Friday, January 22, 2010

The tyranny of the minority

While the recent election in Massachusetts is widely being taken to mean "Democrats have to govern in a country that is essentially center-right," in fact the secret to Republican success at least since the Dawn of Nixon's southern strategy has been strong rural support because rural areas in the US are over represented. Or as the Atlantic's James Fallows puts it:

... the 41 Republicans in the Senate come from states representing just over 36.5 percent of the total US population. The 59 others (Democratic plus 2 Independent) represent just under 63.5 percent... Let's round the figures to 63/37 and apply them to the health care debate. Senators representing 63 percent of the public vote for the bill; those representing 37 percent vote against it. The bill fails.

Something is going wrong when 37 percent of the population can force their will on 63 percent.

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