A disturbing a part of the reply, Levitsky and Ziblatt conclude, lies in our Structure, the very doc People depend on to defend us from autocracy. “Designed in a predemocratic period, the U.S. Structure permits partisan minorities to routinely thwart majorities, and generally even govern them,” they write. The Structure’s countermajoritarian provisions, mixed with profound geographic polarization, have locked us right into a disaster of minority rule.
Liberals — myself very a lot included — have been preoccupied by minority rule for years now, and also you’re most likely conscious of the methods it manifests. Republicans have gained the favored vote in just one out of the final eight presidential elections, and but have had three Electoral School victories. The Senate provides way more energy to small, rural states than giant, urbanized ones, and it’s made even much less democratic by the filibuster. An unaccountable Supreme Court docket, given its right-wing majority by the two-time popular-vote loser Trump, has gutted the Voting Rights Act. One motive Republicans maintain radicalizing is that, not like Democrats, they don’t must win over nearly all of voters.
All liberal democracies have some countermajoritarian establishments to cease common passions from operating roughshod over minority rights. However as “Tyranny of the Minority” exhibits, our system is exclusive in the way in which it empowers a minority ideological faction on the expense of everybody else. And whereas conservatives wish to fake that their structural benefits come up from the considered knowledge of the founders, Levitsky and Ziblatt display how most of the least democratic facets of American governance are the results of accident, contingency and, not least, capitulation to the slaveholding South.
It’s value remembering that in 2000, when many thought George W. Bush would possibly win the favored vote however lose within the Electoral School, Republicans didn’t intend to quietly settle for the outcomes. “I believe there could be outrage,” Consultant Ray LaHood, a Republican from Illinois, advised The Atlanta Journal-Structure. The Bush camp deliberate to stoke a “common rebellion,” within the phrases of The Each day Information, quoting a Bush aide: “The one factor we don’t do is roll over. We combat.”
Most Democrats, nonetheless, really feel little alternative however to acquiesce to a system tilted in opposition to them. Relying on the Structure for cover from the worst abuses of the best, they’re reluctant to delegitimize it. In addition to, America’s Structure is among the many hardest on the planet to vary, one other of its countermajoritarian qualities.