One objection to "more democracy" is that voters will vote in whatever way gives themselves more political power, without due regard for the institutions they are voting to modify or the enfranchisement of the minority.

While voting is every person's due right in democracy, it is the impulse to gain undue political power that would seem selfish. Racial disenfranchisement in the US would be a clear example of this.

Do American voters do this nowadays? Given the chance, do they vote in whatever way increases their own authority and / or political power?

  • What would be a better answer? One of the hardest parts of political philosophy is how hard it is to determine which system of government is better without a clear metric with which to judge them. – Cort Ammon Nov 9 at 1:40
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    How would you even define this? As someone not in a minority, who votes to protect minorities, support the poor, and pay more taxes, am I voting "against my selfish interests"? Or am I "increasing my political power" by voting to make views that I agree with more influential? Is it even possible for me to be "selfless" if I genuinely believe that I'm personally better off living in a society that is good to other people? One would imagine that everyone votes for the political views they believe in, so at the very least they'd be acting in their own interest in that sense. – Tal Nov 9 at 3:49
  • @Tal ah yes, the Joey and Phoebe conundrum. – JJJ Nov 9 at 5:50
  • @Tal, I have added more words to make my question more narrow. By one definition, merely voting would be selfish! But that's not what I'm asking. – elliot svensson Nov 9 at 14:55
  • This question isn't answerable because voters in a representative democracy don't have direct political power by definition. Their only power is voting, and what they do by voting is give power to others to act on their behalf. Maybe what you actually mean (implied by your mention of racial disenfranchisement) is whether voters tend to vote for people who favor the voters demographic at the expense of other demographics. But that's not a question of power. When a politician discriminates cat owners and favors dog owners, then that does not necessarily mean dog owners gain political power. – Philipp Nov 9 at 15:25

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