Category Archives: David Lublin

How Catalonia’s Separatists Won the Election Despite Losing the Vote

Nothing on Maryland today because I’ve been riveted by the Catalan regional elections. Instead, I wrote a piece for The Monkey Cage blog in the Washington Post explaining why the separatist victory is a manufactured product of Catalonia’s electoral system.

Despite losing the popular vote, pro-independence leaders are still claiming a strong mandate. Looks like the standoff will continue, providing for more political instability and threatening Spain’s economic recovery.

The next question is whether Carles Puigdemont, the leader of the largest pro-independence party, will try to govern Catalonia from Brussells, where he fled to avoid arrest by Spanish police after the central government ousted him from the same post.


Stacked for Separatists? Catalonia’s Version of the Electoral College

Believe it or not, I don’t study Maryland much for my day job as a political scientist. Read my analysis on Catalonia in the Monkey Cage blog in the Washington Post.

Notwithstanding separatist leader Carles Puigdemont’s dramatic flight to Brussels, Catalonia’s fade from American headlines gives the impression that normalcy is gradually returning to the region in the wake of the ousting of the region’s separatist government by the Spanish central government.

Appearances are deceiving. New regional elections are scheduled for December 21 and the electoral system may yet again manufacture a separatist majority in a manner eerily parallel to the electoral college. In other words, what Catalonia has just gone through might well be the end of the beginning rather than the beginning of the end.



My New Book: Minority Rules

Lublin Cover

I am pleased to announce the publication of my new book, Minority Rules: Electoral Systems, Decentralization and Ethnoregional Party Systems by Oxford University Press.

Everyone loves to write about failure. There are shelves of books about ethnic conflicts in Bosnia, Israel, and Rwanda. But wouldn’t it be easier to try to keep Humpty Dumpty up on that darn wall rather than having to put him back together again? Minority Rules eschews the usual focus on failure to study the representation of minorities in free democracies in roughly 80 countries around the globe from the tiniest nations in Polynesia to India and the U.S.

Contrary to theories that emphasize sources of minority discontent–such as disputes over natural resource wealth–Minority Rules demonstrates that electoral rules play a dominant role in explaining not just why ethnic and regional parties perform poorly or well but why one potential ethnic cleavage, like language, emerges instead of another, like religion. Unlike past studies, Minority Rules finds that decentralization does not augment the success of ethnoregional parties.

This matters because the emergence of ethnic and regional parties along with the failure to incorporate them meaningfully into political systems has long been associated with ethnic conflict. As a result, the findings, which derive from a rich empirical foundation, have important implications not only for reaching successful settlements to such conflicts but also for preventing violent majority-minority conflicts from breaking out in the first place.

David Lublin is Professor of Government in the School of Public Affairs at American University. He is the author of The Paradox of Representation and The Republican South.


My Retirement

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

I wanted to let you know that I plan to step down from the Town Council this May at the end of my term. I feel very fortunate and honored to have received the trust of the people in the Town of Chevy Chase and to have had the opportunity to serve on the Council the past six years, including two as mayor.

I’m looking forward to remaining involved in the community. Thanks to Housing Unlimited, a wonderful organization that provides housing for people with psychiatric disabilities here in Montgomery County, for the privilege of letting me serve on their Board.

Though I didn’t file for reelection, I am very pleased to have been nominated for my professional association’s governing Council. I look forward to having more opportunity to focus on my research and to indulge my love of travel.

I’ve learned and gained so much from the experience–my respect for those of you who are running has increased all the more. I appreciate all of the friendship and support so many people in the Town have given me. The best part about serving on the Council is all of the great people that I have gotten to know.

Many thanks and all the best,