Download By Popular Demand: Revitalizing Representative Democracy by John Gastil PDF

By John Gastil

John Gastil demanding situations traditional assumptions approximately public opinion, elections, and political expression during this persuasive treatise on tips to revitalize the procedure of consultant democracy within the usa. Gastil argues that americans have trouble constructing transparent coverage pursuits, seldom reject unrepresentative public officers, and shortage a powerful public voice. Our starting to be information of a mistaken electoral procedure is inflicting elevated public cynicism and apathy. the most well-liked reforms, despite the fact that, will neither repair public belief nor increase illustration. time period limits and crusade finance reforms increases turnover, yet they supply no mechanism for superior deliberation and responsibility. development at the good fortune of citizen juries and deliberative polling, Gastil proposes enhancing our present approach by way of convening randomly chosen panels of voters to planned for numerous days on poll measures and applicants. electorate might know about the judgments of those citizen panels via balloting publications and probably details revealed on reliable ballots. the end result will be a extra consultant gov-ernment and a much less cynical public. the United States has an extended heritage of experimentation with electoral platforms, and the proposals in by means of well known call for advantage severe attention and debate.

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INTERESTS AND IDEOLOGY A fundamental requirement for democratic self-governance is that the public must develop clearly defined interests that it can articulate during and between elections. One of the principles of democracy is that an individual is the best judge of what is in his or her best interest. Democratic political processes presume that it is best to let each individual articulate his or her own wants and needs. Other people may sometimes be in a better position to judge one’s interests; however, there is no way to know when that is the case, so it is safer to assume the competence of every individual to decide his or her own interests.

Within every ideological camp, there are deep divisions on important issues that make it difficult for citizens to learn and adopt consistent views. More generally, elites model attitudes that dismiss alternative points of view, and they pass this extremism down to citizens who might otherwise prefer a more balanced policy position. This problem becomes acute when citizens seek to understand the larger public good. Ideological filtering of elite messages does not help a citizen develop a broad public perspective on current issues.

Deliberation requires both citizens and representatives to present reasons and justifications for their views and to consider alternative views. When successful, deliberation can confer legitimacy upon even majoritarian policy decisions, so long as those decisions take conflicting views into account. 42 Relating these advantages to the exit, voice, and loyalty model, deliberation can strengthen the public’s voice, ease its ability to collectively reject unrepresentative officeholders, and inspire a modest loyalty to responsive elected officials.

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