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The Two-Party Power Inversion

After the reported 'surprising' GOP victory in Virginia’s gubernatorial race, some Democrat personalities have suggested that the party needs to be ‘more progressive’. Aside from being dismissive of observed reality, this statement belies an ignorance of two-party electoral theory.

Winning an election is a simple formula – but difficult to execute: Mobilize the base (get them out to vote) and appeal to moderates and independents. This is the ultimate paradox, because any platform that appeals to one usually alienates the other.

It also illuminates the insidious power of the disenfranchised minority in a two-party system. The base never, ever, votes for the other guy. The base might stay home, but it does not cross party lines. Therefore, when a candidate wins 51% of the vote, they did not “win a majority”. They won a one-percent minority – just enough to squeak over the finish line. The other votes were already in the bag (one way or another ???? ).

As a rule in a two-party system, the winner is determined by the 5-10% of voters who disavow rigid ideology or structural affinity. This may ultimately be better than putting elections in the hands of zealots, but it is an unacknowledged antagonist of the general notion of democracy.

Some people think of democracy as oppression of the minority by the majority, but I say democracy is oppression of the majority by the minority.