Offensive Elections Democracy in America

In today’s world, there are three types of democracy: majoritarian, pluralist, and elitist. Throughout our country’s history including today, the American people discuss and debate the type of democracy America adheres to and what type of government we should be using. In majoritarian democracy, the law or solution that the majority of citizens want is the taken course of action. In a pluralistic democracy, different lobbies or interest groups look to influence political decisions. In elitist democracy, power is secretly held by a select group of powerful groups or individuals.

None of these systems are impervious to a breakdown of the system’s function.

Majoritarian and pluralist democracies share the goal of a fair government for the American person. Still, these two systems function very differently. Majoritarian systems gain power from the most popular opinion. This can lead to issues relating to the treatment of minorities, especially when the minority decision or opinion is held by almost half of the people.

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Pluralistic democracies can run into similar issues because of the nature of lobbying. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the year of our last presidential election had $3.16 billion dollars in lobby spending. Groups that cannot raise enough money or a sizable campaign have a significantly slimmer chance of having their voices heard. This especially comes into play when foreign countries are involved. The Center for Responsive Politics also reported that foreign countries spent over $650 million dollars in American political lobbies.

Majoritarian and pluralist models also respond to social change at different rates.

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Pluralistic democracy allows for well-funded groups to organize large public protests such as the Womens’ March or Black Lives Matter marches. In majoritarian democracy, more grassroots activism seen on social media can more rapidly allow for change. This happened recently, with National Voter Registration Day yielding 800,000 voter registration after the widespread galvanization of the American people for issues such as climate change, women’s rights, and immigration.

Majoritarian and pluralist models start to adopt elitist tendencies when the country strays from its ideals. When political bodies start searching for monetary gain, pluralistic systems evolve into elitist governments where the richest or most powerful people or organizations, even those affiliated with foreign bodies, can be the primary shapers of American politics. This is seen when President Trump’s campaign was shown to have significant assistance from Russian officials. Still, as long as there is a sizable, active movement for political transparency or justice, steps can be taken to limit the scope of this kind of elite.

In majoritarian systems, a political elite can be established when citizens become complicit and don’t vote. This allows incumbent politicians to remain in office either officially or unofficially and have almost uncontested power. This is seen today with the American people’s distaste for their representatives or president. This can be combatted with increased accessibility and a stronger public desire to vote.

Elitist systems operate in a way that can be compared to pluralistic democracy but do not operate with the same goal as either type of democracy. An elitist system is a dysfunctional democracy. A “majority” in an elitist democracy is a stronger financial or political hold on whoever is making or enforcing the law. Unlike either of the other two systems, an elitist system oppresses the majority of a country’s citizens.

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Offensive Elections Democracy in America. (2022, Jan 10). Retrieved from

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