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Can good teaching save America? Considering the of education-focused government agencies, non-profits, and businesses in America today, there are plenty of folks who believe that this is true.


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Minority rule has always been a feature of American democracy. These days, however, it is getting worse.

T he core democratic principle is that people should have a meaningful say in political decisions that affect their lives. The consequences of that decision fall exclusively on women, who will be forced to carry all pregnancies to term if the law comes into effect. And, as has happened in other countries with abortion bans, poor women will be hit hardest of all — the rich can usually afford to go elsewhere. Though plenty in the pro-life movement are femalethe people who will be most affected are nowhere in the debate.

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The constitution itself is an outrageously undemocratic document. People today are bound by a set of procedural rules that were made without the input of women, African Americans or native people. That set of rules has been very effective at keeping the American populace from exercising power. We hear a lot about how the electoral college, the US supreme court and gerrymandered districts are undermining democratic rule.

The supreme court is the highest branch of government, in that it can overturn the decisions of the other two branches. It consists of just nine people, all of whom went to Harvard or Yale and two-thirds of whom are men. Ian Samuel has pointed out the remarkable fact that, thanks to the way the Senate is structured, the senators who voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the court represent 38 million fewer people than the senators who voted against him.

The implications here are extreme. What matters is the opinion of nine elites, in many cases appointed by presidents who did not win the popular vote. A constitution written by slaveholders is being interpreted by a tiny room full of elites who have been given no meaningful popular approval.

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The electoral college is, of course, its own problem. But there is something perverse and troubling about a system in which the person who gets the most votes loses the election. Things are only going to get worse. The good news is that America is becoming an ever-more-diverse and in many ways more progressive country. Most young people identify as socialists instead of capitalists, and on the whole people want a far more progressive set of national policies on economics, foreign policy and immigration than are currently being practiced. The undemocratic nature of our institutions means that conservatives might well succeed in overriding popular sentiment for many years to come.

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In a country whose electoral system still somewhat functions, there is only so much a government can do to keep people from exercising their right to rule, without resorting to totalitarian measures. Conservatives will continue to push unpopular policies on an unwilling United States.

Opinion US politics. This article is more than 2 years old. Nathan Robinson.

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Mon 20 May Nathan Robinson is the editor of Current Affairs. Topics US politics Opinion comment. Reuse this content.