In his just published autobiography, Fire and Ashes, Harvard professor Michael Ignatieff discusses the lessons learned from five years as a leader in the Liberal Party of Canada.
Coming off of a second place finish Ignatieff was presented with a dramatic offer by two other parties to form an unprecedented coalition government and become Prime Minister in place of the incumbent Stephen Harper. Ignatieff rejected the idea and the office out of hand. In his words, “You can make coalitions among winners. In our case it was a coalition of losers. How were we to explain to the voters that we were throwing out a government duly re-elected?”
In other words, in a democracy elections matter. This is a lesson that the Republican Party has rejected over the past two decades as it increasingly seeks to practice electoral nullification.
In 2008 President Obama ran on a platform that included healthcare reform. He was elected by a margin of 9.6 million votes and an even larger majority in the Electoral College along with a Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress. Keeping true on his pledge, the Affordable Care Act was passed and signed into law. The Republicans, not accepting defeat, challenged the constitutionality of the law, a position rejected by the Supreme Court.
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