As this government shutdown has come to absorb not merely the day-to-day functioning of government but also our national health care policy and the looming debt ceiling, it becomes harder and harder not to see this episode as the beginnings of a legitimate constitutional crisis.
By all accounts, this shutdown was formally instigated by 80 Republicans House members who wanted the Speaker to more aggressively work to “defund” Obamacare. Whatever one thinks of Obamacare, of Big Government, these Republicans are hardly representative of the public as a whole:
These eighty members represent just eighteen per cent of the House and just a third of the two hundred and thirty-three House Republicans. They were elected with fourteen and a half million of the hundred and eighteen million votes cast in House elections last November, or twelve per cent of the total. In all, they represent fifty-eight million constituents. That may sound like a lot, but it’s just eighteen per cent of the population.
I actually thought one of the big takeways from November’s election was that the United States and our public policies increasingly faces a vast landed majority that is very much a numerical minority.