I understand the practical difficulties associated with a Labor-Lib Dem coalition (among other things, it would rely on the votes of smaller parties). What I don't get this is objection that such a coalition would "have no moral legitimacy."Here's the objection, from Nile Gardiner of Heritage over at NRO:
It would have no moral legitimacy. Labour lost heavily in this election, and the Liberals were humiliated. The Conservatives won the largest number of seats and votes by a large margin, yet will be kept out of power. The public and much of the media will be overwhelmingly opposed to such a government.J. Chait: Isn't this fairly obvious? I assume that the answer is more or less along the same logic as that of the Democrats ignoring the will of the voters by not doing exactly what Republicans wanted after the Scott Brown election.
More seriously...Chait is of course correct. There is no "correct" democratic answer to the quandry: Labour surely lost the election, the Lib-Dems surely didn't win it, and yet combined they surely do have more seats (and received far more votes) than the Conservative Party by itself.
To me, this is an excellent argument for a system that forces compromise before the election (that is, by building two large, coalition-type parties) and after the government is formed (by using a system of separated institutions sharing powers), instead of a multiparty system that forces compromise after the election and a parliamentary system that readily enacts whatever the resulting government wants. But whether you agree with me or not about that, what it does help to make clear is that any majorities in large nations are constructed, not natural, just as James Madison realized -- which means, in my opinion, being careful about how much authority one gives to those majorities.