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Lecture 4

Lecture 4 - Democracy GREAT NOTE ON DEMOCRACY!!!


Department
Political Science
Course Code
PSCI 110
Professor
Jingjing Huo
Lecture
4

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Feb 10 -
Lecture 3 - Democracy
DEFINING DEMOCRACY
Exercise your power through the public.
Participation
Competition
Freedom/ Liberty
ORIGINS OF LIBERAL DEMOCRACY
Direct democracy (Athens)
Indirect democracy:
Delegation
Separation of Power
Republicanism (Rule by law In contrast to kingdom).
MAGNA CARTA
King’s rights curbed by legislature.
King was obliged to consult.
People given “due process” (Legal Rights).
State autonomy becomes limited.
WHY ENGLAND?
Early unification issue of statehood solved.
Island = A smaller army.
Port taxes No heavy tax extraction by the state.
A strong, but not to coercive state.
PARTICIPATION IN DEMOCRACY
1. Indirect (representative) democracy.
First-past-the-post
Proportional Representation
2. Direct Democracy
FIRST-PAST-THE-POST
Single member district (Geographically closer votes which deem more successful).
Candidate with plurality of votes wins.
Competition between individual candidates.
Biased against minor parties.
Wasted Vote: Only 1 candidate can be elected from each district; if you lose you lose
all your votes.
The reward for winning of bigger parties and loss for minor party is exaggerated.
You have to win more seats rather than the actual votes.

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Feb 10 -
Once you split, you have no way to survive, as you will all be a bunch of small
parties.
Duverger’s Law.
The United States uses this type of system along with Canada.
In Canada, the liberals and conservatives will always benefit.
PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION
Multi-member district (More than 1 seats in each district).
You have lists (Liberal Conservative, NDP, etc), and each candidate on every list.
The percentage of votes you get should roughly equals to the percentage of seats.
E.g. 30% of votes = 3 seats. Percentage of seats is proportional to number of votes.
Competition between parties (lists).
This system is not biased against minor parties, and is not necessary in favor of
minor parties.
This system is completely neutral to all parties.
Threshold often imposed to preventing fringe parties. Once you move beyond a
certain percent, you have a threshold let’s say of 4%.
COMPARING FPP AND PR
Number of parties: PR would have more parties and under FPP it only adds up to
roughly 2.
Sectarian (party for business, farmers, etc) vs. catch-all parties (Parties cater to ass
many people as possible): FPP = Catch-all parties and PR = Sectarian
Representation of Parties: PR = Parties are much more representative in
composition of society under FPP
Accountability of candidates (The ability to punish the cop orate): FPP gives you
greater accountability because only 1 candidate is elected but under PR you have
multiple candidates who could be held responsible. Accountability is much weaker
under PR than FPP.
Turnout: Under FPP turnout will be lower; supporters of minor parties will not vote,
as it will not change the election turnout. Therefore, higher under PR than FPP.
DIRECT DEMOCRACY
Referendum: Public is directly involved in regards to your position on specific
issues.
Public vote on particular issues.
Direct decisions (one-step).
This referendum has to be called by the government.
Initiative: The proposal comes directly from the population.
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