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Old 9th Nov 2018, 21:35
  #16459 (permalink)  
pattern_is_full
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Denver
Posts: 1,012
There is nothing about a Republic that excludes small-d democracy. Any government in which power and rule are truly a "thing belonging to the people" (res publica) is a Republic. As opposed to a thing belonging to a nobility or a monarch or other very limited ruling class.

The fact that our republic is up to its ears at this moment counting votes from individual Americans (democracy) demonstrates that perfectly. We are not a pure or direct democracy, wherein the individual voters decide all the issues themselves (a la Br*xit) - instead we democratically choose "deciders" - our representatives and Senators - by direct 50%+1 vote. There are some filtering mechanisms in the Presidential vote (state-by-state winner-take-all distribution of electoral college votes), but it takes a very close popular vote for the EC to actually choose someone other than the demos voted for.

It is true that the Federal judiciary, including the SCOTUS, was intentionally isolated as much as possible from politics and the demos, by way of making the appointments for life, and solely by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate. And up until recently, requiring a large majority of the Senate (60% to end debate and pass a candidate, not just 50%+1) which in theory meant a candidate acceptable to all parties. But politics (the affairs of the city-state - the polis)

Over its history, the Republic of the United States has become more democratic, by expanding the vote to those other than the property-owning (until 1819-56, depending on State) white (until 1870) male (until 1920) "aristocracy" who could vote in 1789.

Our Founding Fathers had probably all read their Plato (The Republic) and understood Plato's belief that the ideal Republic was governed by an elite - an Aristocracy of the best minds, including a philospher king. But was doomed to decay through stages of Timocracy (military rule), Oligarchy (rule by the rich), Democracy (rule by the people, leading to anarchy) and finally a Tyranny. Their "imperfect genius" was to come up with a structure of divided power - between States and the National govenment; between the legislature and the Executive and the Judiciary; between the people and their institutions - that would short-circuit the revolutions and collapses Plato predicted. A balance between intellect, arms, force, and democratic choice, that would prevent an ultimate Tyranny.
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