Is Democracy the same decision as theMajority?The worldis changing at a rate never seen before, one of many benefactors of this changeis politics. Elections are changing, they are now based around huge rallies tolarge amounts of voters.
Emmanuel Macron rallied the citizens of France with’Ensemble, la France!’. In America, Donald Trump roused the people with theidea of ‘Making America Great Again’. His approval rating is now 37.5%according to the website FiveThirtyEight. This shows that once someone is votedin, they have power, no wonder what the country thinks. Is this a democracy?Tounderstand democracy and majorities, we must know some of the different types.
In Switzerland, they have a direct democracy whereas in most democraticcountries there is a representative democracy or parliamentary democracy. Thereferendum last year was an example of direct democracy however in Switzerlandmost matters that are important are voted on by the citizens. Representativeand parliamentary democracies are very similar in the sense that we vote forpolitical parties – there are only subtle differences between representativeand parliamentary. These votes then represent the majority of the country orthe minority.
This works in favour of a minority as in Switzerland the minorityhave little say in the matters. There isone main type of majority and that is when there is more than 50% voting for something. In the UK Government, there must 326seats for a party to control of the government or there would be a hungparliament. In different parts of the world including India, they have 4 typesof majority Simple, Absolute, Effective and Special. A special majority is usedfor instance when a President is being impeached, there must be more thantwo-thirds of the house voting in favour of impeachment. ‘Democracy is not something that happens … it’s anongoing building process.’1Thisquotation is from James Hightower, a political activist and is the firstpolitical philosophical idea that we will look at.
Mugabe wasvoted in in 1980 as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, following on into 1987 where hebecame the President – he lasted until 19th November 2017. As the news website’The Hindu’ stated ‘Robert Mugabe: From liberation war hero to much-hatedleader’ His power spiralled down andmoved towards tyrant style dictatorship. Not only the people forced him out ofhis post, it was also his own army that removed him. This is a valid case ofhow the majority is not the same as democracy. One person was voted for by amajority and then removed because the voters had no control of anything becauseof the tyranny of the majority. While thiscould be seen as the fault of a majority, Zimbabwe could reflect a presidentialdemocracy where the leader has significant power over the government. RobertMugabe was voted back as President in July 2013. His career as a high-powerpolitician had already been going for 33 years, as a president, he was handedtyranny of majority once again.
Thesituation with Mugabe expounds that when you vote, you vote for a party to runthe country with the tyranny of the majority – the power to run the governmentas they have the majority. Hightower does not consider this to reflect a truedemocracy. As you are not taking part in the voting of legislation – which is akey factor to how a country is run. The citizens voted once four years ago,they were left with no control. This is a majority decision, not a democracy asthere is no process after the vote with the people helping decide.1 Jim Hightower Quotation – BrainyQuotation:https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/jim_hightower_368752 Is there, in essence, any other type of democracyrather than a direct democracy?Mentionedearlier in the essay there are many types of democracies although are they atrue democracy? The word ‘democracy’ derives from the Ancient Greek word ‘??????????’ meaning ‘rule of the people’.
The concept wasoriginally started in Athens in 506-507 BC. The people would vote on everymatter, a referendum on everything – including executions which led to some catastrophic decisions.We place our vote into parties to respect our personal views and to change our countryreflecting our views.
On the other hand,we may not agree with all views of a singular party, we cannot split our votesin an election. Whereas in a direct democracy we have the power to havespecific views on certain policies. The foundations of democracy lie within thetheory that everyone has a say.Albeit noteveryone in Greece did vote, women were not allowed.
The elites decided who didor didn’t. In the United Kingdom, women were still not allowed to participatein elections until November 1918.Those at the top, therefore, controlled theelections.
Ancient Greek philosopher Plato always spoke about how democracy wasa failure; the quotation ‘Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, andthe most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery’ explains that dictatorship isoften caused by the democracy. This is clearly evident throughout history,there will always be the most subtle types of dictatorship in elections by thepeople at the top who run them. This concept of democracy has been fabricatedin our minds therefore easily adapted to the different styles of democracyincluding parliamentary, representative or presidential.In theUnited Kingdom during the 2017 election the conservative party lost itsmajority, near to being a hung parliament they signed a deal with the DUP whichgave them their majority. Granted hypotheticallythat we were Conservative supporters. We support many of the Conservativepolicies but not the DUP’s. This includes, for example, their pro-life views,now the conservatives are working with a party that does not affiliate with ourviews. As a citizen, we would not have a say, as we voted conservatives – aclear flaw in representative or parliamentary democracies.
Theresa May did notask the supporters about what they thought, giving them no say. If we referback to Hightower, there was no process after the vote in the election so hisbelief is that it isn’t a democracy but only a majority decision. The tyrannyof the majority that was decreed onto the Conservatives, it does not suggest ademocracy where voters’ views are all represented. Are majority decisions merging with democracy?Obama wasrecently at the Economic Club of Chicago and stated ‘Protect Democracy or Riskof following path of Nazi Germany’.
Democracy has been reshaped over the years,lies are often spread by the elite, and there is no longer many fair votes.Simultaneously the votes are sunk with corruption. This path was seen in NaziGermany, with Hitler riddling the people with his lies. We see this in theworld today, elections and votes are corrupted by elites to make a change intheir own favour. Lies are placed to the citizens. Majorities are now voting onlies and are in return are handed huge amounts of power over important matters.In the election in the United States, Donald Trump promised many changes to hissupporters including repealing Obama Care, reforming taxes and creating a’great wall’ along the South Border.
Donald Trump won a majority in theElectoral College, leading him to the White House. These ‘presidential powers’2 were bestowed upon DonaldTrump by the voters who voted for him, surely this a branch of democracy. Citizens votedon his ‘big’ promises – he is now in the process of completing them.
It is known as apresidential democracy but matters were voted on in the election and now theyare in the process of being put into place. This was a decision by the majority.Themajority in the Electoral College was not the majority of the popular vote.
This raises a whole other debate of whetherthe US election should be held as a popular vote or Electoral College vote.Hilary Clinton won the latter. This is yetanother example of how democracy has been changed, the people voted but theydid not get the result they wanted. I amnot stating that Clinton should have wonas elections are very strategic and often the ‘game’ includes going to statesthat have the highest Electoral College points. Nevertheless,I am stating that majorities candetermine events in a country and can cause aprocess of events. Majorities are now merging with democracies.Brexitcould be argued either way.
One sidecould be that we voted to leave the European Union and this is legally binding.This is a process put in place, also known as Article 50, by the majority thatwon the referendum. Another way of looking at the situation is that there aremany aspects of the Brexit that thepublic has no say in. Many voters ‘Bregret’ their decision and can no longer doanything about it. In a direct democracy, the final deal would almost certainlybe voted on by the citizens. Is Democracy the same decision as the Majority?Majoritiesare now pulling the ropes of the way theworld is moving economically and politically. Democracyhas not always been the same, the foundations were laid by Ancient Greece. The idea of people in a community stepping forward and voting on what they believed in – rather than them being dictatedover and told how they should live their lives.
This was revolutionary and it is at the heart of the infrastructureof every political system across the world today. We vote in elections on ideasand principles and hand over power to those with a majority. Conceptuallydemocracy is based upon majority decisions by those who have more than 50% of avote.
This was what democracy had started with at the beginning. Then again in practice,a majority decision has no power over a democratic situation in a government,voters do not negotiate on the terms, deals or policies.