of others.rnProblems in determining and implementing the sense of thernmajority increase progressively with the number of decisionsrnthe government makes. It is doubtful if there is any majorityrnsense of the people in regard to most of the vast legislation, expenditure,rnand regulation that now comes out of Washington,rnnor even any public opinion at all. The more things that are decidedrnby the central state, and the fewer by society, the less majorityrnrule there can be.rnCan we really say today thatrnour counting of papers in arnbox, or of holes in a computer card,rnproduces majority rule in any but arnsuperficial sense?rnSetting the problem of the ongoing consent of the governedrnaside, even the process of electing our rulers seldom correspondsrnto glowing civics text descriptions of the will of the peoplernin action, hi the presidential election of 1992, there was norndecision by a majority. The Establishment, including its mediarnwing, has assiduously ignored this and acted as though it didrnnot happen. The primary fact of the election was that itrnshowed both ruling parties to be national minorities. Mr. Clintonrnwon with 43 percent of the vote, with half the eligible votersrnnot participating at all. A putatively popular incumbentrnPresident received even less.rnYet the Establishment acts as though a continuing mandaternexists for the present two parties. But the next election couldrnbe even more devastating i:o the hope of majority rule, which isrnone reason the media scramble to suppress and defame all seriousrnchallengers to the status quo. Should there be a three- orrnfour-way race in this year’s election, it is conceivable that a Presidentrncould be elected by a 35 percent plurality if it were wellrnplaced in California and a few other large states.rnThe problem is not with the Electoral College—that it is indirectrnand gives added weight to the smaller states and is thereforernundemocratic. These aspects arc completely in keepingrnwith the design of the Constitution. The problem is the gimmicksrnwhich politicians have rigged into the practice by law andrncustom. Why, when we have popular vote, should all the electoralrnvotes of a state go to a candidate who won by 51 percentrn(or by 35 percent in a three-way field)? Not because this is arnbetter form of democracy, but because it makes it easier forrnpoliticians to win elections. (It also gives more power to partyrnmembers in states that are less loyal to the party than in thosernthat are loyal.) This is not in keeping with the spirit of the Constitution.rnHow many Americans think that the Democrats and Republicansrnare in the Constitution? In fact, the Constitutionrnpervasively and deliberately seeks to minimize the power of politicalrnparties. The presidential electors were supposed to bernoutstanding citizens who gathered in their state capitals to deliberaternand make a choice—not the obscure party hacks theyrnare now. The electors could be chosen in any way the state determinedrn—by the legislature or by the state’s (not federal) franchise,rnand in the latter case either by a general ticket or by districts.rnSuch was the practice in the beginning. Nor did politicalrnparty conventions, that is, conclaves of professional politiciansrnand would-be professional politicians, determine who the candidatesrnwere to be. But now the party conventions, themselvesrnrigged with all sorts of tricks to distort majority rule, along withrnthe media, decide the candidates.rnUnder the Constitution, if there was no majority in the ElectoralrnCollege, then the election would be decided by the Housernof Representatives among the top contenders—with each staternhaving one vote. It was a sensible way to evolve a majority, arnfirmer and more federal consensus. It was not expected that allrnthe members of the House would be party hacks. In the beginningrnthey were not.rnOur present party system did not begin to take hold until thernI830’s, and then chiefly in states like New York, Pennsylvania,rnand Ohio where both state and federal patronage were sizable,rnand organizations could be built and maintained on spoils.rnRepresentation elsewhere, in Massachusetts and South Carolina,rnfor instance, continued to be based upon principle ratherrnthan organization. In the early days of the government, a federalrnrepresentative could know and be known by nearly everyrnsubstantial citizen in his district. Moreover, he had to meet thernpeople face to face and debate his potential opponents. He wasrnthe representative of his people, who knew his character, andrnnot the creature of party.rnThere remained many relatively independent members ofrnCongress right down to the War Between the States. In fact,rnelections, the counting of heads, were relatively unimportant.rnOnce the two or three candidates had debated around the district,rnit was pretty clear who was the choice, and the others oftenrnwithdrew before the count. Serving in Congress was not arnmoney-making proposition or a long-term career.rnIt was also true that many congressional districts, and thisrnwas also true of state legislative districts, through continuityrnover time, had developed characters of their own, even if theyrndid not always strictly reflect “one man, one vote.” Artificialrncreations like congressional districts and counties acquiredrnidentities for those who lived there, so that being the representativernof “the Old Ninth” carried with it a strong if intangiblernidentification with a particular known history, geography, andrncollection of communities.rnThe Supreme Court’s “one man, one vote” decisions haverndestroyed all of this. Even though state constitutions, presumablyrnthe voice of the people, chose to distribute legislative powerrnin part by considerations other than numbers, in the interestrnof better representation, the voice of the people meant nothingrncompared to the Justices’ notions of equality. So today we havernlegislative districts devised by computer that divide not onlyrncounties but neighborhoods, which snake up and down 100-rnfoot corridors of superhighways, and change every few years.rnThese changes have hardly been remarked upon, but they havernhopelessly distorted the relationship between representativesrnand their constituents and compromised the will of thernmajority.rnMoreover, who are the people forming the majority? WhenrnI last went to renew my driving license, in a peaceful suburb inrn22/CHRONICLESrnrnrn