The Conservative War on Democracy Was Over 200 Years in the Making

Mother Jones illustration; Unsplash

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.Everyone seems to be talking about saving democracy this year. “American democracy, that’s what the 2024 election is all about,” Joe Biden has emphasized, painting the threat of Donald Trump’s return to power as the central issue in the 2024 campaign. “We have to prove that our model isn’t a relic of history.”
But the crisis facing American democracy is much older and deeper than Trump and it is, indeed, a relic of a very different time in US history.
In a new video companion for Mother Jones, based on my forthcoming book Minority Rule: The Right-Wing Attack on the Will of the People—and the Fight to Resist It, digital producer Sam Van Pykeren explores how the US political system was created to restrain democracy, not protect it. The founders essentially placed a ticking time bomb at the heart of our political system—and this could be the year it explodes.

As I explain in my book, it all dates back to the birth of American democracy, when the Founding Fathers created political institutions within a system that concentrated power in the hands of an elite, propertied, white male minority. More than 200 years later, the series of compromises the founders made have increasingly vested the majority of political power in the hands of a minority of the population—a reactionary conservative white minority that is seeking to entrench and hold onto power through a wide variety of anti-democratic means.
You can pre-order Minority Rule here, and find the exclusive Mother Jones excerpt here.
Top image: Mother Jones illustration; Joshua Sukoff/Unsplash; Ian Hutchinson/Unsplash; Ben Mater/Unsplash