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date: 27 February 2024

Enduring Questions and Unsatisfactory Answers About Direct Democracylocked

Enduring Questions and Unsatisfactory Answers About Direct Democracylocked

  • Shaun BowlerShaun BowlerDepartment of Political Science, University of California, Riverside
  •  and Todd DonovanTodd DonovanDepartment of Political Science, Western Washington University

Summary

Direct democracy elections bring into sharp focus several enduring questions about the role of voters in elections. Questions of voter competence, majority rule, spending effects, and process concerns are all highlighted. Many of these questions form the basis of often very pointed debates within the literature. The study of direct democracy throws into sharp relief some of the most enduring questions relating to elections and electoral democracy. So far, however, the answers have not proved satisfying to many observers. In some cases, these debates have persisted despite an accumulation of empirical evidence that would seem to resolve the issues. Contrary to the claims of repeated criticisms, voters are capable of voting on ballot propositions in accord with their own interests and are supportive of the process as a means of making decisions. While direct democracy does have its flaws, the flaws identified by many critics are not really as damning as the critics would seem to believe. For whatever reason, however, the criticisms repeat.

Subjects

  • Political Behavior

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