School Papers

On to this day. The structure enshrined in

On declaration of independence, the
United States as a country was made up of thirteen different states as opposed
to the over 50 there is today. Nevertheless, the unique nature of the new state
presented a challenge regarding political representation and the approach of
going about the election of leaders at the federal level. To take care of this
unique nature of the country’s political structure, the founding fathers
developed a special form of administrative structure that integrated two
systems of governments that still exist to this day. The structure enshrined in
the country’s constitution created a single federal government and several
state governments. This system of government is commonly referred to as the
constitutional Federal Republic or a representative democracy, which is a
federation of several numbers of states with a representative democracy. This
means that the United States is not a direct democracy despite the country’s
strong democratic tradition which is famous throughout the world (Keyssar, 2009).

There are some aspects of America’s
representative democracy that explains why it cannot be considered a full
democracy in its real sense. Being a nation created by the union of different
states each with special cultural values and political interests, one of the
main challenges the founding fathers were faced with after independence was on
the issue of political representation at the federal level. The founding
fathers figured out that a simple popular in the election of the country’s president
was not going to be the best option in ensuring that all the states making up
the union had a say in determining the country’s president. An electoral system
named Electoral College was created by the founding fathers to ensure all the
states within the union had a say in determining the country’s federal
president and vice president. Electoral College was made up of representatives
directly elected by Americans from the different states within the union. Each
state was allocated to contribute a certain number representatives or electors
depending on various factors within each of the states including the size of
the population and geographical surface area. The different states were however
given a jurisprudence to determine the geographical boundaries of various
administrative units from where the eligible American citizens within the state
directly elected the electors who would then go on to vote in the electoral
college for the president of the United States.

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Gerrymandering,
the process by which states draw and redraw their local electoral districts is
another reason the United States cannot be seen as a real democracy. This
practice which has been around for the past two hundred years is one of the
most important factors impeding democracy in America today because it enables
alteration of boundaries for partisan gains. Both of America’s two major
political parties have taken advantage of this provision to manipulate election
of elected representatives in their favor in their stronghold states and effectively
eliminating the chances of competitive elections at the state level and
subsequently federal level. As a result, elections in many states are always a
foregone conclusion because Gerrymandering has turned states into either a
predominantly blue or red states. The average margins of victory for the House
of Representatives elections in 2016 were 37 percent while the number of
non-seriously competitive congressional races totaled to 42 of the 50 states.
This statistic, which has majorly been contributed by Gerrymandering, does not
reflect how the situation in ideal democracies is supposed to look (Chen et
al., p. 256).

The process of electing the
president is another reason why the United States cannot be considered as a
real democracy. In an ideal democracy, a president or a leader of a country is
democratically elected through a popular vote whereby all eligible citizens of
the country are allowed to choose their preferred presidential candidate. The
candidate who gains majority of the votes from the citizens is declared the
winner. The United States of America’s system of electing the president is a
representative democracy in that the winner is not directly elected by the
citizens but rather the Electoral College electors who are themselves directly
elected by the citizens. Although the popular presidential votes are held
concurrently with the Electoral College vote every four years, the choice of
the Electoral College is the determining vote on who is declared the winner
regardless of the outcome of the popular vote. Although the outcome of the
popular vote and the electoral college vote have been the same in the majority
of the American elections over the years, several cases have happened where one
candidate wins the popular vote while the other wins the electoral college
vote. In all of these cases, the choice of the few representatives has
triumphed the choice of the majority of the American population. The most
recent example of this scenario America happened in last year’s elections
whereby the Republican Party candidate Donald Trump was declared the winner
despite losing the popular vote to the Democratic Party candidate Hillary
Clinton by a margin of more than two million votes. This system where the
outcome of the popular vote is overlooked at the expense of the voted off a few
representatives is against democratic values. Therefore, America cannot be said
to be a real democracy (Maskin & Amartya, p. 62).

Another reason why America cannot
be considered a real democracy is that of the rampant non-democratic practices
by different stakeholders of the American political system particularly the
presidential candidates themselves. Presidential or any election are considered
processes rather than a one-day event. The process of election involves several
events that take place over several months or years all of which have to
observe the values of democracy. Experience over the years has however shown
that non-democratic practices in electoral processes mainly in raising funds
for campaigns have become normalized by candidates from both of America’s two
largest parties. Wallstreet companies and various lobby groups from the private
sector such as the large pharmaceutical companies hold huge sway on the
country’s political landscape even more than the public. The dependence of the
presidential candidates on donations from these players in exchange for
commitments compromises the integrity of the candidates in serving the interest
of the general population once they got to the office. Candidates find it
almost impossible to run successful campaigns without donations from this huge
corporation meaning the few individuals in charge of the cooperation hold a
bigger influence in the outcomes of presidential elections more than the
majority of Americans. This again is against the values and essence of
democracy (Brunell, p. 683). 

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