Intro to American Politics: 12:40-1:40
2. What are the basic elements of democracy? That is, what minimal standards must a democracy? Meet, and why? What are some things that are debatable in terms of being necessary for a Democracy? Defend your choices.
Democracy is not a simple idea, it can be defined as “a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.” But what does that actually include? Words like equality, formal written constitutions and elections that are voted on by the general public. The most common system that is deemed "democratic" in the modern world is parliamentary democracy, in which the voting public takes part in elections and chooses politicians to represent them in a legislative assembly. Two ideas that I believe are necessary to have a democracy is education and locally based government. There are also some common beliefs that people have in democracy that are not technically necessary to have a true democracy.
One way to look at democracy is that the only things that you need is an elected official that doesn’t guarantee power. For example, one could argue when a Vice President takes over the role of the president in the case of death, we are longer in a true democracy because the Vice President was not elected to be President by the general population. Technically the Minimalist Theory meets the requirements of the dictionary definition of Democracy but it is not something that would be seen as democratic in our current society. The Minimalist Theory of Democracy sets up the argument that democracy is not a dictated by the definition but how it is practiced in a real world society.
A real world society includes the ideas that I stated in the first paragraph such as a written constitution, education and a locally based government. The written constitution is necessary to ensure that the people who are in power are restricted to follow the guidelines and force them refrain from taking advantage of their office. Education is necessary for a democracy due to the fact that the public must be educated to be able to make a wise decision on who to elect into office. Without an educated public, the balance of power would be completely unbalanced because people who do not understand what they are voting for are not prepared for a democracy. In my opinion, an additional necessity is a locally based government, such as a state or regional government so there is not one overwhelming central