Book Talk: Ari Berman — Minority Rule

Politics and Prose
5015 Connecticut Avenue Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20008

The mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, represented an extreme form of the central danger facing American democracy today: a blatant disregard for the will of the majority. But this crisis didn’t begin or end with Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election. Through voter suppression, election subversion, gerrymandering, dark money, the takeover of the courts, and the whitewashing of history, reactionary white conservatives have strategically entrenched power in the face of a massive demographic and political shift. Ari Berman charts these efforts with sweeping historical research and incisive on-the-ground reporting, chronicling how a wide range of antidemocratic tactics interact with profound structural inequalities in institutions like the Electoral College, the Senate, and the Supreme Court to threaten the survival of representative government in America.

“The will of the people,” wrote Thomas Jefferson in 1801, “is the only legitimate foundation of any government.” But that foundation is crumbling. Some counter-majoritarian measures were deliberately built into the Constitution, which was designed in part to benefit a small propertied upper class, but they have metastasized to a degree that the Founding Fathers could never have anticipated, undermining the very notion of “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Chilling and revelatory, Minority Rule exposes the long history of the conflict between white supremacy and multiracial democracy that has reached a fever pitch today–while also telling the inspiring story of resistance to these regressive efforts.

Ari Berman is the national voting rights correspondent for Mother Jones and a reporting fellow at Type Media Center. He’s the author of Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America (finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction) and Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post and Rolling Stone, and he is a frequent commentator on MSNBC and NPR. He’s won the Sidney Hillman Foundation Prize for Magazine Journalism and an Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in independent media. He lives in New Paltz, New York.

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