A Tale of Two Democracies
33 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2002
Date Written: 2002
The generally heated scholarly and political debates over Bush versus Gore, the election, and Bush v. Gore, the case, can be seen to relate to two competing visions of democratic theory and the role of the vote therein. Minimalists such as Richard Posner have low expectations for the role of individual voter participation; such theorists view the 2000 presidential election as a statistical tie that had to be broken, one way or another, and the U.S Supreme Court's role in breaking it as a perfectly acceptable, pragmatic act. Participatory democrats such as Cass Sunstein and Lani Guinier, in contrast, see individual voting as the constitutive act of democracy, and consider Bush v. Gore to be a violation of that process. In this Introduction to an edited volume, the authors trace out these competing theories and their implications for the politics of and prospects for voting reform in the United States.
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