While political competition is essential for democratic accountability, popular pressure for “more democratic” forms of decision-making—such as referenda and primaries—has act...
Foreign Policy Forum
Democratic Competition: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
While political competition is essential for democratic accountability, popular pressure for “more democratic” forms of decision-making—such as referenda and primaries—has actually produced harmful results, both in the United States and Europe. Political scientist Ian Shapiro notes that these forms of political competition have fragmented voters into blocs, impeding the adoption of long-term, overarching policies. Moreover, right-wing parties have gained increased legitimacy; in systems based on proportional representation, gerrymandering has caused widespread electoral polarization; and global peace and security have been threatened by the rise of protectionism and economic nationalism. In this lecture, Shapiro argues that it’s more important than ever to consider the consequences of decentralized forms of political competition, and he outlines conditions under which countries can create constructive forms of democratic participation within existing constitutional frameworks.
Generously supported by Daimler-Fonds