Last Updated 31 Jan 2023

How Majority Rule Can Make or Break a Nation

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When It comes to majority rule, the concept itself is quite simple, the higher number should have the greater power. There are different scenarios where we could potentially see majority rule taking place. Scenarios such as voting on political leaders, products and services. When equilibrium doesn’t exist, the resulting outcomes of elections decided under majority rule is now depended on factors rather than the proposed changes in output and the costs to voters. These alternative factors can include the order in which alternatives are presented to the public or the add-ons or retractions of an alternative in the ballots.

The possibility of this happening is concerning because it shows majority rule can depend on factors rather than what the proposed changes are about. For example, it implies that skillful politicians might be able to manipulate the results of elections by controlling the order in which proposals are considered by the electorate (Hyman 170). This scenario is also a pretty popular theory behind how current U.S president Donald Trump became president to begin with. The theory is said to be Trump had Russia help sway the votes and change the actual votes in order to go in his favor, however actual evidence that would be enough to prove this theory is as of now nonexistent.

Regarding talks about political voting, when it comes to voting there are more things people look at when they reach the ballots. Things such as state issues, for example “Should we legalize marijuana in the state?” or “Which Corporate Headquarters should we consider bringing into our state?” Votes like these can bring about preferences in people such as Single Peak and Multiple Peak preferences. Single-peaked preferences works under the ideology that individuals behave in a way that they believe a unique optimal outcome exist for them. Thus, the further away they go from their outcome, which could be either negative or positive, the worse they feel things will be for them.

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Multiple-peaked preferences implies the same thing at first as the Single-peaked preference, however as the name states, as the person move away from their optimal outcome, they will seem worse off, but will become better as the movement continues. So, if we go back to the example of a Corporate HQ wanting to move into the state, lets say there are three options which consist of Amazon, Microsoft and Sony. Now let’s slice the state in half, one side being the west while the other is the east. Each side consist of one million people, the chart below shows the results of their voting.

We can see that each side peaked on different companies and they are opposites when it comes to the other side top vote. Scenarios like these can bring about issues within the state because there was no set agreement on what they all wanted. If we treat it as an actual vote from a ballot, then Microsoft would win the ballot due to receiving the majority vote. However, we have nearly 1.3 million people in total from the state that didn’t want Microsoft in their state.

So, did the majority truly win? Short answer is no, but the long answer is we don’t know. People preferences can change from one thing to the next and this can certainly happen in this case, for all we know the people who didn’t want Microsoft may end up liking them. Overall, the example can show how “majority rule” may not really be “majority rule” and in fact can lead to unrest within the state due to the results. This very incident occurs practically every four years within the United States due to the presidential election. Most notably, the most recent election can also show us how majority rule can be overridden by another majority rule which makes you wonder which the true majority is.

As the chart shows, Hillary did indeed win the popular vote, but Donald Trump is the president. By majority rule she should win the presidency yet here we are. This isn’t the first time this has happened in the U.S either. Andrew Jackson, Samuel Tilden and Grover Cleveland were some presidential nominees who won their popular votes but lost the election. Now, this is where America differs and why these nominees lost their election.

The people don’t have the final say in the voting, their majority rule isn’t what matters, it’s the electoral college majority that matters. Since Trump won the states with the most electoral votes, he won the ballot. Of course, this brought about a lot of outcry and calls for a recount throughout the nation by Hillary supporters, but the results stand. Now, these events happen every four years and these out cries always happen and ends up having us divided on how the U.S should be run by the government. Yet, the differences within the nation hasn’t torn itself apart. So, a presidential election isn’t enough to break a nation, nor has it brought the nation together as a whole where we all agree on one person.

So, if majority rule from a presidential election isn’t enough, then what is? Well, one big result may not be enough, but enough smaller results or a different big one can. For example, lets date back to the American Revolution. The decision to go to war with Britain came down to majority rule and agreement from all sides to engage the British for America’s independence. Of course, some people weren’t for going to war with Britain, but once everything was set and done and the U.S came out victorious we saw the making of a new nation. In this case, majority rule led to the making of the U.S.

Another example is the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Racism was still strong within the nation and having such a law passed by congress led to a rift in the nation between racist and ordinary citizens. This very law which was agreed upon by congress by majority, could’ve very well broke the nation and led to another civil war within the United States. Luckily such a thing was avoided, but just like the American Revolution made a nation, this act could’ve broken the nation.

Now, regarding the previous two examples. It leads the question to war; How did majority rule play a role in it and how did it make or break nations? In this case, WWII is going to be the basis here. During the second world war, Hitler came into power in Germany due to his great public speaking and his ability to spread his ideology to the masses in order to win them over or well get their majority. Due to the majority backing the Nazi’s we saw the rise of a new empire, while at the same time seeing the fall of one due to the previous party losing the majority. In the same way the Nazi Party rose to power to make a new nation, it also led to their downfall.

As the war grew on, they slowly lost their majority and by the time the war was over majority was loss, but the Nazi party was practically done in by the allies regardless when the majority was indeed gone. Majority broke the nation though because they were all for going to war which led to their demise. These cases of majority breaking a nation happened countless times in the past as we saw empires rise and fall (not including falling due to being conquered) throughout the world existence. In some cases of these falls is due to poor economic support for the people or overall incapability in caring for them by providing products and services.

To explain how majority can be changed by those issues its simple by this example. Let’s say Canada has three primary fruits Kiwi, Banana and Strawberries. Each fruit holds equal value to Canadian citizens and the population consist of five million people. There’s an economic crisis happening in Canada that results in them dropping one of the fruits. So, a voting was held to decide which of the three fruit will stay, lowest vote gets the axe. The results are as followed:

As we can see the Kiwi received the lower number of votes and will get the boot, however like was stated before each of these fruits held equal value within the country. So if your government is doing so bad that they cant maintain a product in your country then its going to sway a lot of people away from the current personnel, especially the ones who voted to keep the kiwi. The same can be applied to a service, using the same information from the previous example in this case instead of fruits it will be Bus Service, Mail Service and Litter Collection Service. The results are as followed:

Again, we axe the one with the lower votes, but now the citizens have no litter control, so pollution is going to steadily increase, which will in turn lead to lost in trust of their government. Which will increase civil unrest and potentially lead to a revolt. This would only happen based on the crowd mentality, however. Which Karen Sternheimer’s mentions in her article “Civil Unrest, Riots, and Rebellions: What's the Difference?”

In her article, Sternheimer mentions a belief of a nineteenth century French sociologist about crowd mentality which goes as followed “Nineteenth century French sociologist Gustave Le Bon believed that people can become overtaken by a crowd mentality, and essentially can cease to behave rationally. He argued that because people feel anonymous, they commit acts of violence more freely.” One of the main things that must be considered when it comes to the masses is how easily they can turn on the government. One moment you can have them loving everything you do then the next they want you out the office asap.

Majority rule is a constant flip flop scenario and is why some personnel don’t see it as a logic way to decide on things such as voting on certain topics, because preferences are able to flip flop fast. There has been times where social unrest has led to a revolt regarding a certain event. For example, the LA riots of 1992, fuel by the police brutality on Rodney King, many African Americans took to the streets to show their unrest and disgust with the act. However, like Gustave believed, the crowd mentality took over and led to violent acts, robbery and arson throughout LA.

Due to this civil unrest, the U.S government had to step in to investigate the LAPD and find the lack of control and racism within their police force. They could’ve left it alone and let the state take care of itself but doing so would make the government look bad. So, intervention was indeed needed in order to keep the public on your side. Again, another case of how the government officials worry about keeping majority aka the people on their side. Of course, the government won’t do everything the people expects or ask for but will do what’s needed to keep everyone content.

This does raise the question of when the government decides when they think it’s best to intervene with an issue within the country. When the government is in a position like this, the decision can vary pending on who is currently employed in that spot because everyone view things differently. In most cases, pending it wasn’t a terrorist attack of some sort, they access the damage from the event, the public quick reaction and then decide if assistance is needed quickly or if they can take their time in deciding how they can go about this.

From a citizen standpoint we expect thing to be done quick, but the government can’t afford to send forces out there whenever something happens, especially not when the state government could potentially solve the issue themselves. The U.S government will not intervene at full effect unless it proves to be absolutely necessary. So, if everything is left to the state, majority rule rears its head even more in a faster fashion.

The best way to look at it is like receiving a package from amazon, do you do standard shipping, or do you go with the express shipping. When it comes to politics an express option is darn near impossible since there are protocols to bring state laws or policies into effect. It can usually take months at both level of government for a bill to go through the procedure of becoming law, but if an issue arises where the results are needed fast then it can be as fast as 10 days. Taking that into account, this applies to every state and every state have its own set of people. Which means each governor must satisfy these people like congress have to satisfy everyone in order to keep the majority.

The reason amazon delivery was used as an example in this case is because we the people have a quicker route to get a law that we want within our own state via the governor. Going through congress is a longer process since there are more protocols to go through and more members to discuss the proposition with. Within the state however, yes there are protocols, but there are less people to go through so a higher chance of a law that the state wants could potentially go through.

Especially since it just needs the governor signature instead of the president. This is how if the republican party for example wins the presidency and your state was a democratic state, your state can still pass bills that appeals to the people in that state even if it doesn’t appeal to the republican party. The only time we may see the opposing party jump in is if members of the state board is highly republican, or the propose law is over the top and wouldn’t get through congress inspection in the end.

Moreover, now we’re seeing how majority rule at all levels of life plays into the factor of everything around us. Because the results of a majority rule on one topic can affect the majority rule of another topic. In this case, going back to an early example of a corporate HQ wanting to move into the state, the state government had to get a majority within themselves to decide if this decision was even plausible. Which is why when they decide to give it a try it is then trickle down to us to make the next majority decision.

Once a decision is made, now talks begin within other companies within the nation because they have a strong competitor HQ directly entering their state. Which now results in a majority ruling discussion on what the next course of action will be. If multiple preferences are peaked throughout the company when it comes to the decision for example, should the company move, stay put or expand to try and counter the new threat.

Results shows that majority can be run in many different scenarios. So, when problems like these arises the company can let the owner decide since the majority voting is close and debatable. This is one of the biggest issues of majority because of chances like these where the results aren’t exactly definitive.

In conclusion, when it comes to majority, we see it in everyday life and in everyday politics because this is what the country was founded on everyone being united and having a say in a matter. Although there are flaws in the majority system, it still allows the people to have a say in something which makes the country the democracy it is today. Whether or not majority ruling can make or break a nation, well this really come down to how the people react when something happens.

Will there be unrest and potential revolt or will they accept the ruling? We have seen other nations rise and fall because of a majority ruling, even the very country we live in today is founded base on the results of a majority ruling. The nation came to be from it and it can very well be broken by it as we have seen almost happen on multiple occasions. Majority ruling can make or break a nation, it’s how the nation leaders react to the people that will decide in the end though which side the country will fall under.

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