Will we remain a compromised majoritarian — or descend to a ruthless minoritarian country?
Despite being our second most criminal president, Richard Nixon was no Trump, per this truthful 1969 speech defending the “silent majority:” “this nation has been made under our Constitution by those leaders in the Congress and the White House elected by all of the people. If a vocal minority, however fervent its cause, prevails over reason and the will of the majority, this nation has no future as a free society.” Back to the future – imagine, a rabid minority that denies reason and lawlessly tries to prevail against the certified majority!
“Elected by all of the people” is phony rhetoric, but the point is clear: majority rule is the best guarantor of freedom yet only when full voting rights insures the sovereignty of a self-governing populace. Au contraire, Trumpism: not just a coup against legitimate elections but serial voting obstacles to serve an autocratic minority. The modern implication is undeniable: to deny voting rights is to nuke majority rule, and to deny the majority is the greatest crime against any democratic state.
Could anything be simpler to understand: that every citizen has equivalent, ordained rights to vote their preferences? Yes, people at times vote against their best interests but majority rule makes the sacred assumption that unabashed good sense resides over time in the largest critical mass.
Trump: Never a majority winner
Thus, I take heart Trump has never had majority endorsement, not even in one approval rating. The blatant, real-world truth is he never had enough libertarians, billionaires, aggrieved racists/ white supremacists, immigrant-haters or religious fundamentalists to gain the majority. Trump’s four year crime spree never “fooled most of the people” even one time. If not for the minoritarian Electoral College (reflecting 100 undemocratically-determined senators), Trump would have been a loser in 2016, as in 2020 and as today. Even his long-time accountancy firm has banished him as loser for a decade of dissembling.
In this context, why don’t Democrats scream daily that either the majority rules (and voting rights matter everywhere) or our semblance of democratic “free society” is a pipe dream? When and how does America re-confirm its highest value — exactly what the rightwing most fears: maximum political power to 50% of the many plus one.
Thus the most obvious, winning agenda for Dems: push to change the Electoral College by linking amendments to majority rule. Indeed, the best argument against the laughable stolen election lie is to link endless deception with the minority’s only path to control. The model of what’s really been “stolen” since 2015 is found in the shameless, extremist takeover at the Supreme Court. This array are true Democratic hills to die on.
Two assumptions about the majority frame this position: that the majority still believes in majority rule and that a rock-solid majority thinks Trump and Trumpism suck – manifestly disqualified for national leadership. Do Dems have a better mid-term pitch than “we stand with and for majority rule; the bad guys favor manipulated rule by an outlaw minority; the majority must decide or else.” Is that simple enough messaging for the sound bite-addicted?
Do not all reform movements begin with clear value statements, here inviolate human rights, then leverage the full power of law against corruption, criminality and now an organized, unfinished fascist coup? Justice demands truly draining the Trumpist swamp, re-establishing law and order, rebuilding broken walls, then expanding opportunity for the less privileged, fairer income distribution, and the battle against racism.
Justice unserved by a wimpy AG
Though his appointments dramatize Trump’s deplorable buffoons, Biden’s choice for Attorney General, the faint-hearted Merrick Garland, is the wrong guy at the wrong time. Appoint Elizabeth Warren instead and watch the fur fly. Four years of a monumental, nation-tearing crime spree, then a yearlong torrent of relentless evidence, and no major figures have been indicted. Handed the most despicable protest in American history, all this tepid Dept of Justice can do is incarcerate low-level lackeys, not one vile leader. No self-respecting democracy tolerates sneering, uncivil, Constitution-shattering outlaws at large, let alone running a national party.
The majority hardly needs more evidence that Trump and enabling crooks have forfeited any charade they know how to govern. Voters must exact a high price for vaporous, dead-end, stolen election lies, looming DA indictments plus the Jan 6 Report, and earth-shaking rightwing fragmentation.
Other than the unifying assumption the majority still favors majority rule, tens of millions distrust that government works, question what power can restrain the super-rich while the 90% stagnate, whether religion is a blessing or a curse (or merely just another wedge), even if the glory of a diverse immigrant nation isn’t crashing on the rocks of white racism. Greater fragmentation (among both parties) will destabilize all, thus presaging an era of chaotic European-style coalition politics. Two-party domination is rife with flaws but what viable alternatives exist for such a huge, conflicted country?
If not the majority, who picks the minority in charge?
Unless the majority coalesces, that is, 90% of Democrats plus millions of centrists and Never Trumpers, merciless minority rule looms. And if the medieval Trump minority gains power, brace for much worse: dictators before they fall must boldly try to expand their power to survive.
Majority rule is both a rational philosophy, honoring the universality of human dignity, plus the core western political value for decision-making. Either there is the wisdom in the collective voice – or some nefariously worse elite commandeers power. This is no religious leap but a secular commitment that recognizes the complexity of history, foibles of human nature, and the essential need for marginal commonalty.
Unrestrained, and unfettered by law, rogue government by the likes of Trump will not be with or by or for the people. If a sane, functional majority cannot overcome the current, ferocious rightwing siege, and if the majority doesn’t return to power, then who gets to pick the minority that takes over?