Think Progress: You Know, That Constitution Thing Really Sucks (When We’re In Power)

Someone make sure to ask Matthew Yglesias if he is cool with this idea next January, when Republicans have regained Congress

There’s nothing wrong, per se, with coherent parties and polarized politics. Lots of democracies get on fine with them. But they don’t work well with the particular institutions we happen to have. In particular, our system allows a congressional minority to obstruct the majority’s work. Traditionally this served to force the majority to compromise, but in an era of coherent and polarized parties the minority has little incentive to agree to any compromise since creating the perception or reality that the majority has failed benefits the minority. The results have not been pretty.

The most common prescription is to demand an end to polarization and wish for a return to bipartisanship. But this is a pie in the sky notion—we can’t bring back Jim Crow just to make Congress more amicable. The smarter idea would be to adapt our institutions. Let the majority govern. Let the minority criticize the majority, but don’t let them prevent the majority from governing. Then let the majority take its record to the voters. If the majority does well, they’ll be re-elected. If not, then not. Legislation will be highly partisan, but policy will still reflect ideas from both parties since the parties are bound to alternate in power.

In fact, the Constitution and our system of government was set up exactly as it was to make sure there could be no tyranny of the majority over the minority, while still allowing majority rule. The Founders understood that there would be a difference of opinon, and they did not want a majority party to be able to easily ram dangerous legislation down the throat of the minority, which could simply be a 51/49% split. Witness the passage of Health Care and Stimulus. Vastly unpopular with a majority of Americans, yet, the majority party was able to ram them down our throats. The majority party could easily set up elections by massive redistricting that means they would not be able to be turned out from office.

Furthermore, I don’t remember Matthew complained about Democrat obstructionism when the GOP was out of power. It just goes to show that Democrats really do not particularly like our Constitution, except when it suits their needs.

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One Response to “Think Progress: You Know, That Constitution Thing Really Sucks (When We’re In Power)”

  1. mojo says:

    Yglesias is “educated beyond his intelligence”…

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