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3
7
Direct Democracy Representative Democracy
Debate Score:10
Arguments:11
Total Votes:11
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 Direct Democracy (3)
 
 Representative Democracy (6)

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WinstonC(1232) pic



Direct Democracy or Representative Democracy

Which system is better?

Representative democracy is a system under which representatives are elected to govern on behalf of the people (often bound by a bill of rights or constitution and with oversight). This is the system the U.S. operates under.

Direct democracy is a system whereby citizens vote for individual laws, policies etc. instead of representatives (also ideally bound by a bill of rights or constitution). Different systems have been formulated for how this may work but the gist is that popular proposals go to a district, state or national vote. Everyone registered in the district, state or nation then has a vote on the proposal and if it has popular support (and doesn't violate the bill of rights) it passes. Uninformed people may choose to automatically vote the same as someone else they broadly agree with. Some iterations of this system include oversight akin to the U.S. Senate.

Direct Democracy

Side Score: 3
VS.

Representative Democracy

Side Score: 7
1 point

I support both sides of the argument but I lean towards direct democracy. That is the actual will of the people. However, a representative democracy would be more efficient.

Side: Direct Democracy
tonycruz1999(4) Disputed
1 point

Well, the "will of the people" is often based on factors like wealth/class, which would create a majority-ran government (an issue that most democracies suffer from). Additionally, this would allow for governments dominated on demagoguery and populism, which can breach a nation's social contract.

Side: Representative Democracy
tonycruz1999(4) Disputed
1 point

Well, the "will of the people" is often based on factors like wealth/class, which would create a majority-ran government (an issue that most democracies suffer from). Additionally, this would allow for governments dominated on demagoguery and populism, which can breach a nation's social contract.

Side: Representative Democracy
WinstonC(1232) Clarified
1 point

I feel the problem of government being dominated by demagoguery and populism isn't one unique to direct democracy. I would further say that direct democracy, in addition to this effect, has a long term counter effect. This is because voting for a person/group can be done from a position of relative ignorance; having to take a position on an actual issue requires more research and thought. In theory this would lead to a more informed populace who are less susceptible to demagoguery, populism and group politics.

Could you flesh out your breach of the social contract point?

Side: Direct Democracy
1 point

A direct democracy has many benefits like there is always a chose for all government decisions we all get to vote and have a say

Side: Direct Democracy
1 point

Direct democracy really can only work in a smaller group. A country as large and complicated as the USA for example really can only conduct voting and decisionmaking through representatives.

Side: Representative Democracy
1 point

With a country whose population numbers in the hundreds of millions over fifty politically separate arbitrary designations of land, requiring or even allowing every single one of those people to take part in every single decision made by government would be a nightmare; for a start, much more of people's lives would necessarily be taken up by researching the best course of action to take on a given issue. Further, voting on said issue would take an astronomical amount of time, resources, and manpower to facilitate.

In short, it's necessary to designate figures to represent the people; those who can reasonably spend the majority of their time on these issues because it's their career. Lowering the number of voters in the system by an order of 500,000 clearly negates the aforementioned costs, bringing them down to easily manageable levels.

Side: Representative Democracy
WinstonC(1232) Disputed
1 point

" much more of people's lives would necessarily be taken up by researching the best course of action to take on a given issue."

Possibly, but if they don't have time they can delegate this responsibility to someone they broadly agree with. This would weaken the voting power of those who are uninformed and strengthen that of those who are informed while still maintaining fairness.

"Further, voting on said issue would take an astronomical amount of time, resources, and manpower to facilitate."

I'm not sure it would, we deal with regular voting just fine. All that would change is the amount of info on each ballot. We could use the same technology we use to mark multiple choice tests if we use paper ballots. I'm not saying it would take the same time, resources and manpower but that it wouldn't be as astronomical as one would expect.

"Lowering the number of voters in the system by an order of 500,000 clearly negates the aforementioned costs, bringing them down to easily manageable levels."

I think wherever possible government should be as localized as possible (central government is of course necessary for some functions). As such I would suggest that the majority of proposals would be voted on at the district and state level.

Side: Direct Democracy
LichPotato(362) Disputed
2 points

"Possibly, but if they don't have time they can delegate this responsibility to someone they broadly agree with."

Is that not the very definition of a Representative Democracy?

"This would weaken the voting power of those who are uninformed and strengthen that of those who are informed while still maintaining fairness."

How, exactly, would your proposed system ensure the informed possess the most voting power? Just because one person designates another to share their voting power doesn't mean the latter person is necessarily more informed than the former.

"I'm not sure it would, we deal with regular voting just fine"

On a State or County level. We, as a people, only ever vote on a national level once in four years, and on a single issue. Just imagine, with our current legislature, how much more time and resources voting on many federal issues every year would require.

"All that would change is the amount of info on each ballot."

And frequency of voting, that being the issue at hand. Unless, of course, you'd be willing to have a single, massive period of voting annually or semi-annually, in which case every single issue requiring a federal vote would necessarily be put on hold for at least several months. Our government is slow enough as it is; can you imagine waiting the better part of a year to decide whether we're, for example, going to go to war or not?

"I think wherever possible government should be as localized as possible (central government is of course necessary for some functions). As such I would suggest that the majority of proposals would be voted on at the district and state level."

They are. In fact, as far as I know, the majority of States already have democratic voting systems for the majority of State issues (Texas being the one exception that immediately comes to mind).

Side: Representative Democracy