11-7 Lecture - American Government & Politics 11/7/06...

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11/7/06 Lecture on Public Policy The Process of Representation Perspectives on Public Opinion Polling in America Review: - Why parties forms and what they do - Form over ideological disagreement and electoral necessity of organizing - Why do we only have 2 parties? - Electoral rules – majority vs. plurality - Electoral realignments - Importance of south throughout American History - What do they do? - Free rider problem - Campaign finance reforms first ideas of liberty, equality, democracy embedded in constitution democracy popular sovereignty (cuts to heart of the issue – public opinion) ultimate power resides in people (government is the instrument of public opinion) this separated the American government from those in the past of people by people for people process of representation built on 2 things 1. People must know what they want 2. They are able to communicate their desires to political leaders if these things happen political leaders can take responsibility if they don’t they can be held accountable frequent elections should theoretically keep government responsive to public opinion What if the public doesn’t know what they want or are ignorant? Don’t understand? Don’t care? Not sure? What if public is not able to communicate its desires to leaders? Then representation doesn’t work. Does public opinion exist? (Vital question in American Politics) Go back to 2 models of leadership - Delegate Model (Personal beliefs subordinate to publics needs and wants) - Trusteeship Model (p.509 & 511) (want the representative to follow his/her own judgment) classic delegate: someone who changes positions when constituents change positions even if he/she doesn’t believe in the change
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11-7 Lecture - American Government & Politics 11/7/06...

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