The Instigator
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The Contender
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America is an oligarchy

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/25/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,747 times Debate No: 55417
Debate Rounds (5)
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Votes (1)




Supported by research, it seems that America is leaning away from a democracy and towards an oligarchy.


I'm (guessing) that your argument is going to have something to do with the "Bush/Clinton" type feud, unless you're some sort of Obama Conspiracist.

Or, goodness forbid, an illuminati conspiracist.

Either way, I'm completely oblivious as to how you're going to argue, or what type of debate this will be, but the definition of Oligarchy is as follows:
ol"i"gar"chy [ol-i-gahr-kee]
noun, plural ol"i"gar"chies.
a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few.
a state or organization so ruled.
the persons or class so ruling.

Since the elected government is technically controlled by the people, whom elect representatives into public office, it is therefore not controlled by the few, but by the many.

The only way an oligarchical governing state of America could be proven as existing would be proving that the current government actively participates in election fraud, which I doubt can be cited reliably.

I anticipate that you will argue that since the opinions of the many are being channeled into sole representatives, America constitutes an oligarchy - which is untrue, this is a representative democracy. I do not feel the need at this time to argue the differences between a Representative Democracy and an Oligarchy, so I will actually wait for you to argue this point before I expand.

I would argue that many other aspects of "America" are an oligarchy, but I assume that you only meant America's government in general (as Oligarchy is a term generally applied to governing bodies).

Debate Round No. 1


My argument does not have anything to do with specific political leaders, and certainly not with the illuminati. I'm mainly pointing towards the dominant class that runs our country, aka. the people with the money. In a recent study titled "Testing Theories of American Politics; Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens" conducted by Princeton and Northwestern Universities, researches found that U.S. policies are primarily formed by special interest groups. This means that instead of the lower income class benefitting from policies formed by politicians, the upper class has the upper hand " pun intended " in our country's politics. The study showed that "when a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose." On a level below hard evidence, many people believe that large bio-fuel companies are paying a small group of government officials to continue the use of oil and gas for the countries main power source.
As far as definitions, a Representative democracy is defined as a system of government with a law-making body that is at least partly elected by the people. Representative democracies are intended to support the people as a whole, and make decisions in their best interest. From obvious choices the United States Government has made, this rule hasn't quite been followed. Some middle class citizens who work their hardest day in and day out barely make enough to pay their bills. I have personally seen both my parents work their whole lives and still don't have a secured retirement. The conservatives of our country are clearly more interested in their own wealth than for the good of the American citizens.
"Beginning with the Reagan administration, the U.S. government has steadily instituted policies and legislation that favor corporations over citizens, argues Air America host Hartmann (The Ultimate Sacrifice). Analyzing the rhetoric and policies of the current administration's 'compassionate conservatism,' Hartmann goes on to detail the ways in which safety nets for working people (from progressive taxation to antitrust legislation to Social Security) have been steadily weakened, and argues that an empowered, educated middle class is crucial to a functioning democracy. Chapters detail the ways in which what gets called 'the free market' is not really free (for good reason, he notes), how 'We the People create the middle class,' how the policies of the Founding Fathers and figures like FDR still have a lot to teach us, and ways for 'Leveling the Playing Field.' Though far from comprehensive, and despite its sensationalist title, Hartmann's latest is an intelligent critique of the contemporary plight of the middle class." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The definition of oligarchy is a small group of people having control of a country, organization, or institution.
Although votes do determine who's elected into office, who's to say that means they're going to represent the people regardless of what bribes come their way?


1. My opponent says, "As far as definitions, a Representative democracy is defined as a system of government with a law-making body that is at least partly elected by the people".

I am far from conservative, but I find my opponent's comments about conservatism and it's effects on the United States to be irrelevant to the topic at hand: whether or not the United States is an oligarchy. The financial situation of a country says nothing to it's situation as a democracy. A nation could be the poorest nation in the world, with a ginormous income disparity, but still be a representative democracy.

Since an oligarchy is a small group of people maintaining complete control over a government, as established, unless you can prove that the people of America did not elect the party in power, effectively proving election fraud, then America is a representative democracy. If the American People elected a legislature or individual who seems to behave in an oligarchical fashion, then that reflects nothing on the process by which the legislature was elected: by the people, democratically.

2. If the party in power seems to not be serving the interests of the American People as planned, then that's that. The American people easily could have elected "Serve Your Interests Johnson", a candidate whom legitimately would not be motivated by an oligarch of people, but instead elected whomever is in office now. That only speaks for the views of the people.

3. A democracy is a democracy. A GOOD representative democracy DOES entail having a solid, stable middle class, and a government immune to bribes, as your sources have stated, but that does not automatically signify America is an oligarchy; rather, that it is merely a poorly functioning representative democracy at the point in time in discussion.

I await your rebuttal and thank you :)
Debate Round No. 2


Clearly you're moving away from the direct definition of oligarchy, which does not specifically mention our government's meddling with votes. I'm assuming that comes from an article on oligarchies and their exact rules and regulations so to speak. Not to mention, there has been no proof found that the government does or does not mess around with vote numbers or elections. However farfetched, there is never any ruling out of this possibility.

A quote from another study done on this subject, which I found touched on what I'm trying to point to directly:
"Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But, ..." and then they go on to say, it's not true, and that, "America's claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened" by the findings in this, the first-ever comprehensive scientific study of the subject, which shows that there is instead "the nearly total failure of 'median voter' and other Majoritarian Electoral Democracy theories [of America]. When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy."

Although it is true that we elect government officials, through the eyes of many we merely vote for the "shells" of our government officials. How many times have presidential candidates promised things that never come? Too many to count. So if we're voting for lies and false hopes, how are we really voting at all?

Thanks can't wait to hear your side!


1. The US is a representative democracy, elected by the people.
An oligarchy is a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few.

Unless the US is not truly a representative democracy, and the elections are fake (which you have the burden in proving), then by technicality, all power is not being vested in few persons or a dominant clique, as the people still have power in the regard that they elect the representatives. This is what I mean, and I use the dictionary definition of oligarchy.

2. There are almost 400 million people in America. At least one of these people is not a “shell”, and would carry through with their promises, and thus it is the fault of the American people for choosing to elect said shell, unless they didn’t elect him at all - which you cannot prove. Even if a government did not carry through with promises, it is still not an oligarchy as all power has not been vested in it.

For these prime reasons, I believe I have thus far won the debate as Pro has failed to prove that "all power" has been vested in few persons (and not just a government of relatively few persons in accompaniment with the people).
Debate Round No. 3


PrismaticMetamorphosis forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


I apologize for forfeiting the last round, I've been busy and couldn't find the time to counter over these past couple days. However I would like to pick up where we left off on rigged elections. I would like to argue that the government does in fact interfere with votes. Just look at the Snowden vs. Bush elections. Florida's votes weren't counted, thus Bush won the elections. And what about Ron Paul in 2008?
"1. The voting process at the Iowa Straw Poll was a fraud, wrapped in lies. (Whenever those running any kind of an election use police power to hide all the ballots from the people, and then announce results (?) when supposedly (?) only they have seen the ballots " those people are frauds, are acting like Stalin-esque tyrants, and their organization is a fraud.
"" Jim Condit Jr.
To your second argument, there have been plenty of good presidential candidates over America's semi recent history. However due to money issues and power struggles, only two candidates end up facing off in the end. Which parties do they always come from? Republican and democratic. Why? Because those parties have the most money, aka. better promotions, bribing, and power.
Setting aside presidential voting alone, votes on environmental and state laws are often ignored. In the state of California (my home state) a poll was taken on fracking. Obviously, due to the clear environmental devastation that goes along with it, 2/3 of California's population was against it. However, what's happening now? The anti- fracking bill didn't pass. Not because of the American people but because of the few people in power.


My opponent, in the last round, asserts that the United States Political System is in fact corrupt and not actually a representative democracy as it claims to be.

If this were true, by all technicality, America could be classified as an oligarchy.

Unfortunately, it is not. My opponent has failed to prove his claims that "Florida's votes weren't counted", and does not specify what he means by Ron Paul in 2008. I assume "Snowden vs Bush election" was a typo.
The opinion of Jim Condit Jr does not provide sufficient evidence as to rather the historical/current government is actively engaging in election fraud.

So, here are my opponent's points:
P1: The United States is actively engaging in election fraud
P2: A government engaging in election fraud is not representative of the people.
P3: The United States Government is thus an oligarchy.

Rebuttal 1. My opponent has provided no evidence in suggesting that the United States is actively engaging in election fraud and bribery, other than a quote from "Jim Condit Jr". He thus fails his Burden of proof.

The fact that there are two parties consistently in power does not definitely assert, nor even indefinitely assert, that fraudulent activity is going on. Unless proven otherwise, it could very well just mean that the population likes those two parties.

As for advertising campaigns, I would argue that this point is irrelevant. Whether or not the population is being convinced by misleading advertisements, they still technically hold the physical power to put whomever they want into office (third parties run candidates consistently). And as long as the population technically has power, it is not an oligarchy.

Rebuttal 2. Contrarily, evidence from reliable sources [1,2] would now go to suggest the opposite - that the idea of direct voter fraud is a myth.

Rebuttal 3. Once again, I will mirror my opinion from previous: the actions, or whether non-actions, of candidates speak nothing to the status of the system. If a candidate goes back on his promises, he does not suddenly become an active oligarch: he was still democratically elected (unless you prove otherwise.. as covered above, you did not). As long as there was another candidate whom the people could have elected to better suit there interests (which there inevitably is in a population of 350 million) America maintains it's status as an oligarchy.[3]

Since my opponent's "P1" is inaccurate and improven, his argument is rendered incredible and he fails his burden, meaning that the United States is not an oligarchy.

I have won this debate because my opponent has failed to justify his assertion that the United States Legislative System is fraudulent, thus failing his burden.

[1] -
[2] -
[3] -
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Tore_Mihror 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Con adressed all of pro's points and rebutted them to the fullest extend, pro failed to counter any of pro's points. Pro basicly had only one argument, that the US is corrupting the elections, and based all of his other arguments off of that. Clearly that wasnt a very good starting point, as pointed out by con. Con was the only one with factual and reliable sources, and con had a better grasp on making his sentences clear and concise.

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