The Founding Fathers agreed to a compromise in establishing the bicameral Congress in which every State regardless of population has two Senators while the number of seats per State in the House of Representatives is proportional to the sizes of their populations. This compromise was designed to ensure that the opinions and in some cases distinctive needs and priorities of small (by population) States would not be neglected or swamped by large States. Another protective measure to defend the rights of minorities is established in the Bill of Rights that embodies the principle that everybody has rights that no majority should be able to take away from them however unpopular they (the minority or the right) may be, for example the right to express an unusual set of beliefs.

However this noble intent has now perversely been turned on its head by the actions (predominantly but not entirely) of Republicans in Congress. Their practices mean that today a minority has the ability to impose its opinions on and force the majority to comply. This phenomenon was most apparent in the shameful vote of 45 Senators, of which 41 were Republicans, to reject even the mildest of attempts to introduce a sensible, albeit incremental and very partially effective measure to expand checks over individuals’ access to lethal weaponry. Not only was a majority of Senators in favor of this measure that did not pass thanks to the Senate’s rules (that do not appear in the Constitution) requiring 60 votes in favor, but the proportion of the U.S. population represented by the dissenting Senators was clearly less than 40% of the total. Furthermore polls indicate that a substantially greater proportion, perhaps as high as 90%, of the U.S. population supports the measure. One Senator from Texas, John Cornyn, even proposed an Amendment that would require States such as Massachusetts that attempt to enforce stricter gun control laws (that are easily circumvented by taking a short trip to New Hampshire or driving to and from Virginia for example) to honor gun carry permits issued by other states. I doubt he would agree that Texas should honor same sex marriages from Massachusetts.

The increasingly undemocratic aspect of U.S. democracy is further evident in the Republican majority in the House of Representatives of 33 seats even though nationally Republican candidates obtained 1.4 million votes fewer in the 2012 election than Democrats. The Republican Party proclaims itself as the Defender of both the Constitution in its original intent and the will of the American people. But it is effectively and consistently ignoring and undermining both, and regrettably is in a more powerful position to do so than other enemies of the Republic.

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