Having concluded in last week’s post that Americans had, during this year’s midterm elections, taken a good step toward protecting our democratic values, the Spirited Reasoner feels constrained to lift the rug a bit to consider a few of the unpleasant aftereffects.
We begin by observing that in almost every case in which the election deniers were defeated, their respective margins of defeat were not large. In other words, somewhere between 40% and 50% of the voters in those districts were apparently okay with the idea of installing election deniers into positions of public trust. And in South Dakota and Wyoming, election deniers were indeed elected to the job of Secretary of State, meaning they will have supervisory authority over future elections in those states.
According to the Daily Beast, the next Congress will include 145 election deniers, six more than the current Congress. See, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/the-next-congress-will-have-even-more-election-deniers-than-it-had-on-jan-6/ar-AA14hUin One wonders how these folks feel free to claim that their own elections should be accepted.
Those of us who know our American history may be comforted by the fact that these midterm elections were not the first time that momentous decisions have been achieved by razor thin margins. Back in the year 1787, the delegation from Massachusetts voted to ratify the U. S. Constitution by the margin of 187 to 168. In the following year, New York voted to ratify by the margin of only 30 to 27. The vote in Virginia was 89 to 79. While there was landslide support in other states, the approval from these three large states (at the time) was necessary to ensure ratification. Our Constitution might never have come into being if the antifederalist contingents in those three states had prevailed. See, https://slidetodoc.com/ratification-of-the-constitution-federalists-vs-antifederalists-a/
Fast forward to the year 1864, when electoral prospects for the reelection of Abraham Lincoln appeared to be so bleak that he wrote a letter to his cabinet members asking them to prepare for defeat. See, https://www.loc.gov/item/pin2201/ His reelection was secured largely because of the fortuitous fall of the city of Atlanta to Union troops. Had Sherman taken a few months longer to win that battle, then Lincoln might have lost the election to his principal opponent, George McClellan. See, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Atlanta
And, of course, one could point to the growing number of Presidential elections in which the popular votes and Electoral College votes have pointed in different directions.
There are many more examples where the trajectory of American history has been directed by the will of bare majorities or even pluralities. But now that I think of it, those examples don’t seem so comforting after all.
Yet we must persevere. To quote Winston Churchill, “… democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those others that have been tried from time to time.” See, https://winstonchurchill.org/resources/quotes/the-worst-form-of-government/