From a distance, American Democracy seems to be the ideal style of government. In fact, most Americans would probably tell you they are lucky to live in America because of the style of government. America and its government were built on a set of beliefs and principles that make it unique. Over the more than 200 years since the U.S. Constitution was written many amendments have been made to keep up with the changes in society. However, there are also many challenges facing the framers of the Constitution, which still face American Democracy today.
The main intention of the framers of the U.S. Constitution was to develop a balanced government. They all believed that America needed a balanced government, which “set power against power to prevent anyone faction from becoming too powerful,” (Edwards III, Wattenberg, & Lineberry, 2008 p.38). In order to achieve this, the founders created a system of checks, balances, and separation of powers. With this system of checks and balances, no one faction could take over the entire government; making it nearly impossible for it to become too powerful. The system was created so that change happened slowly over time. With creating a new form of government, came a list of challenges for the framers to overcome.
Just as the framers of the Constitution faced challenges in creating the Constitution, today’s American Democracy also has many challenges. One challenge to democracy is increased technical expertise. Originally it was thought that the average person had the ability to make political decisions, while the government had the power to enact those decisions. Now America has experts on everything, making it difficult for the average citizen to make informed decisions (Edwards III, Wattenberg, & Lineberry, 2008 p.19). Average citizens need to be better informed of the issues that America faces.
Limited participation in government is another challenge that threatens American Democracy. There are many people who do not vote or do not know much about who they are voting for. Over the years the voter turnout for young people has been minimal. However, the past three election cycles have shown that young people do have an opinion and when their issues are addressed they will take advantage of their right to vote (Smith, 2010). “There are 44 million eligible voters,” (Smith, 2010). The young voters of America, ages 18-29, make up more than one-fifth of the total number of registered voters (Smith, 2010 para.1). Even with the increasing number of young people voting, there needs to be more outreach to this generation. There needs to be more involvement in politics at a young age. Currently there is very little introduction to politics in high school. If there was more involvement available for high school students, then when they are old enough to vote, they will have more respect for the right to do so.
The escalating cost of campaigns makes it easier for the candidate with the most money to win the election. Around election time you can see campaign ads on the television during every commercial brake. Naturally the candidate with the most money can afford the most commercial slots. This is unfair to those who do not have the means to campaign in the same manner. A recent Supreme Court ruling, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, removed all prior spending limits, allowing corporate spending in elections (Mann, 2010). Because republicans are majority big business, democrats are trying to find ways to fight the ruling. There has to be a better way for all candidates to have equal opportunity in campaigning. Minimizing the role of money by providing public financing and free media for political candidates would provide better opportunity for every candidate (Satin, 2006).
The other main challenge that American Democracy faces is diverse political interests. America has a more diverse population than any other country, which...
References: Edwards III, G. C., Wattenberg, M. P., & Lineberry, R. L. (2008). Government in America (9th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson Education, Inc..
Equal Rights Amendment Task Force. (2010). The Equal Rights Amendment. Retrieved from http://www.equalrightamendment.org/
Mann, T. E. (2010). Brookings Podcast: Corporate Spending in Elections. Retrieved from http://www.brookings.edu
National Science Foundation. (1997). False Identification: New Research Seeks to Inoculate Eyewitnesses Against Errors. Retrieved from http://www.nsf.gov
Satin, M. (2006). Repairing American Democracy: Changing the rules is not enough! Radical Middle Newsletter, 1(96), 1. Retrieved from http://www.radicalmiddle.com/x_hill.htm
Smith, H. (2010). Will They or Won 't They? Retrieved from http://rockthevote.com
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