What Happens when Presidents Can Ignore Majority Opinion

As the shutdown drags on and on, it is becoming increasingly clear that our political system makes possible a course of action most Americans oppose.  As Ronald Brownstein writes for The Atlantic:

“Trump has abandoned any pretense of seeking to represent majority opinion and is defining himself almost entirely as the leader of a minority faction.

That carries big long-term risks for the GOP, as the Democratic gains in the House last November demonstrated. But because the structure of the Senate and the Electoral College disproportionately favors the older, non-college-educated, evangelical, and rural white voters who comprise his faction, Trump’s approach could sustain itself for years. And that promises a steady escalation in political conflict and polarization as Republicans tilt their strategy toward the demands of an ardent minority—and lose the moderating influence of attempts to hold support from a majority of Americans.”

Most Americans agree that appealing only to the extreme wings of both parties is a losing strategy for America.  The electoral college is the only reason a party can choose this approach and remain viable.