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Erik Moberg ã:
A Theory of Democratic Politics
 
 

24 - PRESIDENTIAL CONSTITUTIONS WITH MAJORITARIAN ELECTIONS: THE MAIN ACTORS AND THE VOTERS

The argument here follows the logic presented in part 9. Imagine a person running for the presidency, or for a seat in the legislature. In both cases everybody knows that the person, after the election, and however great the electoral success, will not, without anything further, be in a position to implement his or her delivered campaign proposals, since she also has to deal with the heterogeneous legislature. Exactly for that reason it would not be particularly clever, and perhaps even somewhat ridiculous, to let detailed proposals dominate the campaign. It seems more expedient for the candidate to emphasize his or her own personal very general political inclinations, and personal qualities, thereby indicating a capacity for prudent action in various future situations which, at the moment of the election, are impossible to foresee. The candidate's capacity for credible commitment towards the voters is very limited indeed. The relation between voters and politicians will thus be more of delegation than of instruction.

Furthermore, in this system, with no clear opposition, and without elaborated party programs, it is difficult, or impossible, for the politicians to distinguish between their own voters and the other ones. All citizens are potential supporters and it is therefore important to avoid repelling any voters. All policies which are distinctly harmful for specific groups of voters must be avoided. For this reason a politician may be ill advised to propose the canceling of favors which already happen to exist.