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In a legitimate democracy, the majority rules. But not in America.
Blame the Framers, blame whoever you want to blame....but the majority in the U.S. do not have final say. In fact, truth be told, the minority....if they have a mind to....can almost always have their way.
I pointed out during the Bush administration, when the polarization of America was deepening, that as long as Republicans hold the presidency and a minimum of 34 senators who will vote in lockstep, the majority could never have it's way. 34 senators are all that are needed to stop Congress from overriding a presidential veto. Democrats could hold the Senate with over 60 senators, but unless Democrats held over 66 seats, Republicans could block any attempt to override a GOP presidential veto.
Consider this past election.... Democrats gained more seats in the Senate and now have a 55-45 advantage over Republicans. Democrats hold a significant majority in the Senate....but as you know, in modern polarized America....it always takes 60 votes to pass anything. Which translates into the minority actually having control in the Senate. Odd for a democratic republic....but true.
Furthermore, I did a little arithmetic, and this is what I came up with...
Only tabulating the population of the states which have either 2 Democratic senators or 2 Republicans senators, I came up with 123.9 million in total population for states with two Democratic senators. 78 million in total population for states with two Republican senators. The remainder of the states have one Democratic senator and one Republican senator.
States with two Democratic senators have total populations outnumbering populations of states with two Republican senators...by 45 million, give or take. Yet Republicans, with only 45 members in the Senate can literally stop all legislation. Again, the minority has control.
Democrats gained 7 or 8 seats in the House in November's election, but Republicans still hold the advantage 234-201. No question, because the House operates under a 50+1, majority rule, Republicans have firm control of the House and Democrats in the House have virtually no say. Yet, even in the House breakdown, consider this.....
More Americans voted this year for Democratic House candidates than for Republicans and yet the GOP wound up with the House majority. That happened once before—in 1996.
By the Associated Press unofficial vote tally, Democratic candidates for the House won a million more votes than Republicans—56,056,564 to 55,028,230—and yet the Republicans got a House majority, 234 to 201.
More Americans voted for Democratic House representatives in total. One million more Americans voted for Democratic representatives than Republican representatives....but because of gerrymandering controlled by Republicans after the census was taken in 2010.....Republicans have a 33 member margin in the House. Once more, a majority of American voters, in total, voted for Democrats in the House....yet Republicans control the chamber. Minority rules....again.
I'm not suggesting that anything can really be done about the fact that the minority rules in the American political process. It is what it is. But what does a democratic republic do when the minority that rules decides to use their minority-rules status to extract a ransom from the majority of average Americans? What happens when the minority puts a gun to the head of 308 million Americans and says...'give us exactly what we want, or we'll pull the trigger?'
We witnessed the minority ever-so-slowly squeezing the trigger last August when Republicans used their minority-rules status to scare bond market analysts into downgrading U.S. debt. Mitch McConnell, Huckleberry Graham, and John Boehner are threatening yet another ransom situation in February or March next year.....depending on when the debt ceiling needs lifted again.
If I understand what these minority-status Leaders are threatening.....unless President Obama and the Democrats agree to taking out clubs and joining with Republicans in beating the elderly, the disabled, and the poor.....minority Republicans will bring the entire country's economic future down around us all.
GOP Leaders have told Obama that they will NOT agree to lift the debt ceiling early next year if Obama doesn't agree to cut government spending an equal amount to the amount lifted in any debt ceiling agreement. If Obama would agree to those hostage-taking terms, there's no question that our nation's safety net will be shredded beyond recognition.
All of this, of course, is for the sole purpose of eventually giving already filthy rich citizens another tax cut. For Republicans....whether in the minority or the majority....it's always nothing but tax cuts for the alleged makers.
All in all, majority 2012 America has been kidnapped by the minority. The kidnappers are holding guns to our collective head and threatening, again, to pull the trigger if the majority is not willing to take much-needed benefits away from the old, the enfeebled, the disabled, the hungry, the jobless and the powerless.
Quite a situation we're in, I'd say. And ugly.
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