Introduction to American Politics online course discussion – Dahl

I don’t know how to handle this Political Science question and need guidance.

Please reply to the question and comment constructively on a classmates’ posting.


Q: Dahl, Ch 3: “What Lies Ahead?” and Dahl, Ch 4: “What is Democracy?”

Discuss the points that Dahl makes in these two very short chapters. Take some aspect of this and get into some depth

Here is classmate’s posting from question. Please reply in 1st person point of view.

Classmate’s post

“None of us, I imagine, believes that we could actually attain a perfectly democratic system, given the many limits imposed on us in the real world” says Dahl (Dahl, pg 29). A perfect democracy or perfect anything doesn’t exist however Dahl provides a base line, a starting point if you will, that we can build upon to help strengthen the foundation of a democracy. He first starts off though by asking us to make the distinction between democracy when we speak of it as being either ideal or an actuality. Why is that important though? I believe it to be important because your ideal or value judgement will help steer the actual, the empirical judgment, of what it really is. A lot of the decisions that we make everyday fall heavily on our values, beliefs and what is right from wrong but we also connect those same ideals to what is actually going on around us. Given my belief of ‘x’ what is actually going on in ‘y’.

Dahl also suggests that there are 5 criteria’s that we should follow to be fully democratic. Again I want to emphasize that being fully democratic does not mean it’s perfect. Of the 5 criteria’s mentioned, the one that stood out the most to me was #2, Equality in Voting. Dahl is suggesting that the votes cast by each member be equal in weight and that one should not receive more votes simply because he has more, take property for example, than someone else. I don’t know how you can justify someone being able to have more votes or be considered more qualified by what assets they have which is why I chose to talk about this. Does this not resemble the keep or abolish the electoral college in the last unit? I am not in favor of the electoral college simply because it’s weighted and you get these electoral college votes based on the population of your state – WEIGHTED! It goes against what Dahl is claiming is needed to support a full democracy which is a equal vote for all, one for one vote. How can you follow this criteria in running a full democracy but not use the same criteria when we vote, wouldn’t it make sense that we would follow suite in our presidential election as well?

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