The Instigator
Capitalistslave
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Kove_Ducote
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The United States congress should be dismantled and replaced with a direct democratic voting system

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Post Voting Period
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It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/2/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 480 times Debate No: 97576
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (0)

 

Capitalistslave

Pro

Basically, the system would be that the people themselves would be the law-makers. There would still be a president, and (s)he would be the commander-in-chief and can veto legislation brought out by the people, who then still need a 2/3 majority to surpass the president's veto. The supreme court would still exist and can declare things unconstitutional as they do now. Basically it would work the same as it does now, just we are replacing congress with the people.

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Main arguments
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: More Rebuttals/conclusion.
Kove_Ducote

Con

I, Kove_Ducote, understand this debate topic and accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Capitalistslave

Pro

Now,while it may seem like it would be impossible to replace congress with the citizens themselves, I am going to argue now why that is not so impossible. Back in the early days of the United States this would have been nearly impossible, because congress is used to debate and discuss the laws until a vote is to take place. How can every single person possibly partake in such debates in a time where the fastest transportation was horse and you can't have every single person together at once? It just seems impractical. However, we are in a day and age of internet. One doesn't need to be present at a meeting to understand what is going on at that meeting anymore.

I propose that debate over the law, can occur via the internet between the people. These debates would be publicly accessible in real time, essentially they could be live streamed through youtube, or any other online video platform. Not every person needs to listen to it at the time the debate takes place either, and it wouldn't be possible anyways since people are busy. It can be watched at another time before the voting actually takes place(which could be quite a bit later after the debates to give people time to watch the debates). There would still be political parties, and basically I would say political parties would choose representatives to discuss the issues that many of the people agree with. After all, if we have many people who agree with something on a topic, there is no reason to have all of them debate the topic, and only one is needed. As for the many committees in congress, committees could still be made with the people, with which representatives are chosen to go in those committees, but all the people will vote on the measure in the end. Not everyone would be in a committee since it's not necessary, as long as opinions are shared roughly among the same percentage in the committee as they are among the populace.

I believe also, that if the system was this way, the people would grow tired of voting on every single legislation proposed, which is a good thing in my mind. They would likely decide to give more powers to the states and local governments where it properly belongs and take the federal government out of the many issues it is involved with today since they don't want to be bothered with voting on every single issue. Congress used to meet just a few months in the year in the early days of the Republic[1], now of course it's pretty much year-round based on how much more legislation they have to pass [2]. This is indication that the federal government has grown unnecessarily significantly since the early days of the republic, and hopefully if the people are the ones who are law makers, they would devote much less time to legislation, and thus reduce the size of the federal government.

Now, the main reason I support this move of making the people the law-makers, is because congress is supposed to be a representation of the people. The house of representatives was made to be representatives of the people, and the senate, ever since the 17th amendment that made them directly elected by the people, is also essentially supposed to be representative of the people. What better way to make the legislative branch representative of the people than to make the people the legislative branch? Studies show that Congress is not representative of the people anymore. For one, if they were representative of the people, they would not have such a low approval rating as they currently have which has generally been less than 20% for the past couple of years [3] and then roughly 40% of people even approve the job their own representative is doing while 48% disapprove of the job their own representative is doing [4]. This is just one indicator that congress is no longer representative of the people, another indication of this is by looking at who has the most influence over policy making.

In a study conducted by Princeton University, in which the four political theories,"Electoral Democracy ,Economic-Elite Domination,and two types of interest-group pluralism"Majoritarian Pluralism,in which the interests of all citizens are more or less equally represented, and Biased Pluralism, in which corporations,business associations, and professional groups predominate" are investigated into it was found that Economic Elite Domination and Biased Pluralism are most prevalent in United States politics. [5] It was also found that the average citizen has little to no effect on policy making in the United States. [5] What this means is that elites, corporations, business associations, and professional groups have the most influence over policy making. In other words, congress does not do the will of the people, but rather the will of economic elites and corporations.

Now, while many studies have found little significance of donors influence upon public policy[6][7][8], this was primarily due to the fact that these other studies used an analysis of the donations compared to role call votes, in a more in-depth analysis of donations and ear-marks, the writing of the legislation, and the most specific intricacies of writing a bill, it was found that donations do significantly influence policy-making in one study [8]. What this indicates is that money goes a long ways in getting what you want in our system, and as shown before, the average person disapproves of congress as a whole as well as their own representative, and economic elites and corporations have the most influence on public policy, and since some have more money than others, they have more of a voice in our system than others. One solution to this problem it getting rid of wealth inequality, but that can be seen as unfair since some people work harder and longer than others, so why should they earn the same amount as someone who doesn't work as hard or as long? Having it so that every person votes in legislation is more fair inherently, since it's one person, one vote and it allows some people to be wealthier than others based on merit but doesn't give those people more voice.

In addition, someone may say we don't have to get rid of congress in order to make the legislation more representative of the people. One may propose making amendments to the constitution that restrict donations to representatives, gets rid of gerrymandering, institutes term limits, and getting rid of other barriers to preventing congress from being representative. However, I would argue that this would only be a temporary fix. The elites would likely find another way to gain more influence, and politicians would find a way to maintain their position of power. Instead, if we got rid of these politicians altogether, then there would be too many people to bribe for the rich to get too much power, and there would be no one in a position of power trying to seek re-election for their own interests rather than the interests of the people.

I'll end here and turn this over to my opponent.

Sources:
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://www.gallup.com...
[4] http://www.people-press.org...
[5] https://scholar.princeton.edu...
[6] http://scholarship.law.duke.edu...
[7] http://www.cfinst.org...
[8] http://www.rochester.edu...
Kove_Ducote

Con

As your argument is very lengthy, I shall address each of your points individually in order to provide a contrast between our opposing ideas.

You say that it is possible for the average Joe to participate in well-organized, live debates. This simply isn't true. Even DDO isn't made for that. "Every single person" can't possibly participate in a debate at once - perhaps you could provide an example.

The idea of dismantling congress also brings up a lot of issues, such as representation. The whole "electoral college" system would also have to be reworked.

The problem with having political parties led by the popular instead of politicians would prove troublesome. Most people simply aren't capable of managing those who follow you and those who oppose you, all while making sure that you don't say the wrong things; the head of a political party holds a lot of influence - we cannot let just anybody lead a party.

The main dish on this buffet menu - vote manipulation. Whether it be through rigging systems, psychological trickery, bandwagon, untrustworthy individuals, or causing social dilemmas, allowing for anyone to make laws and vote for them is a silly idea due to the instability of such a broad and indefinable group of people. It is an insurmountable task to balance out a dynamic system such as yours in a way that makes it stable like the congress is.

You provide the fact that people will not be pushed to vote on very single topic that comes up - this isn't a good thing in my eyes. You talk about power to the people, but then go against your own argument and say that we should let someone else do whatever they want with possible law. In addition, reducing the size of the federal government would cause more issues than it would fix, due to a sudden "spreading of powers," and a probable lack of government control that would likely grow stronger as the years would progress.

Congress does, at times, act under the will of organizations instead of popular ideas. Not only is this not always a bad thing, but it is irrelevant to the argument at hand.

You say that donations influence law-making - why wouldn't it influence a people's legislature?

Finally, you state that if there are people who all have the same amount of power in their voices, then none of them will try to gain more influence. This is a ridiculous idea that is disproved around the world daily. It is referred to as "tyranny of the majority." [1]

If there is no one to represent man's will, who is there to restrain man's greed?

Sources:
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Capitalistslave

Pro

To organize all of what you said, I'm going to number my responses to correspond to the order of your rebuttals:

1) Right, I didn't say every single person would participate in a debate at once. I did say only several people would be needed in order to represent each position on a specific item. You probably won't have more than a few positions on a specific item, so only a few people need to debate in order for each position to be represented.

2) Indeed, the electoral college would need to be re-worked. I would actually advocate making the popular vote be the determinant for who becomes president however. In addition, I would be in favor of instant run-off voting. But this is a little off-topic. However, if you're worried about the people having too much power, I suppose we could have the state legislatures or something elect the president. This isn't exactly a major point to discuss, since I'm open to different ideas on how the president should be elected, but I would prefer a popular vote option, but wouldn't be too upset over something else since we are making the legislative branch the people anyways.

3) Well, the head of the party could be whoever seeks the position. We could have that voted upon by the members of that political party, or the political party could choose however they see fit to make who is the head of that party. They are private organizations, so they would decide how to choose the head of their own party.

4) As for your issue with when I brought up that the federal government would decrease in size, I really don't think it would be an issue. The federal government was much smaller back when the constitution was just drafted, and we did just fine back then. There is not any reason I see that the federal government needs to be as large as it is now. If you think it is, then it's your job to prove that the federal government needs to be as large as it is now. As I pointed out before, congress used to meet less often back then and would pass much fewer laws back then in a year than they do now.

5) Congress acting on behalf of the will of organizations and elites is very relevant. I believe I already established its relevancy when I pointed out that it makes congress less representative of the people, and that was the main objection I had to continuing to have congress. The whole point that I was making for why we should have a direct voting system was to make it more representative of the people. The fact that congress represents elites and corporations, means it doesn't represent all of the people.

6) The tyranny of the majority would still have checks against it. As I said, the president can still veto laws passed by the people, and then the supreme court will be there still to declare certain laws unconstitutional. It's not a tyranny of the majority because of these checks and balances.
Kove_Ducote

Con

Alright; I will format my argument as you have yours.

1) I have explained the issues with allowing popular people to represent instead of specific politicians. It will only strengthen the issues that we already have with our current systems, as I explained in the fifth paragraph of my previous argument. You may also refer to the ninth paragraph in the same argument, which explains "tyranny of the majority." I will further address the idea later in this argument.

2) The current congress system allows for balanced votes that are not based on the dreaded "majority rule." I have explained why a "popular vote" does not always work and how it is often unfair, and shall continue to as I finish this debate. You say that you would be in favor of instant run-off voting, but that format is inefficient. Not only does it cause people to inaccurately vote beyond their initial candidate of choice, but it is susceptible to "tactical voting." [1]

3) I have explained why I disagree with this idea in section one of this argument here. To continue, in your argument, you are explaining that "a method could be worked out" without providing serious examples. What you have described is "an individual popular vote to elect an individual that represents popular vote." If you want to have a direct democracy with instant run-off voting, bothering with representatives would only cause even more trouble. Our current system has its limits, while your idea will lead to overly-influential individuals that are not qualified for their given position. History has shown us that power can lead a country to riots, and that an overpowered majority can cause ethnic discrimnation.

4) If the federal government is smaller, this leads to considerably less regulations, and by extension, a lack of response to any possible issues or flaws that require an answer. There is a reason that the constitution has changed since it was first drafted. There is a reason that the federal government has grown larger. We didn't do "just fine." We have had hills to climb in order to get through many issues that we faced.

5) Congress acting on behalf of the will of organizations and elites isn't relevant, because it's all connected. Congress acting for the people only helps your argument, and you're calling it an issue that relates to my arguement. The United States congress acts for the United States. Let's say that this claim of yours that you have not backed up isn't true. What's the issue with the congress now? For the people or for the country, you haven't given any reason for the congress to be dismantled.

6) You say that the veto and supreme court are enough to manage the "tyranny of the majority." That's a dangerous mindset to have. Even if they were, you still have the wrongly influential "majority" to think about. There are too many issues with a majority. An example of tyranny of the majority is ethnic discrimination. [2] I suggest that you give the sources that I have provided each their own open-minded and attentive reading sessions.

Sources:
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu...
Debate Round No. 3
Capitalistslave

Pro

1) You claimed it would have issue such as vote manipulation " rigging systems, psychological trickery, bandwagon, untrustworthy individuals, or causing social dilemmas" but I don't see how it would. You didn't really explain how a direct democratic system would be susceptible to those things, you merely claimed it would be.

2) Well, it was a suggestion for instant run-off voting. Like I stated, it is not necessarily what I would have, as I'm still thinking about the idea itself. However, you say it's susceptible to tactical voting, but our current voting system is already too. How many people do you think votes for the lesser of two evils because they think that they can't vote or a third party candidate because they believe it is a wasted vote? Instant run-off voting would help third parties come to power because people will more likely put a third party as their first choice since the wasted vote argument is invalid under instant run-off voting since your vote transfers to someone else if your candidate came in last. So, while it is susceptible to tactical voting, our current system already is. I consider instant run-off better since it would help third parties and get more opinion out there.

3) Well as I said before, it would be up to the political party to decide how they choose their representatives. It would vary from party to party most likely.

4) But why does the federal government need to be the one to solve these issues? Local governments would be better at it because they are not as partisan. In the federal government, there is so much partisanship we've had two government shut downs looming before because one side wants to block what the other side does. For local governments, this partisanship almost doesn't exist. Mayors and cities can get things done where the federal government is still debating on things. For example, with man-made climate change, there is a huge debate between republicans and democrats over if it's real. Science says it is real, and because of this partisanship, hardly anything is getting done about it anyways. See this ted talk for more reasons why it would be better to have local governments empowered [1]

5) I did back up this claim, as I pointed out in the first round, studies have been done to show that economic elites and businesses are the ones with the most influence over legislation. Since representatives are susceptible to corruption, whereas the people cannot be susceptible to corruption nearly as much, it is better to replace congress with the people. I showed above how donations influence specific items that congress passes, this issue would not exist in a democratic vote since there are just too many people to try to bribe.

6) I think this is malarchy because we had tyranny from congress to begin with. We had so much discrimination in the past occur when we didn't have a majoritarian system, for example, we had the gag rule in congress where slavery should never be discussed and slavery continued under the congressional system. What difference does it make if a few hundred people are passing legislation to discriminate against a minority, versus the majority of people doing it? In fact, if we had a majoritarian system, we probably would have ended slavery sooner since the north had more population than the south did, so majority supported getting rid of slavery while a minority wanted to keep it. In the case of our current system, it protected a minority of people to keep slaves and even after we ended slavery, it protected them to continue discriminating against black people. Sure, there may be a case where the majority will discriminate against a minority, but that already happened in the current system, and it was worse since, as I pointed out, the government allowed a minority of people to discriminate against another minority. In popular rule, it would get rid of that aspect, and only majority can discriminate against a minority. Minorities wouldn't be able to discriminate against minorities like they could in our current system. No system is perfect, but I think a majoritarian rule would be better than our current system for that reason.

Sources:
[1] https://www.ted.com...
Kove_Ducote

Con

1) I can't provide examples because it hasn't yet happened. We have not changed to a direct democratic voting system. However, how can you not see it? If our current system is susceptible to fault, then why wouldn't your also be when it is based on electing common men to represent and popular vote?

2) "How many people do you think votes for the lesser of two evils..." I fail to see how this is a bad thing. That's quite literally what you do when you vote for the president. For your idea on third parties, you should know that third parties are irrelevant until they are allowed to debate (which I see happening in the near future).

3) Yes, we've been through this. You aren't doing an excellent job of explaining your ideas.

4) There's a big problem with local governments. Not only is there lots of dispute between states that can start because of it, but state-enforced laws don't usually have as much as execution as federal law does. To finish, you use climate change as an example when that is something that would be controlled by the federal government, as it is a worldwide issue and not exclusive to any states.

5) "...the people cannot be susceptible to corruption nearly as much..." I explained why this is wrong early on in the debate when I explained man's greed and the pursuit of power.

6) Your whole paragraph fails to defend against my many notions against the concept of direct democracy and "tyranny of the majority." I presume this means that you understand that your idea of change is very flawed. Transitioning the United States of America from an organized government to a people's democracy will only make corruption and racism more widespread, and even worse, seen as less of an issue than it is.

For all of these reasons, the United States congress should not be dismantled and replaced with a direct democratic voting system.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Kove_Ducote 1 year ago
Kove_Ducote
Yay, another tie...
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
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>Reported vote: ptosis// Mod action: Removed<

6 points to Con (Conduct, Arguments, Sources). Reasons for voting decision: Kove_Ducote was more organized and logically

[*Reason for removal*] The voter doesn"t explain any of the point allocations. Merely stating that one side was more organized and "logically" doesn"t explain S&G, arguments or sources.
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Posted by ptosis 1 year ago
ptosis
I would like to dismantle and replace - I'm just don't know how that can be done that would make it a better system.
Posted by Capitalistslave 1 year ago
Capitalistslave
JonBonBon: I have pretty good knowledge of what goes on in congress. I've had Advanced Placement us Government classes and college courses covering it as well. Not everything would directly translate from congress to the people, but we don't need all of it either. It would no longer be bicameral, and essentially every power that was divided up between the house and senate, would be shared by the people. So, in other words, treaties which are usually approved by the senate, would be approved by the people, impeachment and removal of the president would happen both by the people, and not divided up like it currently is. Judicial appointments would be done by the people, rather than just the senate. There probably wouldn't be leaders for the people, like there is for congress. So, no speaker of the house, president pro-tempore of the senate or an equivalent position in this proposed system. Maybe it would be necessary to have a single person take up those positions for the people though, since they choose which legislation is to be voted on first. I suppose it would be up to the people themselves how to organize this, since congress also chose how to organize congress.
Posted by Jonbonbon 1 year ago
Jonbonbon
I don't think pro understands what actually happens within Congress that makes affirmation impossible.
No votes have been placed for this debate.