large numbers in Quebec and the West feeling confederation isn’t working for them).

    In terms of minority gov’ts (ie a coalition is needed to gain 50% of the votes in the House of Commons), many people (myself included) think in practice they work far better than majority gov’ts, and wish there was a way to directly vote “some minority gov’t”. Coalition gov’ts tend to be far more responsive to people than majority gov’ts (who have no barriers to enacting their goals — parliament in Canada has in practice the combined power of your presidency and your congress/senate).

    In terms of Germany, their gov’t members are half drawn from constituencies, half from proportional representation. I’m not sure though if the constituency representatives come from FPTP or through run-offs to get over 50%.

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  26. Northerner says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Actually in Canada traditionally getting 40% of the vote is enough to gain 50+% percent of the seats. Having four viable (if regional) parties does that. Most of our gov’ts have been majority gov’ts, and few of them have had over 50% of the vote (its typically a landslide when they do). I believe the same is true for the UK (for instance Boris Johnson has over 50% of the seats with 43% of the vote).

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  27. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    I look at the pro-Trump websites–mainly Lucianne.com–and it’s astonishing how strongly they feel that Trump has listened to them and has addressed their needs. Even more astonishing is how they’ll invent accomplishments to suit the occasion. They truly despise not only the Democrats but all other Republicans, with one or two exceptions such as Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley.

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  28. @Northerner: I just want to stress that a pluralitarian outcome is different than a minority outcome.

    I am not sure if you are misunderstanding that point or if we are just talking past one another. Indeed, I think you are using the terms slightly differently than I am.

    For example:

    In terms of minority gov’ts (ie a coalition is needed to gain 50% of the votes in the House of Commons), many people (myself included) think in practice they work far better than majority gov’ts, and wish there was a way to directly vote “some minority gov’t”.

    Coalitions that can achieve 50%+1 of the chamber are not minority governments. They have a majority of the seats in parliament

    So, the fact that a coalition has to be formed requires a majority of seats ultimately. Even a minority government in a parliamentary sense requires the agreement of a majority of parliament to proceed.

    In none of those scenarios is a minority government against the will of the majority.

    Germany’s MMP system does elect roughly half its seats in single-seat constituencies via plurality, but the actual distribution of seats in the parliament is determined by the national vote on a proportional basis. It is very a different system than straight FPTP.

    I, think, too, you are missing the fundamental differences between parliamentary and presidential systems: a government still has to be formed in parliamentary systems in ways that are simply not the case in presidential ones.

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  29. Halvar says:

    Trump won the popular vote by a comfortable margin outside of California and New York City. So, Republicans are the majority party outside of New York City and California.

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  30. @Halvar: So, if you exclude millions of American citizens from the tally, Trump does better.

    That isn’t much of an argument.

    Indeed, it isn’t an argument at all.

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  31. Halvar says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I was not making an argument, I was noting facts that affect the political landscape.

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  32. Northerner says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Its quite possible that I’m missing the key distinction you’re making (I’m an engineer rather than a political scientist). In the end I was just trying to make the case that the current problem in America wrt minority gov’t has more to do with the population (ie that 45% of the 50% who bother to vote would vote for someone like Trump) than your system. However, given my lack of anything but general interest knowledge of either political systems in general and especially of American politics in particular, its quite likely that I’m wrong in this. Interesting discussion in any case, thanks.

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  33. KM says:

    @Halavar:
    Land doesn’t vote – people do. If a tenth if the liberals moved to red states, NYC and CA would still be blue but now the Midwest would be too.

    Face it, empty areas that are red can be flipped easily because there just aren’t that many conservatives. Y’all spread out and act like that means there’s more of you – kinda like a scared cat puffing itself up to look bigger and more threatening.

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  34. JohnMcC says:

    @charon: WaPo has in it’s “Live Updates” a report on Sen Cotton’s remarks on CNN State of the Union this morning. He reassures us that he’s certain Mr Trump will gracefully give up the Presidency ‘in 2025 after President Trump finishes his second term’. He adds that if the Supreme Court tells him that he lost, Sen Cotton is pretty sure he’ll oblige them and leave office.

    I feel such relief!

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  35. gVOR08 says:

    I would suggest that the problem is far worse than Masket paints it. The fraudulent nature of the Republican Party hides the real nature and scale of the problem. We are only partially subject to the 45% or so who voted for Trump and will again. The real size of the minority controlling the country is closer to 0.1%, the plutocrats who actually control the Republican Party.

    And since they can only get 45%, of course they use a small state strategy and do what they can with gerrymandering and vote suppression. They know their program of upward income transfer and environmental destruction can’t attract a majority, But if they hide their real program and carefully target their efforts geographically, they can get close enough with a faux populism based on culture war and racism.

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  36. Mister Bluster says:

    @Halvar:..I was not making an argument
    Donald Trump won the election according to the rules set in The Constitution of the United States. What are you whining about?

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  37. @Halvar:

    I was not making an argument, I was noting facts that affect the political landscape.

    To be blunt it is a nonsensical, although I recognize popular, observation.

    If I said that HRC would have won if you removed enough red states from the mix, would that persuade you of anything?

    By definition the removal of tens of millions of citizens from the mix changes the outcome of an election.

    You might as well say: if California was never admitted to the Union, the outcome would be different.

    So what?

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  38. Halvar says:

    @KM: I’m not sure about that. Most of those who come here to Austin from CA and NY adopt our ways. My elite and costly private gun club is packed with new members and there is usually a waiting list to rent one of our submachine guns. Wild game processors were overwhelmed during the 2019-2020 deer season. I had to keep the meat of 3 deer in my garage refrigerator for a week waiting to get in…thats never happened before. They are buying our 3000 sq. ft. single family homes for $500K to $1 million, homes that would be $2 – $3 million where they come from. Good public schools. Plenty of electricity, Texas has its own grid (23% wind), and few fires. I get the feeling they are like frogs who have jumped out of the warming pot and realize how good things are outside of CA and NY. I do not get the feeling they want to go back go gun bans, brown outs, high criminal violence, horrible public schools, etc.

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  39. al Ameda says:

    @Hal_10000:

    The Democrats have done little to reign in police abuses, done nothing about QI, done nothing about the military gear being sent to police. California just defeated a very mild police reform bill and there are maybe three Republicans in the state. Republicans focus on law and order but Dems are utterly beholden to unions and refuse to cross them. The effect is the same.

    @Gustopher:

    Police unions are not a hotbed of Democratic support.

    It is no accident that former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker busted the non-public safety unions and left the conservative voting public safety unions alone.

    I grew up in a public safety family and my father and his many police and fire friends, even 40 years ago, viscerally disliked Democratic politicians. It’s the same today.

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  40. Halvar says:

    @Mister Bluster: I am not whining at all. I am noting the political geography that resulted in Trump’s victory and the political climate in fly-over America. If Biden wants to win he will have to expand his geographic support. Hillary lost despite a large majority of the Lazarusians.

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  41. @Northerner:

    I’m missing the key distinction you’re making

    For clarity’s sake, let me offer the following:

    Example 1: Party A has 52% popular support and Party B has 48% support.

    If Party A is allowed to govern, then this is unambiguous majority rule.

    Example 2: Party A has 45% support, Party B has 40% support. and the rest is distributed to smaller parties.

    In this case, Party A has plurality support (also known as a simple majority) and it is not unusual for Party A to be allowed to govern. While this is not the absolute majority being allowed to govern (because the combined opposition is the absolute majority) we would still deem this majority rule.

    Example 3: Party A has 45% support, Party B has 42% support, and the rest goes to other parties.

    If Party B is allowed to govern, that is minority rule by definition, as party B has neither absolute nor simple majority support. (And in this example I am not saying that Party B works with Parties C, D, and E to form a majority or get consent to form a minority government. I am saying that they are allowed to govern with that support).

    There are multiple issues (how proportional in the electoral system, what kinds of governing powers do institutions have, the whole pres v. parl business) that also come into play.

    The bottom line in that in the US the current president does not win plurality support, nor does the Senate majority represent a plurality of citizens, and it is possible for the House to go to the party that won the second most share of the national vote (as happened in 2012). These are all examples of actual rule by the minority without any coalition-building or anything else.

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  42. Halvar says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Calm down Steve, take some CBD oil. The political landscape was what it was and HRC lost. Biden will loose unless the political landscape changes as a result of his getting broader geographic support. He has to win both numbers and places, that is how federalism works.

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  43. Teve says:

    Trump won the popular vote by a comfortable margin outside of California and New York City. So, Republicans are the majority party outside of New York City and California.

    made it til early afternoon before reading the stupidest thing I’ll read today. That’s cool.

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  44. de stijl says:

    @Halvar:

    If a candidate wins the popular vote and loses the election something is wrong in the system.

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  45. Halvar says:

    @de stijl: Not in the USA or any other federal system of government. In the USA the U.S. Senate and the Electoral College are the elements of federal governance. The Electoral College means the president must win by numbers and places. The USA is not a mass democracy.

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  46. charon says:

    @Halvar:

    I do not get the feeling they want to go back go gun bans, brown outs, high criminal violence, horrible public schools, etc.

    Most of that is untrue (FNC etc. propaganda) the rest is not the real motivation – they just do not like the CA income tax.

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  47. Kylopod says:

    @Halvar:

    He has to win both numbers and places, that is how federalism works.

    Um…no. The EC isn’t “how federalism works,” it’s how the US works. There are many federalist countries in the world. Not one besides the US elects its leader this way. Not one.

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  48. @Halvar:

    any other federal system of government.

    This is categorically not true.

    The following countries are federal and have a president: Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico.

    In none of those cases can the person with the second most votes become president.

    Indeed, of all the presidential systems in the world, only in the US can the person with second most votes become president.

    Also, if we look at federal systems that are not presidential (e.g., Canada, Australia, Germany, Belgium, etc.) the Prime Minister has to have majority supporting the parliament, not second place support.

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  49. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Halvar:
    Well, if your gun nut club is growing it must mean Republicans are gaining.

    In much the same way that if coffee shops serving espresso drinks are growing it must mean Democrats are gaining.

    Hey, genius: if a million people move to Texas an 1% are gun-lovin’ Republicans that alone would overwhelm your club. Right? Riiiight.

    It’s always interesting, if disturbing, getting an insight into what passes for thought among Republicans.

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  50. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I gotta admit, ‘if you exclude 48 million voters our guy wins’ is impressively stupid.

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  51. Northerner says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Thank-you, that explains it very clearly.

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  52. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Halvar:
    A small additional note: not everyone who wants to fire a machine gun on a range is a gun lover, let alone a MAGAt. I’ve fired 20 and 12 gauge shotguns. Also 22, 22LR, 32, 38, 44 mag and 45 caliber pistols. And 22LR, .270 and .30-06 rifles. Also Thompson submachine gun and BAR. Probably some others, random carbines and whatnot. First gun I ever fired was a Ruger 44 magnum. In fact at various times I owned a Marlin lever action, a 20 gauge (forget the make) and a 45 Colt Commander.

    You know how most people can drink alcohol without becoming a slobbering drunk? Some us can fire guns without joining the cult of the dickless gun nut.

    Last gun I owned was that Colt 45, 40 years ago. I traded it for a camera. Know why? Because it was making me dependent and weak. Turns out I don’t need a gun to be a man. Who knew, right?

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  53. Mister Bluster says:

    @Teve:..‘if you exclude 48 million voters our guy wins’ is impressively stupid.

    Gotta’ wonder how Republicans want to disenfranchise American Citizens who vote for Democratic candidates in any election…

    Let’s ask Halvar.
    Halvar how do you propose to eradicate American Citizens who legally vote in the United States jurisdictions of the State of California and the City of New York?
    This is what you want isn’t it?

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  54. grumpy realist says:

    There was a similarly impressively stupid comment made by someone who was protesting President Obama’s second win: “if you leave out women, our guy won!”

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  55. Teve says:

    Stolen from a friend: If you take out New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, 9/11 didn’t happen DURRRRR DURR DURRRRRRR.

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  56. Kylopod says:

    @grumpy realist:

    There was a similarly impressively stupid comment made by someone who was protesting President Obama’s second win: “if you leave out women, our guy won!”

    Byron York is the pundit who said that if you took away blacks, Obama wasn’t that popular.

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  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Nightcrawler: Your crazy aunt sounds a like she must own commercial property in my area. Most of the commercial property lies vacant. Currently because of Covid-19 and because the area has started to die since we were able to get rid of the high paying union jobs and work force that had been the enemy of local conservatives. But the downtown has been largely vacant for over a generation–I first moved here in 1994–and locals tell me that the practice for a long as they can remember was that owners would refuse to rent to people associated with others that they didn’t like. One of my former coworkers expressed it thus:

    They say, “why I’d rather let the property collapse in ruin than let a friend of his or hers see even a dime’s worth of profit from it.”

    And now they’ve gotten their wish.

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  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    1. Any kind of federal response is clearly hampered, if not made impossible when Republicans control the Senate.
    2. The courts, from the lower courts all the way to the SCOTUS are populated, and in the case of SCOTUS, soon to be heavily populated by Trump appointees (and will have a 6-3 strongly conservative bloc). If you were someone who thought that reforms would have to make it through a court challenge, how would you feel about your prospects?

    Sadly, I’ve become convinced that for people like Hal and Dr. Joyner (and I’d be happy to be wrong about both of them personally) these are features, not bugs. That the system fails in this specific manner is the only thing giving them hope that things will turn out alright. Even if it’s only ashes left, they’ll be in charge of the carnage, and that’s enough.

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  59. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Nixon’s “Great Silent Majority” really IS alive and well in the conservative ecosphere. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to discover that, for example, Lucianne.com patrons believe that they are an actual numerical majority of the population and that the kinds of stuff that Dr. Taylor is talking about is merely statistical trickery/manipulation.

    “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure” and “There are 3 kinds of false information: lies, damned lies, and statistics” didn’t spring from nowhere, after all.

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  60. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Halvar: I’m not sure that I understand how the fact that upper middle blue staters have the same hobbies and interests in public amenities that upper middle red staters have reinforces your argument. But if you say it does, laissez les bons temps roullez.

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  61. Teve says:

    @Kylopod: the original article, and York’s followup, have been deleted, but it was “his sky-high ratings among African-Americans make some of his positions appear a bit more popular overall than they actually are.” Which was one of the funnier ‘Durr, whatya mean I’m racist?” moments I’ve ever witnessed.

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  62. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: Commenting on it at the time, Adam Serwer summed up the issue: “This is another example of a really bizarre genre of conservative writing, which I call ‘If Only Those People Weren’t Here.'”

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  63. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Well, I can tell you that most of them seem to believe that Trump will win in a landslide. Or maybe they just enjoy saying that. Or they’re trying to convince themselves that this will happen.

    Since they fret a lot about being overwhelmed by non-white foreigners, I’m not sure how confident they still are about being a clear majority.

    Speaking of which, the open white nationalists are very, very displeased with Amy Coney Barrett because she and her husband adopted two Black children. They figure this will make her open to flooding the country with people of color. And they effect great concern about when the two adopted children will turn violent and rape/murder the white members of the family.

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  64. Jax says:

    If y’all could quit cluing Halvar in that not ALL people who like to shoot guns are Republicans, that would be great. We prefer for them to think of us as unarmed ninnies with no idea how to nail a Nazi right between the eyes at 500 yards. 😉

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  65. Kari Q says:

    @charon:

    they just do not like the CA income tax.

    No, they just don’t like the cost of housing in California. Unless you’re very rich, California’s income tax isn’t that bad, and the very rich aren’t leaving.

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  66. Hal_10000 says:

    @Gustopher:

    Police unions are not a hotbed of Democratic support.

    Someone needs to tell them that. Up until 2020, the Democrats got most of the money from police unions and the some of the biggest recipients are still Democrats.

    If you want to blame some level of gov for local problems, you should start with state government.

    Yes. What state is California in? You know, the state where the overwhelmingly Dem legislature just killed police reform?

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  67. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:
    Democrats run the big cities, they get the Police Union money and, you are correct, a great many Democratic politicians at the city level are in their pockets.

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  68. al Ameda says:

    @Halvar:

    Trump won the popular vote by a comfortable margin outside of California and New York City. So, Republicans are the majority party outside of New York City and California.

    Fun Game.
    If the 7 states that Trump won by a margin of greater than 500,000 votes are excluded, then Hillary would have won by an additional 4.2 million votes, or 7.2 million votes.

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  69. Grewgills says:

    @Halvar:
    Several points:
    1) Austin isn’t so very conservative. It has conservative representation because of gerrymandering.
    2) All those Californians and others from liberal bastions moving in (I know several) aren’t becoming conservative when they move. They are purpling Texas.
    3) Joining a gun club and finding it exciting to shoot a machine gun don’t turn people conservative. Plenty of people from socialist countries come here partly to shoot machine guns and ride Harleys, then happily go back home and continue their socialist ways. Even when they move here, they tend to continue wanting the advantages of those social safety nets and when they become citizens vote for them.
    4) As others have pointed out better than I can, US federalism isn’t the only federalism and federalism can work in other (better) ways.

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