The definition of autocracy is control of the majority by a powerful and entrenched minority. The only way to prevent autocracy from becoming America’s future is to ensure that majority rule prevails again.
A majority of Americans favor a path to citizenship for the Dreamers and oppose a border wall. They favor environmental protection and renewable energy programs.
Surveys show that a majority of National Rifle Association members favor background checks. A majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases.
Even so, the Trump administration’s executive orders and agency policies don’t reflect the majority. Republicans in Congress consistently turn their backs as well.
Clean air and water regulations are being gutted. Public lands have been turned over to private extractive industrial enterprises.
Republican-dominated state legislatures have been aggressive in instituting draconian restrictions on women’s reproductive and privacy rights.
The dynamic that favors the minority has been creeping up for decades, but most voters haven’t noticed.
Few people know the name of their congressional representative. Even fewer can name a state legislator. Republicans know this, and that is why they were able to execute toxic voting-district gerrymandering as they captured power.
The tactic of retaining power despite holding minority positions has been helped along at the federal level by the Constitution. For example, if Senate seats were allocated by population, California would have 140 senators rather than 2.
The majority-minority disparity is getting more lopsided as America becomes an increasingly urban nation. Because each state is entitled to at least one representative and two senators, lightly populated Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming wield outsize influence.
With the Republican Senate approving conservative judges to lifetime appointments, the courts may reflect minority viewpoints for decades to come.
The residents of liberal urban and coastal areas, like Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Dallas, aren’t weird or fringe or anathema to American values. They are Americana because they are the vast majority of the American population.
The likelihood of a minority staying in power no matter what took a hit in the midterm elections, but power isn’t relinquished voluntarily. To fully restore democratic norms, the majority had better put up its dukes and restore its power.