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Final Study Guide

Final Study Guide - Inequality and American Democracy FINAL...

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Inequality and American Democracy FINAL Study Guide Representative Democracy o Elected representatives o Free, fair, and frequent elections o Freedom of expression o Alternative sources of information o Associational autonomy o Inclusion of all members of the polity The Three R’s—Democracy aspires toward equal consideration of citizens’ interests o Rights: equal right of all citizens to participate and enjoy basic civil protections o Responsiveness: leaders respond to clear, considered and firm preferences held by strong majorities of citizens o Resistance: political leaders in power face real and routine risk of losing office Political equality o Assumption of intrinsic equality o People are the best judges of their own interests o Each citizen, in principle, has equal opportunity to exercise political influence o One person, one vote o Majority rule o Restrictions on vote-selling and trading Liberal Ideal o People have certain inalienable rights and they need to be protected Republican Ideal o The common good needs to be taken into account and the state must ensure social welfare Non-Democratic Elements of our Constitution o “Three-fifths” clause and sanctioning of slavery o Failure to guarantee suffrage
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o Senate indirectly elected o Malapportionment of Senate o Presidential election insulated from popular and congressional control o Judicial review INEQUALITY AND POLITICAL PARTICIPATION Inequality o CEO pay 360:1 o Wealth explosion—people at the top have experienced this; wealth is much more concentrated o Growth of inequality in income o Rich get richer, poor get slightly richer o End of shared prosperity o USA: more inequality, less redistribution Economic inequality begets political inequality o Money buys speech/access/influence o The better off have networks and connections that the worse off do not o Better off participate more and in more influential ways o Better off are more knowledgeable about policies and how they affect them o Inequality creates quiescence among those on the losing end (we cant change anything!) “A Nation of Joiners” o Strong history of private groups/organizations in the US o Political participation: active attempts to shape collective decisions governing our lives o Individual activities and conventional Voting and contributing o Collective activities and conventional Interest groups/parties o Individual and unconventional
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Individual acts of civil disobedience o Collective and unconventional Mass protests o **unconventional means are usually the weapons of the politically/economically weak Why do some people not participate o Because they cant Lack of resources/capacities o Because they don’t want to Motives/engagement o Because nobody asked them to Strategic mobilization Participatory inequality o Money matters more than in the past and money is the most unequally distributed of political resources o
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