The Democracy Illusion

It is a bit of commonplace rhetoric to describe the US as a democracy. This recent opinion piece in the Washington Post is an example:
We have a radical democracy. Will Trump voters destroy it? by Robert Kagan.

Democracy, by every definition, is characterized by majority rule. We don’t need to pause very long on the actual history of our government in this country to realize that the founders didn’t intend this from the outset. Only people with property and wealth could vote, not to mention the exclusion of 51% of the population, women. And further, the enslaved and indentured.

Today we are living under minority rule by design.

The Senate is the lynchpin of minority rule.

Rural states with tiny populations automatically control the Senate.

The ten least populous states have a total population of 9.6 million. California, the most populous state, has 39.2 million people. These ten sparsely populated states, Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, Rhode Island, Montana, Maine, and New Hampshire, have 20 Senators. On average, each of these Senators represents 479,000 people. Meanwhile, California’s two Senators represent 19,600,000 people EACH. As if their dominance in voting power is not enough, the Senate has long had what is called the Cloture Rule that requires 60 Senators to vote affirmatively to end debate and bring an issue to an up or down vote. So, the 30 states with the lowest populations, 80 million people, can control government policy regardless of the effects on the other 253 million people.

When you combine these facts about the structure of the Federal government with the tsunami of money from the rich and corporations, much of it anonymous, that drives our political system, the word democracy should never be associated with America.