The term ‘minority rule’ has been cropping up here and there on liberal media. This typically happens when Democrats are trying to advance a new narrative. The establishment of a narrative has a life cycle and much like a humans’, it begins with conception and peaks at a predictable point in order to achieve a political goal and then declines until finally, it dies.
Shortly after a narrative is born, we might see a couple of well-placed articles about it in widely read left-wing publications or hear it mentioned on a cable talk show. The tale gets repeated and the story spreads, until suddenly, it is everywhere and is treated as the truth by large swaths of the American people.
Democrats are frustrated over their inability to enact meaningful gun control legislation. Salon’s Amanda Marcotte argues that “Republicans barely bother to offer more than perfunctory arguments against gun control anymore. They know they don’t need to, because no matter what happens at the ballot box, no matter how many Americans reject them and their views, they are the ones who will control the country, especially on matters such as gun control.”
“Democratic helplessness to pass gun control legislation is a cold reminder that Republicans, despite being walloped at the ballot box, retain most of the power in this country.”
“American voters have been cast in the role of Sisyphus,” Marcotte claims, “where we keep pushing that rock labeled ‘Democratic victory’ up that ever steeper hill, only to see all the hard work and sacrifice tumble to the ground right on the precipice of actually getting anything done.”
“Adam Jentleson, the former deputy chief of staff to Senator Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who served as Senate Majority Leader for some time while Barack Obama was president, has dubbed it the “minority rule doom loop.” As Jentleson describes it, the “doom loop” is one “by which predominantly white conservatives gain more and more power, even as they represent fewer Americans.”
For the daft among us, who don’t understand why Democrats, who currently control the presidency and both chambers of Congress, and don’t appear to be having too much trouble passing their agenda, feel they are being stymied by Republicans.
The doom loop consists of four interlocking components. Candidates who represent white conservatives—Republicans, in our ideologically sorted era—begin every election cycle buoyed by a sluice of voter suppression and gerrymandering (what I call electoral welfare), which makes it easier for them to win. Then antidemocratic features of the American system that have always existed but never benefited one party over the other in any systematic way help those same candidates take control of institutions such as the White House and the Senate, despite winning fewer votes and representing fewer people than their opponents. Once in control of these institutions, these newly elected officials use them to entrench their power beyond the reach of voters. If they are eventually voted out of power, they retain a veto over the agenda of the majority, which they use to block change and feed the conservative case that the government is “broken.” This hastens their return to power—along the very path they greased with voter suppression.
“The minority rule doom loop isn’t just unfair and anti-democratic,” she says, “it’s also deadly.” She goes into a discussion of former President Donald Trump’s mismanagement of the pandemic. If only Hillary Clinton, who received three million more votes than Trump, had been at the helm, the U.S., with four percent of the world’s population wouldn’t account for 20 percent of total COVID deaths.
We would also have fewer mass shootings, better health care and a greener economy.
There is, alas, a solution. “Democrats could strip the minority party of their nearly-absolute veto power but abolishing — or at least reforming — the filibuster.” After 1,000 words of complaining, she finally cuts right to the heart of the matter.
The filibuster, she explains is: “a pointless anachronism in the Senate that was mainly used in the past to defend white supremacy. When they were in power, Republicans didn’t think twice about nuking the filibuster when it got in the way of their main priority, which was controlling the Supreme Court.” This is a false argument. Does she forget that it was then-Senate Majority Leader who “went nuclear” in 2013 to confirm the Democrats judicial cabinet nominees? In 2017, Sen. Mitch McConnell, the new majority leader was merely acting upon the precedent Reid had set. Does she recall how vehemently both Biden and Obama argued against ending ending the filibuster during the Bush Administration?
Lest we remind her that there are two Democrats currently standing in the way of it’s elimination, Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, she writes that “both of these senators keep foolishly insisting that [the] filibuster is somehow a tool encouraging bipartisan engagement and debate, even though the reality is that it’s being used by Republicans to unilaterally end all Senate debate before it even happens.”
Or maybe they still have some integrity.
The filibuster isn’t the sole culprit, according to the misguided Marcotte. Republican-controlled state legislatures share the blame. They keep introducing “a bunch of bills to disenfranchise voters further.” Someone needs to tell Marcotte that over 70% of Americans support voter ID laws.
Finally, she laments “it may very well be that we’re entering a new era when Democrats can’t even technically win elections, despite having the majority support among Americans.” The Democrats’ House majority is one of the slimmest in political history. The balance of power in the Senate, at 50-50, is razor thin. And I’m still not convinced that Biden actually did win the presidency by legitimate means. So, she should spare us her “majority support of Americans” talk.
And mercifully, she concludes:
Our once great nation is being brought to its knees because a couple of scatterbrained Democratic senators can’t bring themselves to admit they are playing handmaiden to Republican plots to destroy the tattered remains of our democracy. Americans keep voting and voting and voting for the right not to be senselessly killed. That we can’t even get that shows that this thing we call a “democracy” is anything but.
First, America is a democratic republic, rather than a democracy. Additionally, Marcotte needs to stop whining, because in three months, the Biden Administration has passed enough of their agenda to cripple the country. And if they pass the rest of it, our “democratic republic” will be a “socialist republic”.
What she refers to as the Democrats’ burden, are a series of checks and balances that were put in place to protect whichever party is in the minority. These devices have endured throughout both Republican and Democratic administrations.
Anyway, this is the minority rule or the “minority rule zoom loop” narrative. It’s early in the growth process, but it will quickly take root among liberals. Expect to hear more of it.
God help us.