Daedalus (Cambridge, Mass.), 2017-07-01, Vol.146 (3), p.77-84
Recent calls to inject substantial doses of deliberation into democratic politics rest on a misdiagnosis of its infirmities. Far from improving political outcomes, deliberation undermines competition over proposed political programs – the lifeblood of healthy democratic politics. Moreover, institutions that are intended to encourage deliberation are all too easily hijacked by people with intense preferences and abundant resources, who can deploy their leverage in deliberative settings to bargain for the outcomes they prefer. Arguments in support of deliberation are, at best, diversions from more serious threats to democracy, notably money’s toxic role in politics. A better focus would be on restoring meaningful competition between representatives of two strong political parties over the policies that, if elected, they will implement. I sketch the main outlines of this kind of political competition, differentiating it from less healthy forms of multiparty and intraparty competition that undermine the accountability of governments.
Critics ; Democracy ; United States ; Analysis
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