ForumsWEPRThe USA: a real republic?

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Calm
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Calm
911 posts
Herald

Firstly, I wanted to explain why I created this topic. I'm not living in the States and I'm not an American citizen. However, I had a lecture about the electoral process in the USA and I wanted to know what you Americans think about you're country's electoral process.
Please set all patriotic answers aside and say whay you really think

My first question is Do you think the USA election process for Presidential elections is effective? Indeed, the American electoral process does not rely on direct elections but the citizens elect a College of delegates which in turn elects the President. This actually means that it is possible for a candidate to receive a plurality of the popular vote and yet lose the election!

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thelistman
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thelistman
1,417 posts
Shepherd

There are flaws in every electoral process. In Constitutional Monarchy Parliamentary Democracies, the people don't directly choose the leader. Example: In Britain, the people elect the Parliament. The party with the most seats then chooses the Prime Minister. Now a days they tell whom they are going to pick ahead of time. But what if I like the Labour Party candidate in my county, but not the Prime Minister candidate? I'm really casting my vote for both, or neither.

In other Parliamentary systems like Italy, the Prime Minister and President is so weak. Rarely is a majority government formed. Thus they usually have less than 50% support in congress. To many in America that sounds great, that means they cannot abuse power. But that means little can get done. Italy has had about 70 different congresses since the end of WWII, because once the Prime Minster realizes nothing can get done, he calls for new elections. Very little reform ever happens.

There is no perfect electoral system. The US is not perfect. Constitutional Monarchies are not perfect. Parliamentary Democracies are not perfect. Nothing will ever be the best system. Every way could use improvements. But in the end, they are all free and fair elections. That's the most important thing in my opinion.

Drace
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Drace
3,880 posts
Nomad

"But in the end, they are all free and fair elections."

So just deceive people making them think it mattered?

Yea thats true but it will be probably the same thing if we just picked the president by random..

thelistman
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thelistman
1,417 posts
Shepherd

Yea thats true but it will be probably the same thing if we just picked the president by random..


My point is that you can vote in America, whether or not if the system is flawed. In most Middle-East, African, and Asian nations, there is one name on the ballot. If you think about voting for anyone else, there will be a firing squad on your doorstep in minutes.
Drace
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Drace
3,880 posts
Nomad

Yea thats what I'm saying.

You can vote, but it doesn't matter. The voting system just makes everyone calm and gives them a "right"

thelistman
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thelistman
1,417 posts
Shepherd

The voting system allows us to keep checks on politicians. Very rarely will a brutal, genocidal, or murderous politician be elected. Without elections, politicians are free to do what they want, with or without the people.

hellian00
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hellian00
874 posts
Nomad

The US is not a republic, it is a Constitutional Democracy. That's ironic however, because the word "democracy" is never mentioned in The Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution. The founding fathers wanted a Republic, which diddn't happen.

thelistman
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thelistman
1,417 posts
Shepherd

@hellian00

Wrong. It's a Federal Republic. Or to be more specific a "Constitutional federal presidential republic." A republic is a country where we vote for people to represent our interests in government. That's exactly what we do. The original definition of a democracy is where the people pretty much vote on everything, like Ancient Athens. No country is really a democracy using classical definitions.

Calm
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Calm
911 posts
Herald

The United States is, indeed, a republic, not a democracy. Accurately defined, a democracy is a form of government in which the people decide policy matters directly--through town hall meetings or by voting on ballot initiatives and referendums. A republic, on the other hand, is a system in which the people choose representatives who, in turn, make policy decisions on their behalf. The Framers of the Constitution were altogether fearful of pure democracy. Everything they read and studied taught them that pure democracies "have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths"

Calm
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Calm
911 posts
Herald

In the strictest sense of the word, the system of government established by the Constitution was never intended to be a "democracy."
This is evident not only in the wording of the Pledge of Allegiance (which includes the phrase: "and to the republic for which it stands.&quot but in the Constitution itself which declares that "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government" (Article IV, Section 4).
Moreover, the scheme of representation and the various mechanisms for selecting representatives established by the Constitution were clearly intended to produce a republic, not a democracy.

SilvrDog
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SilvrDog
8 posts
Nomad

Our Election system is not a perfect system but it is a decent system.

Moegreche
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Moegreche
3,816 posts
Duke

You have a good question, Calm, and a much better understanding of American politics than most Americans do... especially for a Frency

But you are absolutely right, the "founding fathers" absolutely abhorred the idea of a democracy. Almost all of them were classically educated, which included reading in Plato, who denounced the democracy as "mob rule" and later Thomas Hobbes, who considered democracy to be nothing more than anarchy.
The Federalist Papers, some of the most important writing in American History, can give us a glimpse into why the founders decided to establish the electoral college. I'm sure if you poke around online a bit, you'll get lots of different opinions as to why the E.C. was created, but in my opinion there are 2 main reasons: 1) to avoid factionalism and 2) to separate the people from the president.

Regarding point 1, factions were a huge concern for most people and was one of the main reasons that many people opposed dissolving the Articles of Confederation (the 1st governing body of the U.S.). People were afraid that factions would be created and huge voting blocks would form, thus giving these people all the power. By having the electoral college, this direct manipulation of who gets to be in power could be avoided since it is the electors who ultimately cast their votes.

For the second point, also referring to The Federalist Papers, it is clear that men like Alexander Hamilton and James Madison had a strong disdain for the average citizen. They considered these people to be ignorant sheep that would follow anyone blindly without much persuasion. The electoral college, I believe, also serves as a barrier to stop the people from being manipulated by a charismatic tyrant.
This wall of separation is very real because technically, the electors do not necessarily have to vote for the candidate that won the state they represent! This may seem very silly to most people, but looking at these two points I have illustrated should give you some idea of the fears the founders had and the measures they sought to take in order to avoid tyrannical rule. They assumed the electors would be intelligent and well-educated enough to not be swayed like regular citizens.

As far as your question of effective goes, this is somewhat vague. The system is certainly effective, at least technically, since we always end up electing a new president. There are also other legal means of helping to protect the candidates against inside corruption. It seems like many of the "rules" of American government were sort of made up as we went along - but that's because they were! This was an entirely new system of government that, while based off of certain styles and structures of other governments, was very unique and so offered unique and unforeseen challenges.

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