57

This is a question that the selectorate theory tries to answer. Essentially: As a dictator, you need to identify the people who are essential to you remaining in power. For example: the controllers of the army, the police, etc. Then, you need to establish control of the revenue stream. This can take the form of taxes from the people, or natural resources ...


55

No, this isn't at all practical. You're removing virtually everything a voter could possibly use to decide who to support. If you don't know a candidate's identity, all you're left with is what policies they claim to support. But you can't even trust those, because you don't have any way to compare it with things they've previously done. There'd be no reason ...


51

All modern democracies are representative; it's for purely pragmatic reasons hard to see how a large community could govern itself directly by the people without introducing representative intermediaries. The really interesting question for me is whether the United States, though formally a democratic republic, are factually ruled by a relatively small ...


51

What is the purpose of democracy? It's more a philosophical question than a political question but let me try a brief answer: First, it's a reasoning bias to imagine that things always exist for a specific "purpose". Things exist for various reasons (historical, cultural, ...) which are not always optimal or even logical, let alone "virtuous". Whether ...


47

How political parties view things is not necessarily commensurate with reality. After all, they have a political agenda to push. In this case the view of (federal) judges—Supreme Court Justices or otherwise—as dyed-in-the-wool partisans is not really borne out by the reality. The type of 5-4 split decisions that attract so much attention are in fact a ...


38

Political parties, lobbyists, and interest groups will exist the same: in your voting platform you will need ways to make proposals stand out: how would you deal with 10000 proposals per week? No one will read them. But things get worse: you say the system will be more efficient and that's not the case. It happens often that public opinion flips, so you ...


35

Coups by the army - 4 since inception Wars lost by the army - 4 out of 4, all of which it seems to have instigated. Budget used by the army - Accounting for 18.5% of national government expenditure in 2018, after interest payments, Pakistan's military absorbs the largest part of the country's budget. I kinda recall there was an earthquake in which the 18% ...


31

This $1.90/day is an updated (for inflation basically, more precisely for ICP) of the 1990 World Bank standard of $1/day (actually $31/month). So it's worth recalling the principles/derivation for the original figure of Ravaillon et al. (1991): Different societies have different perceptions of what constitutes "poverty," reflecting (in part) different ...


30

What makes you think there is a common secret? There are parallels and differences between all those cases. A government will not hold unless it is supported by a significant part of the population. That does not have to be a majority as long as there is no clear majority against the government which can unite behind an alternative. A government which ...


29

Switzerland lacks a single head of state, though the members of the 7-head government take it in turns to represent the country as such abroad during the 7-year government term. See also Wikipedia on Politics of Switzerland.


28

You should look at the political system of Switzerland, it is not what you propose but went into that direction. When there is a clear consensus on an issue in the parliament, there is typically no popular vote. In some cases, uncontroversial news laws have to be adopted by referendums because the law requires so. and in addition, if a significant portion (...


26

... it would be attractive to reduce that bias as much as possible because greater policy-based voting allows laws and regulations to better reflect the interests of society. Theoretically, this can be achieved by reducing the role of elected officials to the minimum with some version of direct democracy. Typically, it's implemented on a regional scale, but ...


24

What is the alternative? The idea that a cadre party knows the volonte generale better than the stupid masses whom they claim to represent has been debunked. Same for the concept of enlightened absolutism and many other things in between. A good democracy is not just a tyranny of the majority. It contains checks and balances to protect significant minority ...


24

TL;DR: like fire and electricity, the military make good servants but bad masters. The army is supposed to be the military arm of the government, so it follows that the government should control the army, not the other way around. If the army is calling the shots to the civilian government then the following bad things happen: The senior military will rule ...


21

Because law enforcement is working on behalf of the government, at the government (and by extension, the people who pay for the government)'s request. And law enforcement is given a large measure of leeway on judgment because of the complexities and danger of the job. So rather than remove judgment from the police's mandate entirely (which would cost a whole ...


19

As others mentioned, this relates to how first-past-the-post voting works with the presidency. Duverger's law says that the voting for any single post will devolve to two parties. This happens because tactical voting means that people will tend to vote for the lesser of two evils rather than the third party that has no chance. Now, you might immediately ...


18

The problem is that voters can't possibly be properly informed on every issue under consideration. Political representatives can give their attention to those issues on a full-time basis, and have staffs to study the issues in detail and brief them. Your representatives are not supposed to just vote the way you would -- they're supposed to vote the way that ...


18

Meritocracy Lacks Intrinsic Incentives To Benefit Others One of the objections to meritocracy is that in the absence of a deep cultural commitment to reciprocity (such as the Confucianist philosophy that went hand it hand with the meritocratic civil service exam system of the Qin and Han Dynasties of China) or a representative democracy, that the elites in ...


16

While the U.S. was under the Articles of Confederation, the President of The United States in Congress Assembled was not a head of state. Instead, the role was to ensure impartiality of the congress and enforcement of rules. Articles of Confederation, Presidents of the Congress


16

Authoritarian governments control the military and don't allow people to legally bear arms that could potentially oppose them. Such governments usually come to power on claims of fighting some real or imagined injustice that gives them a honeymoon period where enough people are happy with what's happening. People don't normally rebel against anything until ...


16

As I understand it, there are two different components of anarchical thought which should be stressed:1 No central government No restrictions on individual freedoms There are some things that these do not imply: A person should only act selfishly. Chaos is encouraged, and should be the normal mode of life. Any attempt at local, temporary order should be ...


16

Democracy can be lots of things, depending of what you are interesting in: A way of legitimating the government. One of the most basic problem of politics is why the people should obey their rulers. If it is by force alone, then any actor that amasses some military power may try to create a new government and cause a war in doing so. And at the same time ...


16

If you really want to know the details, the best resource I know of for the layman is the Cannonical Arab Tyrant's Manual. It was started as a hashtag during the beginning of the Arab Spring by online activist Iyad al-Baghdadi, and was built collaboratively by contributors. I'll quote some of the highlights below (skipping similar entries) Blame it on a ...


15

Religion and the idea of God play a large role in American politics, but their influence is limited by the First Amendment. The relevant text from the First Amendment is as follows: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof There are two clauses here: the Establishment Clause and the Free ...


15

Disclaimer: I'm not a political scientist or even that well versed in terminology. I'm also not from the USA. As far as I understand the definition of oligarchy, it requires the small group of people and people they select to be the only people able to wield power, not that only a small group of people holds power at a single point in time. That means that ...


14

Yes, and in fact France did it. Basically, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was elected President of France, during the Second Republic. When he was term-limited out of office, he "self-couped" and then held a plebescite. There was at the time and remain questions of the free and fair nature of the plebescite, but he won by a wide margin, and the Second Empire was ...


14

Russia Today is a news network funded directly by the Russian government. You don't get anything with a stronger pro-Kremlin bias than them.


14

How did gerrymandering evolve from a practice applied by one senator in Massachusetts to something commonly applied across the US? Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts is normally considered the inspiration for the term. He was not a Senator but a governor. And he was not the source of the practice (even in Massachusetts in 1812, he only agreed with ...


14

One example I immediately came up with: the Sejm of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth elected the King of Poland (and the Grand Duke of Lithuania), where any European noble is a potential candidate. The Sejm represented the Polish nobility, which I saw sources attributing that around 8% over 10% (around 13-15%) of all Poles and Lithuanians were a member of. ...


14

The other answers point to more distant historical events, but it's probably more germane to highlight the most recent change that has significantly increased the polarisation of the US Supreme court. In 2017 the Republican party removed the filibuster rules from Senate procedures around the approval of supreme court justices. This is the so-called Nuclear ...


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