Assess the advantages & disadvantages of direct democracy in the USA. (30 marks)

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  • adv. & disadv. of direct democracy
    • people get a say
      • highly democratic
      • in line with the idea of a govt. of the people, by the people for the people
      • educates the electorate
    • wider political participation
      • helps to reduce the participation crisis
      • reduces apathy & hapathy
      • results have a greater mandate so are more legitimate
      • BUT only about 30% turnout
    • check & balance on unpopular decisions
      • in line with constitution's idea of preventing tyrannical representatives
      • removes pressure on representatives of making hard decisions
    • wealthier more powerful groups have an adv.
      • interests of the poor less likely to be represented
      • could increase apathy by portraying idea political decisions can be 'bought'
      • wealthier sides may be justified in spending more because they have a bigger mandate due to supporting give them donations
    • electorate may make a bad decision
      • could lead to tyranny of the majority with possible discriminatory effects on minorities
      • decisions may have a negative effect I the future
      • many educational resources available that mean electorate can make a better decision
    • questions can be made biased or slanted
      • reduce the legitimacy of the outcome so may have smaller mandate
      • increases idea of tyrannical representatives in dictatorship
      • scrutiny of media should help prevent biased to slanted questions


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