Participation and Apathy

In unfair elections, it is not unusual for the opposition to boycott an election. They cede the outcome before the votes begin because they know the outcome is rigged against them. This does not happen in free and fair elections. The opposition runs candidates and campaigns in elections where they know they have little chance…

Representation and Alienation

Alienation is a necessary byproduct of representation. Political scientists have long recognized electorates are composed of cross-cutting cleavages. There is no single piece of identity that determines how a person will vote. Differences in gender are challenged by differences in race. Differences in class are challenged by differences in religion. But each of these pieces…

The Problem Behind Majority Rule

The democratic nature of elections is naturally supposed to reflect majority rule. The three American Presidential elections where the electoral college failed to reflect the popular vote (1876, 2000 and 2016) are considered undemocratic because the outcome was not based on the principle of majority rule. Because it is incomprehensible for a minority to make…

Undemocratic Elections

Within Dahl’s theoretical framework, elections are just one component within a successful democracy. It can’t be left out, but it is not enough on its own to foster democratic governance. Without freedom of speech and the rule of law, elections will become an empty institution. Of course, bad elections will sour a democracy and ruin…

A Contradiction

Our understanding of liberal democracy begins with a contradiction. The universality of liberalism, which establishes the basis for human rights and the rule of law, collides with the radical freedom of democracy. Both ideas embody the principle of self-determination, but they reflect different aspects of the same idea. Liberalism is the self-determination of the person,…