January 21, 2020

Is the minority. This works in favour of a

Is Democracy the same decision as the
Majority?

The world
is changing at a rate never seen before, one of many benefactors of this change
is politics. Elections are changing, they are now based around huge rallies to
large amounts of voters. Emmanuel Macron rallied the citizens of France with
‘Ensemble, la France!’. In America, Donald Trump roused the people with the
idea of ‘Making America Great Again’. His approval rating is now 37.5%
according to the website FiveThirtyEight. This shows that once someone is voted
in, they have power, no wonder what the country thinks. Is this a democracy?

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To
understand democracy and majorities, we must know some of the different types.
In Switzerland, they have a direct democracy whereas in most democratic
countries there is a representative democracy or parliamentary democracy. The
referendum last year was an example of direct democracy however in Switzerland
most matters that are important are voted on by the citizens. Representative
and parliamentary democracies are very similar in the sense that we vote for
political parties – there are only subtle differences between representative
and parliamentary. These votes then represent the majority of the country or
the minority. This works in favour of a minority as in Switzerland the minority
have little say in the matters.

There is
one main type of majority and that is when there is more than 50% voting for something. In the UK Government, there must 326
seats for a party to control of the government or there would be a hung
parliament. In different parts of the world including India, they have 4 types
of majority Simple, Absolute, Effective and Special. A special majority is used
for instance when a President is being impeached, there must be more than
two-thirds of the house voting in favour of impeachment.

‘Democracy is not something that happens … it’s an
ongoing building process.’1

This
quotation is from James Hightower, a political activist and is the first
political philosophical idea that we will look at.

Mugabe was
voted in in 1980 as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, following on into 1987 where he
became the President – he lasted until 19th November 2017. As the news website
‘The Hindu’ stated ‘Robert Mugabe: From liberation war hero to much-hated
leader’ His power spiralled down and
moved towards tyrant style dictatorship. Not only the people forced him out of
his post, it was also his own army that removed him. This is a valid case of
how the majority is not the same as democracy. One person was voted for by a
majority and then removed because the voters had no control of anything because
of the tyranny of the majority.

While this
could be seen as the fault of a majority, Zimbabwe could reflect a presidential
democracy where the leader has significant power over the government. Robert
Mugabe was voted back as President in July 2013. His career as a high-power
politician had already been going for 33 years, as a president, he was handed
tyranny of majority once again.

The
situation with Mugabe expounds that when you vote, you vote for a party to run
the country with the tyranny of the majority – the power to run the government
as they have the majority. Hightower does not consider this to reflect a true
democracy. As you are not taking part in the voting of legislation – which is a
key 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 as
there is no process after the vote with the people helping decide.

1 Jim Hightower Quotation – Brainy
Quotation:

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/jim_hightower_368752

 

Is there, in essence, any other type of democracy
rather than a direct democracy?

Mentioned
earlier in the essay there are many types of democracies although are they a
true democracy? The word ‘democracy’ derives from the Ancient Greek word ‘??????????’ meaning ‘rule of the people’. The concept was
originally started in Athens in 506-507 BC. The people would vote on every
matter, 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 country
reflecting our views. On the other hand,
we may not agree with all views of a singular party, we cannot split our votes
in an election. Whereas in a direct democracy we have the power to have
specific views on certain policies. The foundations of democracy lie within the
theory that everyone has a say.

Albeit not
everyone in Greece did vote, women were not allowed. The elites decided who did
or didn’t. In the United Kingdom, women were still not allowed to participate
in elections until November 1918.Those at the top, therefore, controlled the
elections. Ancient Greek philosopher Plato always spoke about how democracy was
a failure; the quotation ‘Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and
the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery’ explains that dictatorship is
often caused by the democracy. This is clearly evident throughout history,
there will always be the most subtle types of dictatorship in elections by the
people at the top who run them. This concept of democracy has been fabricated
in our minds therefore easily adapted to the different styles of democracy
including parliamentary, representative or presidential.

In the
United Kingdom during the 2017 election the conservative party lost its
majority, near to being a hung parliament they signed a deal with the DUP which
gave them their majority. Granted hypothetically
that we were Conservative supporters. We support many of the Conservative
policies 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 our
views. As a citizen, we would not have a say, as we voted conservatives – a
clear flaw in representative or parliamentary democracies. Theresa May did not
ask the supporters about what they thought, giving them no say. If we refer
back to Hightower, there was no process after the vote in the election so his
belief is that it isn’t a democracy but only a majority decision. The tyranny
of the majority that was decreed onto the Conservatives, it does not suggest a
democracy where voters’ views are all represented.

Are majority decisions merging with democracy?

Obama was
recently at the Economic Club of Chicago and stated ‘Protect Democracy or Risk
of 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 Nazi
Germany, with Hitler riddling the people with his lies. We see this in the
world today, elections and votes are corrupted by elites to make a change in
their own favour. Lies are placed to the citizens. Majorities are now voting on
lies 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 his
supporters including repealing Obama Care, reforming taxes and creating a
‘great wall’ along the South Border. Donald Trump won a majority in the
Electoral College, leading him to the White House. These ‘presidential powers’2 were bestowed upon Donald
Trump by the voters who voted for him, surely this a branch of democracy. Citizens voted
on his ‘big’ promises – he is now in the process of completing them. It is known as a
presidential democracy but matters were voted on in the election and now they
are in the process of being put into place. This was a decision by the majority.

The
majority in the Electoral College was not the majority of the popular vote.
This raises a whole other debate of whether
the US election should be held as a popular vote or Electoral College vote.
Hilary Clinton won the latter. This is yet
another example of how democracy has been changed, the people voted but they
did not get the result they wanted. I am
not stating that Clinton should have won
as elections are very strategic and often the ‘game’ includes going to states
that have the highest Electoral College points. Nevertheless,
I am stating that majorities can
determine events in a country and can cause a
process of events. Majorities are now merging with democracies.

Brexit
could be argued either way. One side
could 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 that
won the referendum. Another way of looking at the situation is that there are
many aspects of the Brexit that the
public has no say in. Many voters ‘Bregret’ their decision and can no longer do
anything about it. In a direct democracy, the final deal would almost certainly
be voted on by the citizens.

Is Democracy the same decision as the Majority?

Majorities
are now pulling the ropes of the way the
world is moving economically and politically. Democracy
has 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 dictated
over and told how they should live their lives. This was revolutionary and it is at the heart of the infrastructure
of every political system across the world today. We vote in elections on ideas
and principles and hand over power to those with a majority. Conceptually
democracy is based upon majority decisions by those who have more than 50% of a
vote. 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.

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