How much democracy?

One of the debates in politics is how closely our representatives should follow public opinion. In the lingo of political science, the debate boils down to those who whether you believe representatives should act as delegates or trustees. Delegates are expected to put aside their personal judgment and follow public opinion in their district closely. Trustees use their own judgment to act in the best interest of the people they represent.

The Gallup poll periodically asks questions related to this. Here’s one breakdown on the latest poll.

Overall, doubt about elected officials is high. It probably always has been. Representative democracy means that unhappy citizens have two choices for who to blame for their problems: themselves or the people they elect.


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