John’s point about gerrymandering is especially important in today’s political climate. In order to gain more control without having to actually get more votes, parties have gerrymandered districts. This does limit what democracy can be and it keeps the people from having full control over their own government (Roskin et al, 2014). Gerrymandering might be accepted as a part of the American system, but it is not something that goes to the core of democracy, which is self-rule in which every person has a vote that counts (Chen & Rodden, 2013).
He also makes an excellent point about democracy needing to be a fit. Democracy must fit in to what each nation is trying to accomplish, and not all democracies will look the same around the world. Understanding and accepting that democracies can be functional even though they have some key differences is a major first step to understanding the way these government systems break down around the world.
This student brings up a good point about how democracy does not always lead to the people and their will being represented. Often, in America, when democracy has its way, a small number of people end up getting what they want, while many more people end up getting something less than what they need. This is, in fact, why the Constitution is in place in the first place. There was an understanding, even going back to the days of Aristotle, that democracy could have some problems that would need to be combated. Not the least of those problems was the fact that democracy could leave the majority group with overwhelming influence over the affairs of the less than majority group.
This student points out that democracy can look different in different places. It has also evolved over time. In some cases, democracy has been a good thing. In other cases, it has become perverted.
- Chen, J., & Rodden, J. (2013). Unintentional gerrymandering: Political geography and electoral bias in legislatures. Quarterly Journal of Political Science, 8(3), 239-269.
- Roskin, M. G., Cord, R. L., Medeiros, J. A., & Jones, W. S. (2014). Political science: An introduction(13th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.