How democratic principles influence how the institutions of government make public policy

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I‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‌‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‍‌‍‍n a republic, we expect that democratic principles influence how the institutions of government make public policy. Two key principles for evaluating how democratic a government is, in practice, are: a) responsiveness: to what extent the policy process is responsive to citizen inputs, and b) public-mindedness: to what extent the policies enacted advance the public’s interests. Considering the different ways that Congress, the presidency, and federal bureaucracies could practice these democratic principles, write an essay that evaluates how well each one actually does, giving special attention to the governing functions of political parties within and across these institutions. In short, how democratic is the US government? Write a 4-paragraph essay that answers this question (how democratic is the US government?), drawing on the relevant material from chapters 7, 12, 8, and 9 of Barbour & Wright’s textbook. Your answer must satisfy the specific instructions for each chapter detailed below: • Chapter 7: How democratic is the US Congress? When Congress makes policy (enacts laws on such issues as health care, voting rights, or taxes), do its decisions reflect national interests? Is Congress designed and does it work in a manner that is appropriately responsive to the citizenry? How so, or how not? Include at least FOUR of the following key terms/concepts in your explanation: policy representation, party polarization, bicameralism, gerrymandering, descriptive representation, majority party, fragmentation, filibuster, and omnibus legislation. • Chapter 12: Explain ONE way that the presence of political parties in Congress and the executive branch makes policy decisions in those governing institutions more responsive to citizens or helps those governing institutions better coordinate policy to serve national interests. And explain ONE way that the presence of political parties obstructs policy coordination across the legislative and executive branches or makes policy decisions in those governing institutions less responsive to citizens. On balance, do the contemporary political parties do more to enhance or to inhibit ‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‌‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‍‌‍‍the responsiveness and public-mindedness of the US government? Include at least FOUR of the following key terms/concepts in your explanation: political gridlock, partisan sorting, party platform, negative partisanship, the two-party system, and party discipline. • Chapter 8: How democratic is the American presidency? Can modern presidents govern “imperially”? To what extent are congressional and public support important to a modern president’s exercise of power? Include at least FOUR of the following key terms/concepts in your explanation: impeachment, commander-in-chief, presidential veto, executive orders, pardoning power, expectations gap, power to persuade, and divided government. • Chapter 9: ?How does the contemporary American approach to staffing the executive branch with both presidential appointees and career civil service personnel try to produce both democratic accountability and neutral competence in federal bureaucracies? Is this approach effective or ineffective in making the bureaucracy responsive and public-minded? When federal bureaucracies make public policy (administrative rules and regulations), explain ONE way their decisions can be directly influenced by citizens’ input, and explain TWO ways their decisions can be indirectly influenced by the citizenry, through the influence of elected officials. (Use ONE influence of Congress and ONE influence of the president, other than appointments, for the two ways elected officials can influence the bureaucracy). In addition to the two italicized terms above (democratic accountability and neutral competence), include at least TWO of the following key terms/concepts in your explanation: bureaucratic discretion, the Federal Register, congressional oversight, the Office of Management and Budget, agency capture, and sunshine laws. Remember to organize your module summary around a central thesis statement. For this essay, your thesis statement must be a clear answer to the question: How democratic is the US government? State the thesis at the beginning of your paper, not just the end, and be sure to clearly connect your thesis to your responses to the prompt‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‌‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‍‌‍‍s for each chapter.

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