Summary Of Benjamin Bishin's Tyranny Of The Minority

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Democracy was created in ancient Greece as a way to ensure equality throughout all the people, a new concept in the time of kings and empires. This meant no bureaucrats, no socialism and no totalitarianism. The dream is a beautiful one; however, it is slightly out of reach. The United States of America decrees itself a government “for the people, by the people” but is it really? There are many different words used to describe the American government and political system: democratic, demoralizing or even, dystopian. Benjamin Bishin, in his book, Tyranny of the Minority: The Subconstituency Politics Theory of Representation, claims that American politics are ruled by small, typically minority-filled groups of devoted voters whereas Paul Frymer’s…show more content…
The demand model, in its simplest form, is a theory stating that the people have preferences and legislators act according to majority will. Along with the majority getting what it wants, the demand model claims people are more aware and knowledgeable about issues that have higher visibility, such as gay rights or abortion, versus lower visibility issues such as the Cuban trade embargo laws and hate crime legislation. According to Bishin in his work Tyranny of the Minority: The Subconstituency Politics Theory of Representation, there are a few problems with this theory. For starters, legislators’ responsiveness varies. If the demand model was true, this responsiveness would be constant – yet there have been a fair percentage of times where the minority did get its way over the majority of the people. Another problem with this theory is the fact that “candidates usually take non-centrist positions,” favoring extreme positions versus the majority (Bishin 9). This contradicts the demand model directly since the theory states that political candidates act according to what the people want. The demand model is also faulty in the fact that there is low civic involvement. If only a percentage of Americans are involved, policies end up becoming a bit biased towards the voters that did participate and this is precisely what needs to be avoided as this does not make for a healthy democracy.…show more content…
With only three key components, it would appear that this would be an achievable goal. Nonetheless, democracy is not as simple as it appears. The government and its elected officials create policies divvying up who get what, when and how; if this is always the case then it’s assumed the majority should always get its way, yet there have been instances where the minority is victorious. Benjamin Bishin claims these minority wins can be predicted due to his theory of subconstituency as described in his work, Tyranny of the Minority: The Subconstituency Politics Theory of Representation, and that these wins “enhances stability” and “provides legitimacy” but his theory is severely inconsistent with Paul Frymer’s findings, depicted in his work, Uneasy Alliances (164). The two men both believe the current American political system is unjust but that’s about as much as they agree

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