It's a fundamental tension in a democracy: How do you have majority rule in a way that also protects minority rights? Journalist Ari Berman says the Founding Fathers struggled with that question back in 1787 — except, for them, white male landowners were the minority in need of protection.

"Most of the founders were skeptical of the public's ability to elect the president directly," Berman says. "So they created this very complicated situation in which electors would elect the president instead of the people electing the president directly."

In his new book, Minority Rule, Berman connects the debates and compromises of the country's founders to contemporary politics. He says the founding fathers created a system that concentrated power in the hands of the elite and that today, institutions like the Electoral College and the Senate — designed as a check against the power of the majority — are having much the same effect.