Prop 16 Has Consequences

What do conservatives have against majority rule? During eight years of Bush, the cry was “Majority Rule!” and “Elections Have Consequences!” and “We Have a Mandate!” All great bumper sticker slogans, but sentiments that were “context sensitive.” The context is, of course, whether the party voted in is a Democratic one or a Republican.

Bush won his second term with 51 percent of the popular vote, and this was heralded as “a mandate!” Republican fiscal and military plans sailed through because “elections have consequences!” Obama gets 53 percent of the popular vote, which seems to me like an even larger mandate — 4.8 million more people voted for him than voted for Bush — but what do we hear? We hear calls to “break him.” We hear calls to “take back our country.” We hear outrage that Democrats expect “majority rule!” Suddenly the Republicans expect everything in the Senate to pass by 60 percent or not at all. Somehow 53 percent is not a mandate. Suddenly elections don’t have consequences.

Now we get Proposition 16, which would require that any involvement of state funds in power projects be put to a vote and pass by two-thirds.

What happened to majority rule? Under Prop 16, one third of the voters can block the will of the other two thirds.

Conservatives have stopped trying to pass new ideas, and are trying to figure out ways to prevent the majority from addressing the many problems before us by actively working against the idea of majority rule.—Duff Kennedy


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