In our last op-ed, we argued that voting can put powerful bounds on politicians behavior. But under what circumstances does that happen? It seems to me it’s when there’s a multitude of conversations – not just between voters and politicians, but between and within experts, institutions and media as well.
Public consultation is an essential component of a well-functioning democracy. Governments at all levels (municipal, state, federal, etc.) should consult with residents and meaningful engagement can enhance citizen’s ability to affect public policy development and decision-making in their communities.
‘Elections do not produce responsive government,’ argues the cover of Democracy for Realists by Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels. The authors argue that the notion that elections compel elected politicians to follow the will of the people – or at least respect the policy preferences of the majority of voters – is a legend.