The Instigator
Csareo
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
TruthHurts
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points

The US should instate Progressive Initiatives

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
TruthHurts
Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 5/22/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 711 times Debate No: 55243
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (14)
Votes (1)

 

Csareo

Pro

Initiatives, were a concept created by Sun Yat Sen, my hero, and later advocated for by the Bull Moose Party. An initiative, is a reform designed to coincide with representative democracy. The citizen, will essentially, have the abillity to enact votes based on majority rule.

People often slander this as mob rule, and I agree. I think the mob should rule in a democracy. Let me clarify one more time. Initiatives allow citizens to formulate a resolution, and enact it by popular vote.

For example, Billy wants to make all guns free. He creates a national initiative. If the initiative recieves enough votes, then the bill is enacted.

My resolution
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- A council, a separate wing of congress, will be elected by the people, through direct vote.

- The citizens who rule the citizens council, will have one power

: The ability to propose an initiative

: The ability to repeal an initiative

- Initiatives, once passed through the citizens council, will go into a direct vote with the American people.

- Following the UN referendum status, initiatives will require a 65% vote to be enacted

- Citizen council membership will be divided by population.

- Councils will be elected in their state, but represent the nation.

- Council members serve 4 year terms

- A initiative decision, due to its context, can be repealed by congress, but they must pass a majority vote through the council.

My opponent will begin next round. Failure to argue next round will result in a 7 point forfeit
TruthHurts

Con

Thank you for such an interesting topic and for adding more clarity to the resolution in the comments. I hope for a fascinating, informative, and lively debate.

Overview:

I believe that this proposal has many philosophical and pragmatic concerns: on a fundamental level, it radically changes the balance of power in the legislative branch without actually making many substantive changes in the way laws are made. To be clear, my main objections to this proposal will be pragmatic and philosophical, and will likely not even include a fear of runaway majoritarianism. This is the case because, just like Senators, these members are popularly elected by the states, and create laws that will likely be in line with those of Congress, and will be subject to similar gridlock. Moreover, since the Supreme Court can rule an initiative unconstitutional, the fear of mob rule is quite low, a fear made even lower by the fact that citizens themselves are not creating initiatives, elected representatives are. I will discuss how this proposal is inconsistent with the philosophy of governance in the United States, dilutes the legislative authority of Congress, and is redundant, with no pragmatic effect.

I. Philosophy of Governance

The United States was founded on the idea of a system of checks and balances, whereby separate branches of the government could, as the name suggests, check and balance each others' powers. In this system, each branch, per the Constitution, has certain powers; the executive enforces laws, the legislature makes laws, and the judiciary interprets laws, in the most basic form.

The legislature was enacted in its current form, per Article I of the Constitution, to ease a tension between smaller and larger states. Larger states wanted rule solely based on population, smaller states wished for equal representation. The compromise was a split legislature involving one House elected on population and a Senate elected on equal representation. This balance is key in respecting both the rights of citizens in the respective states and in respecting the quasi-sovereignty of each state as an equal, semi-autonomous unit.

This proposal completely undermines the balance of the legislature; instead of having a delicate compromise between equality of states and people, the scale will be tilted, irrevocably, in the direction of population. How will this affect the government? Proposals which are primarily progressive, owing to the greater number of people in the more progressive states like California and New York, more or less drowning out the voices of those in minority parties in any state.

The result of this will be twofold: 1) A tangible disenfranchisement of minority-party voters in a state, who will not even have the solace of tailored districts to protect them, and 2) A policy output which will solely reflect the arbitrary distribution of ideological voters. Note that, however, these disadvantages are solely in election of the members and in their proposals, not in the actual vote of the people. It is here that the primary philosophical difficulty of the proposal lies.

II. Clarity of Authority

The House and Senate are elected by the people to enact laws, as I have stated earlier. The proposal is advocating a new branch of the legislature that is free to enact laws as it pleases. There are several possible problems with this.

Firstly, it de-legitimizes all branches of the legislature, because the authority to enact legislation now lies in two distinct paths: 1) the Council, and 2) the rest of Congress. The issue with this should be obvious: the possibility for conflicting laws coming from the two bodies. If citizens are faced with conflicting laws with no consistency, the law becomes meaningless and impossible to enforce.

The other possibility, per Pro's proposal, is that the Council has no actual power because Congress can simply repeal any initiatives it pleases. This means the the Council actually accomplishes nothing, merely acting as a vestigial organ to the legislative body.

III. Pragmatics

This Council will accomplish absolutely nothing. The reasons for this are many: Congress can overturn its laws, the Supreme Court will overturn its laws and, without a Constitutional amendment which stands no chance of passing, its very existence, and the people will rarely enact any of its initiatives.

The latter of these is due to the fact that 65% is an incredibly high supermajority, beyond that of any possible attainment. The types of proposals that would pass with this sort of support already DO pass Congress, simply because such a gap is so overwhelming.

Moreover, an issue with elections becomes clear. Hopefully Pro will advocate some election mechanism, because I find it difficult to believe that the population of the United States, who turn out to midterm elections at a rate lower that 40%, is going to go to the polls frequently, even if it is simply annually, to approve or reject these initiatives. What this means is that 1) Money will gain an important foothold, just like in elections now, to try to persuade people into voting one way or another, further corrupting the system, and 2) Ideologically extreme voters, who turn out to vote more frequently than moderates, and those of certain classes, like the wealthy and the educated, will, by and large, control the elections. This means that the laws that are enacted may be even less representative than Congress is now.

Finally, the reason for a separate representative body is so that they can specialize in policy. The idea that the citizens will research the numerous, possibly in the hundreds, of initiatives to make an informed decision is ludicrous, leading, again, to a lack of legitimacy and true representation.

Conclusion:

I do not believe this proposal will lead to mob rule. I do, however, fear that it betrays the philosophical underpinnings of the legislature status quo, that it undermines legislative legitimacy, and will have little, or non-representative, pragmatic effects.

I look forward to Pro's arguments, and wish him luck in this debate. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1
Csareo

Pro

Csareo forfeited this round.
TruthHurts

Con

Extend my arguments; hopefully Pro can respond next round.
Debate Round No. 2
Csareo

Pro

Csareo forfeited this round.
TruthHurts

Con

Extend my arguments and, especially since there has been no rebuttals or argumentation, vote Con!

Thanks!
Debate Round No. 3
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Csareo 3 years ago
Csareo
Sorry TN05. You can debate me on judicial recalls
Posted by Csareo 3 years ago
Csareo
@TNO5 - Yes, but initiatives are also repealed by popular vote
Posted by TN05 3 years ago
TN05
So each state would get a certain number of council members, which would be decided at the state-wide level (not by districts)?
Posted by Csareo 3 years ago
Csareo
@Truthhurts - No, but I'll make a separate debate if you wish to debate judge recalls
Posted by Csareo 3 years ago
Csareo
The representatives would be elected by state means, without redistricting. (Yes, it is possible. For some reason we don't do this in the US)
Posted by TN05 3 years ago
TN05
So you are proposing that a separate wing of Congress, the citizen's council, would be created, that the council members would be determined by popular vote every four years, and that this council would have the power to propose or repeal initiatives, which need to be approved by 65% of voters to be enacted?
Posted by TruthHurts 3 years ago
TruthHurts
Ok, final questions. I just want to be clear, because I find this proposal very interesting. Will you be defending judicial review and judicial recalls? And if you could answer my question about election districts, that'd be great.

Also, could the citizens' council overturn an act of Congress or an executive order?
Posted by Csareo 3 years ago
Csareo
One second, I want to edit my resolution for clarity
Posted by Csareo 3 years ago
Csareo
I guess I never thought about it. Lets think about it. The law is passed by majority to consent, but judges are not elected. We need to analyze what powers the courts actually have, and that is not to overturn laws, but interpret existing ones.

As long as a law remains true to the constitution, then its fine. But, like all laws, it is not exempted to the constitution. Therefore, the supreme court can declare a law unconstitutional. In a ideal world, this would be accompanied by recalls though.
Posted by TruthHurts 3 years ago
TruthHurts
And are the members of the citizens' council elected nationally or in districts?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TN05 3 years ago
TN05
CsareoTruthHurts
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: FF