The Presidency and Democracy Essay

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The Presidency and Democracy

To evaluate the position of the president, the concept of democracy must first be considered. Most Americans simply assume that the United States is a democracy.
However, before such an assumption is made it is wise to understand the common definition of the word democracy. The Random House College Dictionary defines democracy as, “Government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.” Does the United States fit this definition? Moreover, how does the role of the president affect the United States’ claim to democracy? From a broad perspective the United
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Presidential candidates are elected because of issues, so if they abandon these issues they were elected under false pretenses. There are two very clear examples of this from modern elections. The first example is from the presidential election of 1964, in which the incumbent was Lydon B. Johnson. In his campaign
Johnson promised American voters “that American boys would not fight Asian boys in
Vietnam.” (Hargrove 116) However, once elected Johnson escalated the war with
Vietnam even though public sentiment was against such action (Hargrove 123). The second example of unfulfilled campaign promises occurred in a more recent presidential campaign, the 1992 presidential campaign of Bill Clinton. One of Clinton’s primary issues in this election was economic relief for the struggling middle class.
Clinton proposed this relief come from a cut on the income tax rates on the middle class
(Woodward 17). Another important issue during Clinton’s campaign was increasing investments, like education and infrastructure. Once elected this issue became an after thought for the Clinton administration (Reich 65). It is clear that such action undermines the control of the citizens and thus the very premise of democracy. Since the definition of democracy states that supreme power is vested in the people, then it is a violation of democracy when the president knowingly goes against the wishes of the American public. The president can not be

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