The dominance of two major political parties in the U.S presidential elections undermines democracy.
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Debate Rounds (3)
This case argues that the dominance of the two-party system functions through the Electoral College to undermine American democratic ideals. The Electoral College itself, as well as the "winner take all" voting rule used by most states, makes Americans fundamentally unequal as voters in presidential elections. Citizens of large states have much greater influence than citizens of small states. In extreme cases this had led to, and threatens to lead to, the election of presidents who are not the choice of the people.
As such I must affirm: "Resolved: The dominance of two major political parties in the U.S presidential elections undermines democracy."
For today"s round I offer the following value of "Democracy". No principle is more fundamental to the theory of democratic governance than political equality; the idea that every citizen"s voice or views should count as much as anyone else"s. The current system violates this principle, due to its "winner take all" nature. In a close election, voters in one or more of the battleground states may determine the outcome of the contest.
To support my value I offer the following criterion of "Consent of the Governed". Legitimacy justifies and transforms the power of government through a moral authority derived from the consent of both the governed and the governing of both the existence and justness of existing order. Legitimacy is, therefore, an essential aspect of a regime"s stability because this moral authority forms the basis of its legal and political authority. Legitimacy persuades the majority of the people to accept the status quo, to follow laws enacted by the government.
Observation One: "The Two-Party System is Intertwined with the Electoral College."
Many proponents argue that the Electoral College encourages a two-party system. There is no doubt that the Electoral College has encouraged and helps to maintain a two-party system in the United States. This is true simply because it is extremely difficult for a new or minor party to win enough popular votes in enough states to have of chance of winning the presidency. In addition to protecting the presidency from impassioned but transitionary third party movements, the practical effect of the Electoral College (along with the single-member district system of representation in Congress) is to virtually force third-party candidates into either one of the two major parties.
Contention One: "The Electoral College Undermines Democracy by Violating Equal Treatment of All Citizens."
Within the enormous and often impenetrable thicket of ideas about democracy, is it possible to identify some criteria that a process for governing an association would have to meet in order to satisfy the requirement that all the members are all equally entitled to participate in the association"s decisions about its policies? In his book, On Democracy, Robert Dahl believe that there were five such standards, but I will be talking about two. The first being effective participation. Before a policy is adopted by the association, all members must have equal and effective opportunities for making their views known to the other members as to what the policy should be. And the last being voting equality. When the moment arrives at which the decision about policy will finally be made, every member must have an equal and effective opportunity to vote, and all votes must be counted as equal. In arriving at decisions, the government must give equal considerations to the good and interests of every person bound by these decisions.
Sub-Point A: "The Electoral College Does Not Count the Votes of Citizens Equally."
The Electoral College system further distorts the one-person, one-vote principle of democracy because electoral votes are not distributed according to population. Every state gets one electoral vote for each member of its delegation to the House of Representatives (this by itself would be a rough measure of its population) and each state also gets two "bonus" electors representing its two senators.
Contention Two: "The Electoral College Violates Democracy by Threatening the Consent of the Governed."
Perhaps most importantly, losing the popular vote threatens a President"s legitimacy. Allowing a president to win office despite losing the popular vote is contrary to America"s time-honored principles of majoritarian democracy. Akhil Amar predicted in 1995 that, "one day, we will end up with a clear loser President--clear beyond any quibbles about uncertain ballots. And the question is, will this loser/winner be seen as legitimate at home and abroad?" Instances where a popular vote loser prevails in the Electoral College are "fraught with danger". The legitimacy and governability of a president without the popular vote majority is prima facie suspect. A system that does not include direct expression of the voice of the people undermines the principle of a government with the consent of the governed. Electing a president who loses the popular vote undermines the respect for the system and compromises the new president"s mandate to govern.
Sub-Point A: "The Electoral College Results in Choosing Presidents Who Are Not the Choice of the Electorate."
In the founding of our nation, the Electoral College was established to prevent the people from making "uneducated" decisions. The founders feared uneducated public opinion and designed the Electoral College as a layer of insulation from the direct voice of the masses. There is no reason, in this modern day, to assign this responsibility to a set of individual electors. Hundreds of thousands of votes can and have been violated by an individual sector, choosing to act on his or her own behalf instead of the behalf of the people. As of the 2008 election, since the founding of the Electoral College, a 157 electors have not cast their votes for the candidates that they were designed to represent. The Electoral College creates the possibility for the loser of the popular vote to win the electoral vote. This has happened at least 4 times out of the 56 presidential elections, or more than 7% of the time, which is not such a small percentage, and it created a hideous mess every time.
Sub-Point B: "The Electoral College Disenfranchises Voters, Undermining Democratic Legitimacy."
The Electoral College system distorts every presidential campaign in a variety of ways and holds at least the potential (it"s more than potential, it has happened several times) to lead to a result that undermines the democratic legitimacy of the election. The Electoral College is also responsible for disenfranchising, in effect, huge swaths of American voters. A single national popular or "constituency" vote would determine the president based on who won the most votes total across the country. The great majority of American voters exercise no real political voice in the outcome of presidential elections.
In closing, Judge you can see time and time again within my case the my criterion of "Consent of the Governed" is violated by the Electoral College which is a democratic institution. You can also see how the Electoral College is intertwined with the presidential elections, all of these instances point towards a clear cut fact, the two-party system through manipulating the Electoral College undermines democracy. So, you must affirm here. Thank you, I am now open for cross-examination and points of clarification.
This is the exact definition of democracy- a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.
Also the people have a choice on who to pick.
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