Elite and popular democracy both have different perspectives when it comes to how a democratic system should work. In elite democracy, a rule is a heavy responsibility that should be borne by the few elite members of society, chosen by the people, who have proven themselves most capable. On the other hand, in popular democracy the people should rule themselves as much as possible, and the political system should facilitate their participation. Both models undertake a representative democratic form of rule.
Elite democracy is a political system in which the privileged classes acquire the power to decide by a competition for the people’s votes and have substantial freedom between elections to rule as they see fit. In other words, the elites are people of superior ability, and they obtain the ability to rule through the consent of the people, by a free and fair competition for people’s votes. Popular democracy is a political system in which the citizens are involved as much as possible in making the decisions that affect their lives. People want to, and should be able to, be involved as much as possible in decisions that affect their lives. In order for people to ensure that they can participate effectively they need access to education, more information, time, and a system that doesn’t shut them out, but instead lets them in.
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The constitution was created to place limitations on the federal government and each of its branches. When it comes to the constitution reflecting the perspective elite democracy has, they sort of bump heads with each other. The constitution is for the people, and that’s why it places limitations on the federal government, so they won’t exceed their power. In elite democracy, although the people choose the leaders based on their capacity for judgement, the elite leaders don’t always listen to what the people are saying, or what they want. Democracy means rule by the people, and elite democrats have been creating new arguments to limit democracy. They don’t like the idea of ordinary people ruling, because they’re the ones who want to be in control. When it comes to popular democracy, the constitution reflects it quite well. Popular democracy does not limit the people when it comes to their participation in governing, in fact, they encourage it. Our system of government reflects more on elite democracy and that is because only the House of Representatives reflects the principles of popular democracy, and it has the least power of the three branches. Congress leaders are elite, and they check on executive power, as well as judicial. Each branch has members who work together to implement laws, and they’re not just ordinary people, they’re people of power. So when it comes to the three branches, the elite reflects more upon them than popular does. The federal system’s purpose is to divide the power between the national government and state or local governments. Now, this is where I think both democracies—elite and popular work together. It takes action from a citizen to convince the government to do something that will benefit all its people.
Overall, I do believe we would be better off if our system of government reflected popular democracy more so than elite because I do think that our leaders are not fully listening to us, and they’re choosing to do things that in the end will only benefit them, instead of us, the people of America.
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