What Would Improve American Democracy?
What Would Improve American Democracy?
Democracy is a system of governance in which eligible citizens of a country participate in equal terms in the development, proposal, and laws establishment in the running of the society and its affairs. The American democracy is based on the political, social, and economic equality throughout. With the founding principles, the government functions by consent, social contract and guarantees of the civil liberties and rights are protected by the constitution. Structures that shape the democracy include the presidency, congress, the courts, and state governments. Through public participation, the citizens carry an influence on the direction the country heads. One of the major problems facing the American democracy is the increasing response to special interests rather than the public interests. Affluent powers have taken over the interest of the nation through political system while the public have little. In order to fix the deficit in democracy, economic inequality should be addressed while election empowerment should be given top priority.
Over the years, the powers gained by the affluent individuals and private interests have been on the increase to greater heights than before. (Gilens 12) states that the government of the day has given more concentration to the influence, demands, and interests of the private groups, affluent individuals and certain vested organizations at the expense of the citizens. In a democratic government, the interests of the people are above the unfair influence, disproportionate allocation, and terms of the private entities. The problem is on the negative trend with the government becoming less responsive to the citizens as greed for power and economic muscle stifles the development for the people. The trend has seen citizens increase on the public hostility towards the government and politicians.
The primary problem to all the above lies in the economic inequality experienced throughout the country. Some individuals, organizations, and private entities have extreme financial resources, which ultimately turns into political influence. The private economic power is turned into public political power in that the former determines the kind of leaders who will assume offices of governance to promote and protect their interests (Patterson 14). The public do not carry enough influence especially through matters of election processes, as they have to choose from the leaders presented by the established political systems. A closer look at the financial support to the political systems points back at the economically empowered private interests.
In order to address the issues of economic inequality, the state and federal minimum wages should be raised. In the last decades, the minimum wage in the country has been on the fall. Increasing it would help uplift those individuals at the bottom (Gilens 71). As concerns the incomes of the working class and the poor, living wages should be paid by the companies, which have government contracts and subsidies. In order to tackle unemployment, full employment policies should be instituted. The rates of corporate salaries should be lowered as well as enabling of reasonable limits to those on top. Union powers should be bolstered and given more influence to tackle the wage inequality.
Democracy is determined by the choice of leaders. Through economic inequality, the private interests fund the political parties and thus have a clear say on the leaders to carry the mantle and protect their interest at the expense of the citizens. In order for the private interests not to dominate the political system, public funding should be mandated while the private funding scrapped entirely through legislation (Patterson 62). Public funding will ensure there is no translation of economic advantage into political advantage. Lobbying and attention to special interest will cease, as the leaders will turn back to the electorate based on their competencies and portfolios for elections.
Empowerment of voters is ideal for the revitalization of democracy in America. The method used for vote casting and the deciding process of the winner should be rectified. The one-winner takes all system is unbalanced. The chosen winner will ideally represent the interests of those who voted for him while the rest are neglected. Proportional Representation should be adopted to cater for the interest of all citizens despite their differences in allegiances (Gilens 87). The state legislature of constituting members determines the representation of the district members into fractional numbers. For example, in a district with ten members, if the democrats get 50% of the votes, they should be entitled to five seats, the republicans with 30 % should be allocated three seats while the rest obtain the remainder.
The American democracy is based on
the government’s functions through consent, protection of liberties, civil
rights through the constitution, structures that shape it and public
participation of the state of affairs. Over the last decades, private entities,
affluent individuals and some organizations have taken over the political
advantage and translated it into disproportionate wield of absolute power in
government at the expense of the citizens. Economic inequality has further
strengthened their claim as they determine the leaders to seek mandate, the
government’s functions, and state affairs. Increased public hostility, mistrust
of the government and civil unrest has become order of the day. In order to fix
the deficit in democracy, economic inequality should be addressed while
election empowerment should take immediate effect.
Gilens, Martin. Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2012. Print.
Patterson, Thomas E. The American Democracy. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. Print.
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