It’s About Tribes! Balance of Power Necessary For Minority Tribes

All conflicts are tribal. Even those conflicts within Tribes are about factions (‘sub-tribes’) within tribes. How sub-tribes and minority Tribes are allow to participate in governing determines the way they are respected and how they survive.

Take Iraq for example. The major tribes are Shiite, Sunni and Kurd with many other minor tribes (e.g., Christian Iraqis). Since the majority of the country is Shiite and if they can come to vote as a block, the Shiite’s will control the country and the Sunni and Kurd Tribes are powerless. Even if the Sunni and Kurd Tribes could form a political alliance, they would still be in the minority. Is there any hope for Iraq as country then? The answer depends on their governing structure.

If a super majority such as 60, 66 or even 75% is need for major constitutional and oil revenue redistribution then the minority tribes could garner enough influence to demand respect and prevent a simple majority overwhelming them. As an alternative a majority of each tribe’s representative would have to support the measure. In these situations, the minority Tribes/Parties cannot be ignored.

Ironically, in the USA W. Bush and his VP Dick saw a 51% slim majority as a “mandate” to lead all the people the way this slim majority desired. They railroaded the other 49% and caused them enough pain to throw the Republican Tribes out of office and also take their ruling majorities away. The Bush Republican Coalition was made up of the Conservatives, Capitalists and Christian Tribes. This coalition fell apart due to the Conservative’s hegemony and Capitalists’ financial mismanagements.

Does this mean the Democrats can govern at will? No because the “60% filibuster rule” in the Senate allows a minority to maintain power by preventing the majority to act. Thus there is a mechanism for minorities parties (‘tribes’) to be respected. Paradoxically, this minority power that the Republicans hold on to so dearly, is the same power they threatened to take away from the Democrats when they lead the Senate. Their “nuclear option” to get rid of the 60% filibuster would not be serving them well at this time. Republicans need to know that what goes around comes around.

Even the Democrats have sub-tribes. The Minorities (e.g., Hispanic, African-American), Liberal and Moderate Tribes. The Liberal Tribe’s Health Care Reform is garnering some resistance from the Moderate Tribe and will have to be changed to get passed. Compromise and accommodation (‘two dirty words’ to Conservatives) will be required to have a measure passed.

Israel is a reverse example. Israel’s major Tribes are so evenly split that very, very small Minority Tribes (e.g., Ultra Orthodox Jewish Tribe) have garnered unprecedented control to make a majority. If a super-majority was required to bring down a government, then the power of very small Minority Tribes can be prevented from becoming controlling.

Successful governing is about including all tribes and balancing power. It is not about a majority takes all because this leaves out a significant number of citizens. It about inclusiveness, compromise and respect of all citizens.

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