I found Captain Benson’s letter rebutting the recent Whitewater High School graduate’s condemnation of right wing radicals quite interesting. His civics lecture was particularly illuminating since he has been such an outspoken critic of the county’s court-ordered district voting conversion in 2014.
Captain Benson accurately differentiates a democracy from a republic and elucidates our American founders’ passion for protecting the rights of minorities against the proclivities of heavy-handed majority rule.
He notes the advantages of the Electoral College even though it affords a voter in Wyoming far more influence in the election of the U.S. President than a voter in Georgia. He cites the Federalist Papers to substantiate the justification for advantaging minority voting rights against popular overreaches.
The practical import of these safeguards to minority voting rights that is built into our founding documents has largely favored the Republican Party in national elections of recent memory.
Since Republicans have garnered the popular vote in U.S. Presidential elections only once since 1992, nationwide, at-large voting would have prevented the first term of George W. Bush as well as Donald Trump’s.
Since 1993, only three sessions of the House of Representatives have been controlled by Democrats vs. 10 sessions controlled by Republicans, and the U.S. Senate has likewise been controlled by Democrats for five sessions compared to Republicans for eight sessions.
These legislative majorities were obtained even though Democrats have received far more overall (at large) votes than Republicans during these 26 years.
Essentially, nationwide, at-large ballots would have delivered exclusive Democratic control of both the executive and legislative branches of government over the majority of the last three decades.
With this strident defense of our republic form of government (vs. a straight democracy), I am perplexed at Captain Benson’s objections to district elections in Fayette County.
These safeguards protect the small minority of Democratic citizens against being overwhelmed by majority rule. Before the court’s ruling, Fayette County had only at-large elections of all county commissioners and school board members, making it impossible for the Democrats to seat anyone.
The court, which the Captain so vociferously denounces in its local Fayette County ruling, actually achieves what he so strongly supports on the national level.
Perhaps what is good for the goose is good for the gander.