Right Wing Minority Rule

The US is not perfect but until recently it has always moved, inexorably, if slowly and fitfully, in the general direction of justice and greatness. The best and undeniable example of this in recent times is the election of Barack Obama, something which would have been unthinkable at any other time in our history.

But now a confluence of forces threaten to halt this progress and concentrate power in the hands of privileged minorities.

If current trends continue, in the near future the rich, and in particular the super-rich, will reassert and greatly increase their power over their economic inferiors, men will reclaim their dominance over women, whites will regain their superiority over nonwhites, the old will prevail over the young, and the vast sparsely populated rural lands will take precedence over cities and suburbs.

As we all know democracy is based on majority rule, but we also know this has always been something of a fiction, or, at best, a partial truth. Power has always been wielded by the rich and the powerful, by whites and by men. Now the right wing is actively manipulating the system to ensure that the system is permanently rigged to favor these established groups.

Our legal system, reinforcing custom and tradition, long helped guarantee that nonwhites, women and other underprivileged persons were not equal players. Further, our constitution, reflecting the founders concerns that large or more urban states would overwhelm rural states, provides disproportionate power in the electoral college and the senate to rural states.

Over the course of our history these forces successfully slowed progress, but real progress was achieved with enormous effort and resolve. As a result we now have a very different country, in which formerly disadvantaged groups have gained a degree of power and equality that would had been literally unimaginable in earlier generations.

But now, in place of the brakes that slowed progress, the minority right wing is erecting a giant dam holding back the river of progress.

Here are just a few of the most important contributing factors:

–GOP dominance of federal and state governments, despite a minority of popular support or anything resembling a broad mandate. With the singular exception of the 2004 election (which occurred in the wake of 9/11) no Republican presidential candidate has won the popular vote for 30 years. Republican appointed Supreme Court justices handed the presidency to George W. Bush, and it now appears likely that Putin’s efforts helped put Trump over the top in the electoral college. Yet despite these circumstances  George W. Bush, and now Trump, have ruled as if they possessed a popular mandate to impose their ideology on the rest of the country.

—The senate, as a result of the constitutional imbalance that gives greater relative power to voters in rural states, has always been conservative; now it is dangerously reactionary.

–The house is even more extreme than the senate. In theory the house should be more broadly representative of the general population, but because of gerrymandering (and a toxic primary system) the house is now more extreme and lopsided than at any time in modern history.

–The third branch of government, the judiciary, has been leaning dangerously to the right, but it has been inconsistent and has delivered some crucial victories to the left. With the near certain replacement of the more moderate Justice Kennedy with the extreme right Kavanaugh, the court is now likely to become  a permanent agent of the right. Again, this is a clear result of minority rule, the determination of Trump and the senate to eschew bipartisanship and impose their minority agenda. Contrast Trump’s deliberately provocative nomination of Kavanaugh with Obama’s nomination of the famously moderate Merrick Garland, a characteristic gesture intended to lower not raise the partisan temperature. This was met by McConnell’s refusal to even hold hearings for Garland, thereby raising the temperature.

–The Citizens United decision guarantees that the super rich will continue to use their wealth to bend the political process to their will for years to come. As a Supreme Court precedent it will be very difficult to overturn.

–After gerrymandering voter suppression is the most potent way to blunt the power of emerging, already marginalized and vulnerable groups.

–In addition to these internal forces, we now have external forces, most notably Russia and Putin, that are threatened by the existence and example of healthy, well functioning democracies.

To be clear, the right wing is imposing minority rule. Millions more people voted for Clinton than for Trump. The senators supporting Brett Kavanaugh’s supreme court nomination represent 145 million people, versus the 180 million represented by the senators opposing the nomination. Despite their minority position the GOP doesn’t hesitate to rule and govern as if it had a broad mandate and consensus. If these trends are not checked now, in 2018, then this minority in power will impose even more sweeping changes, including, to name just a few, the reversal of abortion rights, prohibitive and racist restrictions on immigration, increased income inequality, reduced access to health care, the removal of environmental protections, and privatization of the public sector by unfettered growth of private companies in schools, prisons, the military, and much more.

Broadly popular measures, like common sense gun control, reasonable immigration reform, environmental protections, and, of course, moderate judicial candidates (like Merrick Garland) are dead on arrival, and are even derided by the far right.

Most frightening of all is the complete inability or unwillingness of either the Republican controlled House or Senate to stand up to the incompetent, immoral, and increasingly unconstitutional presidency of Donald Trump. Unless this and the other trends discussed here are held in check by the coming election, the future of the United States may well look like Poland, Hungary, Turkey, or Russia.

“If conservatives realize they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will abandon Democracy.” —David From.

Comments

  1. Hey… I personally take affront to ‘cardiobrief’ blog going ‘leftist crazy’… Guess what?? I’m a veteran, survived TWO wives and TWO heart attacks, AREN’T for ‘open borders’ is AGAINST legalization of pot- or ANYTHING like it, does NOT like EVERY person ( and am sick & tired of being told I’m racist?? Hell, I’m Native American! NOBODY has had it worse than the indigenous peoples! ) You know what?? I am also a former pro musician.. And, I am SO sick of those who USE their performing platform to cowtow for the LIBERAL/PROGRESSIVE cause… From now on?? I will delete any e-mails from this once decent, with perspective on HEART patients ( which I am ) blog!

    • Don’t leave !

      • Thank you Janet…. I think I WILL stick around to ‘ward off’ attacks on America, Christians ( of which I AM one ) if this ONCE blog about ‘cardio-issues’ go’s rogue. Then?? I am VERY good at doing full blown YOUTUBE expose’s..

    • At the risk of breaking Rule 14, it should be pointed out that Larry’s post is the antithesis of what you claim here.

      His post is a measured and carefully written critique, based on facts that are referenced in the post itself. It doesn’t use strong or threatening language (or shouty all-caps), and most importantly it maintains a civil and respectful tone. It doesn’t say “republicans are crazy”, it simply points out the incompatibiity of the policies they are enacting with the wishes of the majority who didn’t actually elect them. Yes, it is off-topic for a heart blog, but let’s not pretend that those in the medical field are unqualified to opine on matters political.

      If asking deep questions about our democracy such as “should a minority of billionaires get to decide the future of our judiciary?” is offensive to you, then you don’t have to visit this site. If you believe doctors should just sit back and watch the quiet dismantling of their entire employment ecosystem without saying anything, that’s offensive. Perhaps a site such as InfoWars would be more to your liking?

  2. Thank you for your heart-felt comments. I share your frustration with the structure of our current system, in particular, the unequal representation (senate structure, gerrymandering, funding of elections).

  3. Jeffrey Patten says

    Kudos, Larry.
    As with your cardio reporting, this was clear, precise, and on the money.
    More professionals from other disciplines might well make a positive difference if they speak up thoughtfully as you have.
    Thank you.

  4. So why have you dragged your Elizabeth Warren kind of politics into this column. Are you that desperate to create a buzz of some sort? Your couch is EXTREMELY regrettable.

  5. Randy Ice PT, CCS says

    The Atwater sign should read “If liberals realize they cannot win democratically, they will abandon liberalism AND the country.” We are a REPUBLIC (respect of individual rights), NOT a democracy (mob rule). It is appalling how few people understand this basic concept. No where in the Constitution nor Bill of Rights does the word “democracy” exist.

    The rich have always run the show, Barack Obama included. He became a 1%’er while implementing Socialism everywhere he could to impoverishes the masses. He doubled the National Debt in 8 years to $18 Trillion with nothing to show for it other than more money owed the the foreign bankers that own the non-federal, no reserved Fed.Bank.

    Socialism is the ultimate goal of the rich elite on BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE. The right-left paradigm is a distraction to keep the serfs divided, implement Socialism/Communism and throw out bread crumbs to those who prefer a government check to working.Ultimately when enough mob rule takes place, the government treasury will be bankrupted. I think that describes our current state of affairs pretty much to a T.

    Larry’s biased liberal column shows he has fallen for the right-left fraud. He doesn’t even understand the Electoral College is what keeps government welfare state dependent voters in a few large cities from controlling the election process.Which proves the popular vote is really another fraud to keep everyone divided into two camps fighting each other.

    • Mark Sanders says

      We are a republic and not a democracy? Republics are based on elected representatives (look up the definition). Elected means democratic in some form or another. As far as socialism is concerned, we have socialism for the very rich and the very big corporations, and good luck to the rest of you. Your comment is basically paranoid nonsense. I suggest you stay in your bomb shelter with your survival food/goods to wait out what’s coming.

  6. Jeffrey Patten says

    The loudest and quickest to object are usually the most deeply entrenched in long-term self-serving beliefs and least willing to make an effort at deep consideration of differing thought.
    Give it an actual try. It’s refreshing.

    • Larry Husten says

      To whom are you replying?

      • Jeffrey Patten says

        Does it really matter? My suggestion ought to apply to anyone who finds him/herself opposed to anyone else.
        That said, my stance is clear from my previous comment. Consideration of Randy’s views yielded little to change that. Those of Steve are more equivocal, but still, not nearly based in an accurate perspective of our cultural contentions. Clearly, it’s not been easy for him.
        Thanks again, Larry, for your outspoken perspective.

  7. What does this have to do with cardiology?

    • Jeffrey Patten says

      Our current political scene is stressful, wouldn’t you say? The result is high levels of cortisol. That does damage to your heart.

      The first step in addressing stress is to attempt to understand the causes.

      Deep open consideration of such problems goes a long way towards relief of that stress and that cortisol. The effort gives one the sense – and ultimately, the actuality – of being more in control of one’s life.

  8. Daniel L. Merriman says

    Just this morning, I ran across a link on Drudge report re: new study on cholesterol link to heart disease, and my first thought was to see what Cardiobrief thought of it . As a heart disease patient (stroke survivor, heart attack survivor, pacemaker, Repatha user) I have really come to value the points of view espoueed here. I am so sorry to find the typical Huffington Post whining here. I can read it elsewhere if I want. Trump happened .Get over it .Pleas cover heart disease. Please .I beg you!

    Oh, the link I mentioned .

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7280954/high-cholesterol-heart-disease-evidence/

  9. I’m shocked that even this page has turned into a political agitation place for leftist open border, gender mainstream ideology. What’s wrong with you Larry Huston?

    • I agree with Senece and Daniel W. I recently found this website, and was delighted with the cardiology news-based content. I also enjoyed (I guess Larry’s) spirited inquiries into conflicts of interest by editors of the JAMA, academic plagiarism reports, etc. The last thing I want to read here is a partisan political rant. Larry, wake up and realize that the Democrats are the party of big money and Wall Street these days, which Randy alluded to. But I don’t want to go down that path, of arguing about politics in the comments.

      Please return to your regular heart health and medical science content soon! You are excellent!

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