Quote of the Day

Hmmm, are there any other ways in which a democracy might assess the people's will? I can think of three — which we're all aware of but which are worth revisiting:

1) Just last year, a presidential election was fought over this exact issue, along with economic policy more broadly. When the votes came in, Barack Obama scored a runaway Electoral College win — and became the first person since Dwight Eisenhower to get more than 51% of the popular vote twice.

...[W]e very recently had the most formal test a democracy offers of a president's policies, rather than some set of push-polls, and Obama won in a walk.

2) In that year's elections for the Senate, the Democrats increased their majority by two seats and overall received 10 million+ more votes than all Republican candidates.

3) And last year even in the elections for the House, Democrats — who for better or worse were forced to run on Obamacare and the president's economic policies — gained 8 seats and received 1.7 million more votes than did all Republican candidates combined.

...[A]ll evidence suggests that without post-2010 gerrymandering, the Democrats might well control the House right now, along with the Senate and White House.

In short, we have a faction making historically unprecedented demands — give us everything, or we stop the government and potentially renege on the national debt. And it is doing so less than a year after its party lost the presidency, lost the Senate (and lost ground there), and held onto the House in part because of rotten-borough distortions.

You can call this a lot of things, but "gridlock" should not be one of them. And you can fault many aspects of the President's response — when it comes to debt-default, I think he has to stick to the "no negotiations with terrorists" hard line. But you shouldn't pretend that if he had been more "reasonable" or charming he could placate a group whose goal is the undoing of his time in office.
The Atlantic's James Fallows.

The fact is that in our gerrymandered, money-soaked, manipulated representative democracy, the smallest number of vote-getters are running the country. And claiming to be serving the will of the people.

Other recommended reading:

Reuters: A Million U.S. Government Workers, Unions Brace for Shutdown.

Think Progress: Federal Workers May Not Get Paid Even after the Shutdown Ends.

TPM: House of Turds.

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