Election Day

MICHAEL KINSLEY in The New York Times:

Election Democracy is about more than just counting votes. It is about democratic institutions — legislatures, courts — and a culture of respect for them. It is about political egalitarianism: we may not be equal in any other way, but we are all supposed to be equal as citizens. In the American tradition, democracy is also about individual rights, even though protecting these rights can mean thwarting the will of a democratic majority.

The current result of American democracy (though this may change on Tuesday) is Republican control of the presidency, both houses of Congress and (undeniably by now) the federal courts. And that, in turn, has produced policies that, unless I badly misjudge the demographics, most readers of The New York Times Book Review don’t care for: unjustified tax breaks for the rich, a miserable war in Iraq, unbelievable indifference to civil liberties (Secret prison camps? Torture?? America???), among other treats. But this doesn’t prove any flaws in democracy itself. Maybe it’s what people want.

More here.