What Bristol's DWTS Run Says About Our Politics

Supposedly, there's no static majority—but Palin found one
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2010 9:43 AM CST
What Bristol's DWTS Run Says About Our Politics
In this publicity image released by ABC, Bristol Palin, left, and her partner Mark Ballas perform on the celebrity dance competition series "Dancing with the Stars," on Nov. 8, 2010 in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/ABC, Adam Larkey)

Bristol Palin's near-win on Dancing With the Stars is just another example of the fact that, in the US, "the spoils, perhaps more often than we like to think, go not to the majority (remember Al Gore?) but to the most fervent minority," writes Neal Gabler on Politico. But even though Palin's DWTS stint "provided a veritable model of how our political system operates," it simultaneously challenged a premise of democracy: The idea that, as political theorist Robert Dahl said, there is no such thing as a static majority; rather, majorities shift as issues shift.

Fortunately, that "has meant no single force could monopolize power," Gabler writes ... until this season’s Dancing With the Stars, which "demonstrated is that it is possible to have a fixed, hardened majority." It didn't matter how badly Palin performed—and she performed quite badly—her supporters kept voting for her, week after week. And even though Palin lost, "her near triumph against the odds, and against clearly more skillful contestants, may well be a simulacrum of our changing political system and a harbinger of America’s political future—where the reward isn’t a mirrored disco ball but the White House."
(More Bristol Palin stories.)

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