What is a Representative Democracy?
A representative democracy is much like a democracy; however, it allows citizens who are elected to represent the other citizens in government processes. Those representing are not usually involved in the processes directly related to legislation and lawmaking. Representative democracies have become quite popular and are often seen in regions that are home to a high number of citizens. There is a downside to this type of democracy — the fear that the representatives will not properly represent the citizens they serve.
A representative democracy and direct democracy are much alike. Both have people voted in to serve as representatives. However, in a direct democracy, the citizens themselves draft bills and push them toward being a voting matter. In a representative democracy, though, the representatives take care of these processes for the citizens. The representatives usually have the education and training they need to be far more effective than regular citizens.
It should be noted that not all representatives have the training that they are expected to have. Instead, representatives are often chosen based on their beliefs and opinions. When this happens, the democracy tends to become one-sided. In fact, the representatives themselves often come together to make sure their own needs are met before those of the citizens that they are supposed to be representing.
There are several conditions that must be met in order for a representative democracy to work effectively. For starters, the people who are elected to be representatives must win their representation status through a genuine competition. When people feel that elections are rigged, they lose all confidence in their governments. Secondly, there must be open and free communication that takes place between the representatives, the citizens, and the press. And lastly, citizens must feel that their votes matter; they need to understand that the representatives they vote in will make a difference.
Representative Democracy at Work
In comparison to direct democracies, representatives democracies are much more popular. There are many countries all over the world that operate according to a representative democracy, including the United States, Great Britain, and India. In fact, the United States is one of the oldest examples of representative democracy, and it includes a large central government that has smaller forms of state governments operating within itself. The state and local governments that are created operate in various ways, but they must all abide by federal laws and regulations.