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Tutor profile: Nathen C.

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Nathen C.
Recent graduate with experience as a teaching assistant
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Questions

Subject: US Government and Politics

TutorMe
Question:

How close does U.S. Republicanism approximate the majority will of a pure Democracy?

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Nathen C.
Answer:

The U.S. Republic does not account for national majorities at all. The House of Representatives was designed to be the most democratic branch of government. The House was the only chamber directly elected by the people when the Constitution was ratified. Moreover, the House members have smaller constituencies so they can be closer to those that elect them. Yet, even the most democratic chamber of the most democratic branch cannot be truly seen as beholden to a national majority will. What the House passes can best be described as the will of a majority of district level majorities. While this may sound like it is still beholden to a national majority, it is important to understand that the district level majorities represented by MCs do not always align with the national majority. This can most clearly be seen with the example of gun control. Overwhelmingly, the national majority supports stricter gun laws. However, such laws are rarely even considered, let alone passed. If the national majority wants stricter gun laws why does Congress not deliver? Each MC is beholden to their own majority in their district, districts that could have a wide variance in population. As a result, a minority of MCs in low population districts may have a strong incentive to go against a national majority if their district is against the national majority. Looking again at gun control, those low population districts cover the Midwest, where guns are seen as a way of life. The high populations that drive the national majority will are packed into dense districts, reducing the power their congressional vote. As a result, the House is most certainly not behold to a national majority will. If the most democratic chamber cannot approximate a majority will, then we can safely conclude the less democratic chamber and branches cannot either.

Subject: Political Science

TutorMe
Question:

What is the state?

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Nathen C.
Answer:

In a democracy, it may be explained that we are the state, as it is our choices that create the government. However, under closer examination we may see that it is not true. After all, there are things that the state can do that we cannot do directly, such as issue taxes or enforce laws. Thus we choose the state, but we are not it. Moreover, as not all governments are democracies, a definition ought to be broader to include the many types of governments that exist. So, we come to sociologist Max Weber, who said that a state is a community which successfully claims the monopoly on legitimate use of force within a given territory. This definition applies to all types of government by describing what they all have in common: the legitimate use of force. Only the state can arrest those who break laws, otherwise it is unlawful detainment. When laws are broken, the people must rely on the state to provide enforcement. Legitimate here should be viewed as lawful, but not always moral, depending on how a state employs its use of force.

Subject: Government

TutorMe
Question:

How can you explain the trend of omnibus bills in Congress?

Inactive
Nathen C.
Answer:

David Mayhew observed that Members of Congress (MCs) are single minded seekers of reelection. Through a simple thought experiment, we can come this conclusion on our own. For an MC to reach a respected Committee position or to influence legislative outcomes, they must remain in Congress and therefore, focus on reelection. As a result, it can be concluded that MCs will act in ways that they believe will get them reelected. This results in MCs putting the focus on their own constituents and not the nation at large. Thus, the legislative body tasked with crafting national based legislation is made up of legislators who need to please their own local populations. Omnibus bills manage to satisfy the need to craft national legislation while offering individual MCs local incentives to support the bill (such as aid/grants to their district) at the expense of "clean" bills which tackle a single policy dimension. The truth is, omnibus bills are becoming increasingly frequent because we, the voters, want them.

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