The United States suffers the continued costs of maintaining a racial hierarchy. Enhanced diversity and growing realization of the economic costs of that hierarchy could lead to democratic pressure for reform. Yet, in the U.S., elites on the radical right seek to entrench themselves in power through the constriction of voting power and the strategic use of the racial hierarchy as a political tool. This Article traces the anti-democratic efforts of the radical right to limit the political power of the nation's enhanced diversity, and to utilize archaic governance measures to entrench themselves politically, regardless of the costs of allowing the racial hierarchy to continue to fester. Antidemocratic efforts to limit voting power to assure non-democratic governance and outcomes recently scored significant success as recounted in this Article. The anti-democratic contrivances to limit the power of enhanced diversity requires comparable countermeasures to vindicate the core value of expanded democracy that find its roots in our history and in the Constitution's trajectory towards ever greater democratic governance. This Article surveys countermeasures that could lead to the preservation and even expansion of democratic governance. It concludes that only through a renewed pursuit of expansive voting rights can we restore our democracy and move the nation away from its racist past.CONTENTS INTRODUCTION I. RACE AND THE ATTACK ON U.S. DEMOCRACY II. THE SUPREME COURT'S NEW OLIGARCHY III. DEMOCRACY STRIKES BACK IV. REFORMING DEMOCRACY CONCLUSION
Some notable scholars maintain that the United States' racial hierarchy will endure permanently. (1) Others maintain that appropriate legal frameworks can diminish the influence of racial hierarchies, at least to the extent that human capital is broadly developed (2) and the rule of law (3) operates free of racial discrimination. (4) Attitudes may operate beyond the law, at least over the short and medium term, but law can operate free of discrimination, and if all human capital develops to its maximum potential, then perhaps law sets the stage for continual progress in terms of eliminating racial privileges and hierarchies. (5) This more sanguine view of the possibility of deracialization, however, assumes that demographic and economic pressures find expression through a rationalized system of democratic decision-making that reflects the needs and desires of the entire population. (6) But in the U.S. today, democracy and majority rule prove elusive. (7)
In terms of economics, the U.S. faces an enormous challenge that promises to steadily worsen: the corrosive influence of a socially constructed racial hierarchy that leaves millions of young Americans stranded at the margins of our economy and deprives our economy of a rationalized human-capital-formation function. (8) Our legal and educational system propagates and entrenches this irrational economic reality, and the legal academy plays a central role in this deeply suboptimal economic outcome (9) by failing to teach both the role of the Supreme Court's emphasis on using the Equal Protection Clause to protect only those at the top of economic and social hierarchies and the importance of the core value of democracy. (10) Our entire society bears...