They are if it's a system the people agree on, or at least don't object to, and it works. The system itself was put there in a democratic way.
So why is there any objection to indirect democracy? You've got to think of practicality too. For instance, the unwritten British constitution requires, in...
Best answer: They are if it's a system the people agree on, or at least don't object to, and it works. The system itself was put there in a democratic way.
So why is there any objection to indirect democracy? You've got to think of practicality too. For instance, the unwritten British constitution requires, in the words of Walter Bagehot, the Queen to appoint as Prime Minister whoever is most likely to form a stable government and command a majority in the House of Commons. This is NOT necessarily the leader of the majority party. In reality it always is, and it would be extremely unlikely not to be, but that is not the actual criterion for appointment. You have to remember that there isn't always a majority party - there could be a hung Parliament and then the parties will want to think about a coalition. It's worked for the UK for 297 years, ever since it first had a Prime Minister.
It works for Canada too, which has a more fragmented Parliament that hardly ever finds itself able to form coalitions, so the Queen (or rather the Governor General, acting in her place) will appoint the leader of the largest party to form a minority government. Canada has got quite good at coping with a minority administration as it happens almost all the time.
Furthermore, how should a party decide who its leader is? What the main British parties used to do is just have their MPs vote on which one of them should be leader. That way, you're guaranteed to get the one they're most likely to get on with as leader. If you throw the leadership election open to the entire party membership, well... let me just describe the current position of the British Labour Party, which has done this.
It has elected Jeremy Corbyn as leader. The party membership is more left wing than the average of the Labour MPs so many weren't happy with him, there was a leadership challenge according to party rules the next year, and guess what, they got Jeremy again. So they're stuck with him but it has resulted in a lot of resignations and sackings from the Shadow Cabinet. Which doesn't leave Jeremy much to pick from. (Traditionally the main Opposition party appoints its own opposite numbers to the government's Ministers to speak for the party on that topic, and those MPs are the Shadow Cabinet.) Most notably, the Shadow Home Secretary is Diane Abbott. Just look up videos of Diane in TV and radio interviews on youtube and you might well agree with all the comments underneath that she is as thick as two short planks. Does Labour really not have anybody better? Well, apparently not who also gets on with Jeremy.
The Conservatives, on the other hand, still keep more to the old way and only throw it to the party members once the MPs have narrowed the choice down to two by exhaustive ballot. Last time, one of the two decided to drop out so it never went to the whole party at all. It certainly works better in keeping the party united.
The US electoral college exists for an entirely different reason. It exists because in 1787, the smaller states insisted that in a federal country, the states ought to have some say as well, not just the people. So to give a bit of bias towards smaller states, electing the President this way was put in the constitution. Of course if you think that, over 200 years later, that is wrong, by all means make an Amendment and make it a straight popular vote for President. But there is still a good argument that not all of the US is the same, there are different concerns in different parts of the US and it shouldn't be left entirely to the big cities just because that's where most people live.
The same compromise is also why the US Senate exists, with 2 senators per state regardless of how many people live there. The Senate represents the states, while the House of Representatives represents the people. That's being federal.
This is not to say that it's perfect. The constitution leaves it up to the states how to choose their electors and nearly all of them go for "winner takes all". Whether Presidential Candidate X wins the state by a country mile or just by one vote, the state chooses X's entire slate of electors. It would take an Amendment to do this, but the US could enforce choosing electors by proportional representation. Look at how the state vote actually goes between A and B, round that off to the nearest electoral vote, and that's how many electors each of A and B get. You need a method of how to round it, but several exist and are used in Europe - just copy the one you most like and put it into the Amendment. The simplest is d'Hondt and you can just copy the wording from the UK's Scotland Act 1998 (it partly uses this for electing the Scottish Parliament). Even better, scrap electors, just use this as a way of allocating electoral votes.
How about it? Still indirect, but only for the reason that the electoral college was created - other than that, it's as direct as you can get.
3 weeks ago