Political Minorities should be Protected

Matthew Yglesias makes the bizarre and completely incorrect assertion that the Senate filibuster doesn’t protect minority interests, apparently based on the belief that the only minorities that people could be interested in protecting would be religious, racial, or sexual ones.  He says,

The problem of the tyranny of the majority is the problem that minority groups in society might see their interests trampled. But protecting the interests of the political party that lost the last election doesn’t achieve this goal.

But, actually, in this case, we’re precisely talking about the “political party that lost the last election.”  Or, in a more hopeful world, just political interests that lost the last election.  And that’s a worthy goal.

The filibuster means that there’s a difference between a 51 Senator majority and a 99 Senator majority.  And there should be a difference between those things.  Getting just barely more than half the votes should not mean that you get to completely run roughshod over the political beliefs of just barely less than half the votes.

And it’s hard to imagine Matt Y arguing that if the Republicans get 51 Senators, they ought to be able to do all the crazy horrible shit that he and I both agree they would be inclined to do.

The filibuster may go overboard in protecting the rights of the minority.  But that can be addressed without making the crazy statement that “the political beliefs of 49.9% of the United States” are something that can be disregarded without thought.

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