The Political Minority Is Ruling America. But the Path to Reform Is Clear | Opinion

American democracy is supposed to be a government by the people, with supreme power vested in the people and exercised by them or their elected agents. But today our nation is far from that ideal.

The truth is, we are a nation governed by the minority political party, with all three branches of our government run, at least in part, by the party a majority of voters voted against.

The world's finest democracy is ruled by the political minority.

We are a nation where the voices of the majority have been silenced and overturned by a loud and ruthless minority party that has grossly manipulated the levers of power to hijack our democracy.

While this has been true for some time, never has it been more evident than in the naked, unprecedented and dangerous power grab being executed by President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans to stack the Supreme Court in the wake of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death.

If Trump and Senate Republicans are successful in filling the seat this year, it will mean a president who lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes will add another lifetime justice to the Supreme Court via a rubber stamp from a majority party in the Senate that represents 15 million fewer people than the minority party.

Digging into the numbers of the past two elections a bit more shows the true outrageousness and real danger of our current minority rule. In 2016, 53.6 percent of all those who voted, a clear majority, chose someone other than Trump. And in 2018, 54 percent of all voters who cast votes in Senate elections chose the Democratic candidate, versus 46 percent who chose the Republican candidate. Despite getting 18 million more votes than Republicans, Democrats lost two seats in the Senate in 2018, and Mitch McConnell padded his Republican majority.

And now, Republicans, who received a minority of the votes in the past two elections and have won the popular vote in only one presidential election in the past 28 years, are poised to cement for generations the ideology of the nation's minority political party to rule on all aspects of American life, from the Affordable Care Act to abortion to voting rights to civil rights to LGBTQ rights to, potentially, election outcomes.

Fixing this will not be simple. It is not just a matter of electing Joe Biden and a Democratic majority in the Senate, although that is a vital and democracy-saving start. It will require Biden and Senate Democrats to use their power—and majority status, if they are granted it by voters—to reform all three branches of government.

Republicans, through minority rule, have broken our institutions, and Democrats must lead in fixing them.

First, we need to abolish the Electoral College. It is inherently undemocratic and has led to two out of the last three presidents taking office despite the majority of voters choosing someone else. A representative democracy should not overturn the will of voters.

Second, we need to end the disenfranchisement of voters in Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia and give them full representation in the House and Senate. The nearly 4 million Americans who live in these two places are U.S. citizens who pay taxes and are not represented by our government. Giving them equal representation and expanding the Senate will help make it more representational and less vulnerable to minority party rule.

Lastly, we must reform the Supreme Court. A court whose makeup was determined by the minority cannot and must not rule over the majority. Expanding the size of the court to include additional seats and bring back balance is necessary. McConnell and Republicans, from refusing to even hold a vote on Merrick Garland to attempting to pack the court before the election in the wake of Ginsburg's death, have so manipulated, distorted and broken the process and trust in the institution that serious reform, including expansion, is necessary for the court to remain credible.

Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to his office following a roll call vote at the U.S. Capitol on September 21 in Washington, D.C. Stefani Reynolds/Getty

The latter two can be accomplished by a simple majority vote in the Senate if Democrats do away with another tool of minority rule: the filibuster. While amending the Constitution to eliminate the Electoral College is far more challenging, it is no less necessary. With experts predicting that a candidate, like Trump, could lose the popular vote by as many as 5 million votes and still win the Electoral College, the outdated body of electors is a ticking time bomb for our democracy.

The last three and a half years have been a stress test of our nation's democracy and have shown its fragility. Our institutions are at a breaking point, and the impacts of a government ruled by the political minority have never been greater. The steps needed for reform are clear and urgent. If Democrats win in November, they must use their power to put an end to the tyranny of minority-party rule and restore power to those who should have it in a democracy: the people.

Failing to do so will doom history to repeat itself.

Doug Gordon is a Democratic strategist and co-founder of UpShift Strategies who has worked on numerous federal, state and local campaigns and on Capitol Hill. He is on Twitter at @dgordon52.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.

Correction: A paragraph was deleted that contained erroneous information as to the number of justices who have been confirmed by presidents who did not win a national popular vote. Newsweek regrets the error.

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