“The core threat of our Democracy” is the influence of future rural voters in the U.S. Senate, according to a tweet from leftist MSCNBC host Joy Reid that flew largely under the radar last week.
This is the core threat to our democracy. The rural minority — the people @JYSexton just wrote a long thread about — have and will continue to have disproportionate power over the urban majority. https://t.co/fzBHaZ9kzR
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) November 26, 2017
Reid’s tweet was in response to a projection that, by the year 2040, 70 percent of Americans would live in the 15 most populous states of the union, thereby giving rural states a disproportionate influence in the Senate.
But what Reid is complaining about isn’t a bug in the system; it’s a feature.
Sure, it may seem odd to some that individual voters in rural America will have a disproportionate amount of representation in the upper chamber. One can already imagine the future think pieces showing the power that a single vote for a senator from Wyoming has when compared to one from California or New York. But this outcome isn’t minority rule; it’s a guard against the opposite.
The original intent was for the Senate not to represent the people of these states, but the interests of the states themselves. That’s the entire reason for the makeup of the Senate — two senators from each state regardless of population.
And the entire reason that the two houses of the federal Congress have different standards of representation was so that larger states wouldn’t hold disproportionate power over the interests of smaller ones based on population alone. That urban majority that Reid refers to will still be represented proportionately in the House of Representatives, as was the original intent, but perhaps she has forgotten all about the Connecticut Compromise from her high school history classes.
What Reid and others want is direct democracy, but that’s not how America was built. History and reason had more than shown the Founders the problems of direct mob rule and the tyranny of the majority.
What Reid is railing against is a guardrail against these abuses. But where the conservative mind and the framers see guardrails, many on the political Left see hurdles that have to be jumped over so that government can bring about “progress” — whatever that means at any given moment.
In the kind of democracy that Reid implicitly wants, the elitist urban bubbles would be given full power to wield over those uncultured rubes out in Trump country. Without so much concentrated power, the differing interests of people in urban and rural areas would be better represented at the local level.
But federalism just doesn’t seem to be in vogue these days.
Reid’s fear-mongering is similar to the strains of complaint that we all heard against the electoral college when Hillary Clinton lost in 2016. Such things — at least when they work against the preferred leftist choice — are threats to democracy, at least to the “democracy” the progressives want. And that’s a good thing.
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