So, Joy Reid of MSNBC has called rural voters “the core threat to our democracy”. Well, it’s MSNBC so it’s not surprising but, really, this may be a new low even for them.
This is why America was never intended to be an absolute democracy. Ever. It was a representative Republic intended not merely to follow the will of the majority but to protect the rights of the minority from being trampled on by a majority. The old joke about “Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner” has more than a little truth to it.
There are several things intended to protect the minority in the US. First is the separation of powers. The Legislature, the Executive, and the Judiciary were intended as co-equal branches where any two can check the third.
Then there’s the division of the Legislature into the House and Senate. The House, proportional representation with numbers based on the population of each State, represents the people of those States. The Senate, however, represents the States as States (and going to the direct election of Senators was, perhaps, one of the biggest mistakes among the various Constitutional Amendments). So the more populous States (generally more urban) could not entirely run roughshod over the less populous (generally more rural).
The Bill of Rights and other rights protected in the Constitution provide another level of protection. The need for a supermajority not only of both the House and Senate, but of State Legislatures to make changes to any of this is supposed to be a strong protection of the rights of the people, majority and minority alike. Unfortunately, the tendency to “redefine” terms in ways that the ones who wrote them had undermined this protection.
One protection, one that Ms. Read presumably wants to bypass, is the Electoral College. (The DNC Chair Tom Perez has claimed that it is not a creation of the Constitution, after all, the term “Electoral College” appears nowhere in the Constitution, but the system of electors, chosen by the States and numbering the sum of Senators and Representatives is so spelled out whatever label one applies to it.) The Electoral College ensures that the candidates for President cannot simply look to the highest population density areas–generally largely urban areas–and ignore those outside those areas.
Here’s the thing. What people in dense urban areas want, based on their situation, does not necessarily match what those in less densely populated, more rural, areas need. People who live in the big city do not know (and rarely care) what is is appropriate for people living in the countryside. Their may be more of the former, but their numbers do not give them the right to dictate the lives of people living in rural areas.
The Electoral College means that a candidate has to at least try to appeal to those in both areas.
But now, certain people want to eliminate that simply because their candidate failed to do that. That candidate’s supporters want a “do over” because things did not go the way they wanted. They want the high density urban areas to be able to dictate arbitrarily to everyone else.
That’s not what the American Republic was intended to be.