Role of a Legislator

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There are three major views on the role of a legislator within a representative government. Each plays an important role in how our government is run today but they each differ in a few ways. In a representative democracy the people get to elect who is going to represent them in congress. The following will compare and contrast the role of a delegate, trustee and politico in our government today.

As a delegate you would always goes with the thoughts of your fellow constituents and the people they govern. They feel if they follow exactly what the people want this will help them in getting re-elected for office. As the example given in class, if the people say that they are 97 percent opposed to flag burning than the delegate legislator will also be opposed to flag burning. According to Magstadt, legislators who are expected to act on the basis of constituents’ opinions are under a constraint that makes illicit deals unlikely.

As a trustee you would always go with what you thought was right, regardless of what the voters or your constituents wanted. Edward Burke was the first critic of the delegate theory; he said that people should be leaders not followers. He believed the legislators should act according to their understanding of the public good and not merely as a mouthpiece or puppet of the voters. If the public elected the legislators to represent them in congress than they know that he or she will do their best to support their views but also add their own when they feel is necessary.

The third and final representation in congress is a politico who acts as a delegate and a trustee, they go with what they feel are in the public goods interest and also the beliefs of constitutes. An example of this type of legislator would be William Fullbright who demonstrated that even though he represented a very conservative state of Arkansas, he still had a liberal view on certain topics. He often voted against legislation, especially on civil rights...
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