Majority or minority?


Sometimes I am reminded of the tendency of people to cling to ideas that are simply not true; like the idea that the “majority rules” when voting. This is one of those times.

We live in a republic — not a true democracy where “50% plus one” make the decisions. Citizens vote for president — but the “electors” in each state are the ones who’s votes are counted — a candidate can win the “popular vote” of the citizens and lose the election.

The same is true of votes that are made by our representatives in Congress. There are 100 United States Senators; two who represent each of the 50 states. If every senator voted, many would think that 51 votes in favor of an issue would be representative of the “majority” and would therefore win. That is not always true.

On Wednesday, July 22nd, by a margin of 58-39, a bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate voted in favor of an amendment offered by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and David Vitter (R-LA) to provide interstate recognition of Right-to-Carry permits.

The amendment to S.1390 — the National Defense Authorization Act — would acknowledge that the right to self-defense extends across state lines.

Under this provision, individuals with permits from their home state, or who are otherwise legally allowed to carry a firearm in their home state, could legally carry a firearm in any other state that issues permits.

Even though the majority of the Senate voted to allow this potentially life-saving self-defense legislation, the Thune-Vitter amendment did not pass because it fell just two votes short of an artificially created requirement of 60 votes for approval.

This 60-vote approval threshold was decided upon by a procedural agreement between Senate leaders. The agreement was, in part, used to avoid a filibuster and any hostile amendments to the Thune-Vitter amendment.

Once again, the vocal minority wins. Are you part of the “silent majority”?