Political Participation and Voting as Democracy Features

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Elections play a significant role in democratic states; therefore, the American government is unimaginable without this institution. Their fundamental mechanisms are the primary forms of manifestation of the people’s sovereignty and political role. This instrument also serves as the most crucial channel for representing various social groups’ interests in government bodies. Nevertheless, elections only provide an opportunity to determine society’s valid mood, the actual implementation of which depends on many factors.

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It is necessary to consider groups by age, ethnicity, gender, religion, income, and education to analyze voting trends and manage their turnout. According to Ginsberg et al. (2018), mostly older adults participate in the elections due to homeownership and property taxes. They have a high level of concernment in politics compared to young people. For instance, in 2016, the highest rate among U.S. citizens was among people 65 years and older (Ginsberg et al., 2018). Young people tend to avoid voting; meanwhile, in 2018, their turnout raised “by 10 percent to 31 percent from 21 percent in 2014” (Ginsberg et al., 2018, p. 312). The increase in youth’s political and electoral activity depends on how the state can overcome the alienation from power and social institutions that have developed in the youth environment. It can create the necessary conditions for the active inclusion of young people in the country’s social and political life.

Concerning different ethnicities, as the number of Latino and Asian Americans maintains growing, these groups can affect the results of U.S. elections. In contrast, they did not vote in the past and were excluded from this process (Ginsberg et al., 2018). However, Ginsberg et al. (2018) claim that racial issues and black urban poverty persist in the United States. Due to concentrated penury, there are barriers to African American civic cooperation.

Regarding gender and religion, in the United States, the latter has always played a key role in public and political life. It is explained by the American nation’s formation and development (Ginsberg et al., 2018). According to Smith and Martinez (2016), a presidential candidate who wants to win cannot afford to be an atheist as half of the American adults will not vote for someone who does not believe in God. Women are more likely to choose Democratic candidates, while men tend to vote for Republicans (Ginsberg et al., 2018). Besides, participation relies on socioeconomic status, higher education, and higher-level jobs.

Process of Electing Government Officials

The President and Vice President of the United States are elected together in an election held every four years. The polls are indirect: the Electoral College determines the winner, while voters in each state choose one of the electoral lists designated by any candidate (Ginsberg et al., 2018). Due to indirect voting, it is possible that a candidate who received the majority of the electoral votes would nevertheless lose in case the voices of individuals at the national level were considered.

The U.S. Congress consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives, which is directly elected, and the Senate, which is directly elected by two representatives from each state. Previously, senators were elected by the members of state legislatures. Meanwhile, since 1913, after the 17th amendment to the Constitution entered into force, senators’ election became direct (Ginsberg et al., 2018). If elections to Congress and state governors do not take place simultaneously as presidential elections, then public attention and, accordingly, citizen participation falls on average by 14 percent (Ginsberg et al., 2018). There is a majoritarian electoral system in the United States, meaning that a candidate who receives a relative majority of votes in a single-member constituency is considered the winner.

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Campaigns Function and Impact on the Society in the United States

Elections in the United States are the oldest democratic tradition in the modern world. Before the elections, all parties and candidates are fighting to be preferred by everyone else. Every election campaign is characterized by a considerable number of ways to attract attention. Campaigns are characterized by brightness and entertainment as the candidate who has withstood the fiercest competition becomes the president. Each time, competitors use more and more sophisticated tools to win votes.

These days, digital means’ adoption and active social media usage become one of the most decisive factors in presidential campaigns. The first campaign using the Internet and social media to mobilize voters was the campaign of Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election (Koc-Michalska & Lilleker, 2018). The Internet became firmly established in the subsequent election races’ toolkit. It was applied by candidates from both parties in the 2016 presidential elections (Koc-Michalska & Lilleker, 2018). According to the Federal Election Commission (2017), Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has spent $ 897.7 million on it, Republican candidate Donald Trump – $ 429.5 million (Koc-Michalska & Lilleker, 2018). Social media and blogging platforms enable candidates to reach out directly to internet users and grow their following. Subscribers to candidates’ pages on social networks are potential voters, so politicians strive to use all types of Internet communications and register on the site of the most popular social networks.

What Kinds of Reforms Could Be Made to Make Elections Freer and Fairer?

The Constitution should be amended accordingly to ensure that the vote count considers every American’s will. Every vote counts; it means that the electoral college should be reformed or removed; consequently, all the opinions would be respected. It is enough to gain a simple majority but not an absolute one to become the winner in a particular state. The plurality system pushes electors to choose candidates from the two dominant parties for fear that the vote might be lost if they vote for candidates from other parties. As a result, many citizens do not decide on the candidates they prefer. They think it is the best among the worst of the candidates from the two main parties since only these competitors have the opportunity to win without a second round.

Conclusion

The election of the most important government bodies and the regular holding of free and fair elections are some of the most striking indicators of the actual democracy of the political system. It is the central aspect of its legitimacy, determining recognition by society or its more significant part. The people’s will is the basis of the power of government. Periodic and non-falsified elections should be held under universal and equal suffrage by secret ballot or through other equivalent forms that ensure freedom to vote.

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References

Federal Election Commission. (2017). Federal Elections 2016: Election Results for the U.S. President, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives [PDF document]. Web.

Ginsberg, B., Lowi, T., J., Campbell, A., L., Weir, M., & Tolbert, C., J (2018). We the People (12th ed.). W. W. NORTON & Company.

Koc-Michalska, K., & Lilleker, D. G. (Eds.). (2018). Digital politics: mobilization, engagement and participation. Routledge.

Smith, G. A., & Martinez, J. (2016). How the faithful voted: A preliminary 2016 analysis. Pew Research Center. Web.

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DemoEssays. (2022, February 25). Political Participation and Voting as Democracy Features. Retrieved from https://demoessays.com/political-participation-and-voting-as-democracy-features/

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DemoEssays. (2022) 'Political Participation and Voting as Democracy Features'. 25 February.

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DemoEssays. 2022. "Political Participation and Voting as Democracy Features." February 25, 2022. https://demoessays.com/political-participation-and-voting-as-democracy-features/.

1. DemoEssays. "Political Participation and Voting as Democracy Features." February 25, 2022. https://demoessays.com/political-participation-and-voting-as-democracy-features/.


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DemoEssays. "Political Participation and Voting as Democracy Features." February 25, 2022. https://demoessays.com/political-participation-and-voting-as-democracy-features/.