Politics Exploratory Essay By Zach Kaplan

Being a leader of something, representing a group or country, this is a role that is very important and valuable. Winwood high school had the idea to educate students attending the school in a democratic process and by America's way of government. Students are competing to be elected for school president. Paul Warren, a popular student with small intelligence. Tracy Flick, one of the hardest working students with a large amount of political knowledge, and Tammy Warren, a student running just for the experience. This Occurred in the political novel Election by Tom Perrotta. By creating a high school election which demonstrated Democracy, the students chose who they wanted to represent their school. Tom Perrotta was addressing that democracy is a great form of government, and this information is important for people to know. From reading my book and learning its purpose it led me to my first question, what is a democracy?

From further research I was able to develop answers. A democracy consists of “A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections, the active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life, protection of the human rights of all citizens, [and] a rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens” (Diamond). The United States is a democracy because citizens help run the government and decide who they want to lead it. It is to our best ability to select the best person to do so. America has learned from history that other governments are untrustworthy so democracy is the type of government we selected. Because of my knowledge of the importance of citizens to form a democracy, I decided to research the amount of citizens who actually voted.

Because the election is different every year, meaning the people who are running for president change, then the amount of people who vote should vary. I raised a question, How many American citizens voted in this year's election? From learning information on this year’s election I found that the “Voter turnout this year dipped to nearly its lowest point in two decades” (Wallace). It dipped this low because “An estimated 57.9 percent of eligible voters voted in 2016” (Levine). These statistics caught me by surprise, I thought almost all people who were eligible to vote would to keep someone they disliked from becoming president. I have learned that when there is an election like this, with two disliked people running for president, then many people will not have on interest to vote. I also wanted to find who vote. When a survey is conducted there are four categories, those who vote in basically every election (regular voters), those who are registered but do not always vote (intermittent), those who are registered but rarely vote (registered but rare voters), and those who do not vote at all. According to Pew Research Center, Regular voters make up 35% of the population, intermittent voters are 20%, and registered but rare voters are about 23%. From learning these statistics my thinking has changed and now I know the reason behind the amount of people who vote during elections. There is not only normal citizens participating in the election though, there is the Electoral College. Instead of just the citizens popular vote, there is the Electoral College where the election of the president is voted in congress.

Then a question raised to mind, whose votes matter more, the citizens vote or the Electoral College vote? The answer is the Electoral College vote. This year “a presidential candidate has won the White House while losing the popular vote” (Desilver). Donald Trump was actually elected even though he was not the citizens popular vote. This is one of five times in history. I had never known this, the Electoral College is made up of far less voters, 538 electors to be exact, but their votes matter more. Democracy involves an election that is supposed to be fair. Previously I thought that citizens have the biggest role in election the president, but the government has the lack of trust in citizens, so they have well educated people have the bigger role in electing the nation government. Although this may be true, I believe the people who make up the majority of America should have more power than they do.

My thinking has really changed on politics throughout this small time of researching my social issue. I went from believing that the citizens are what strongly form a democracy, and that we actively participate in doing so. To now knowing that citizens do not participate as much as I thought, and when they do, not all the power is with the citizens in forming a government. I had the smallest amount of political knowledge before researching about politics, but now I feel that I am capable of forming good arguments about this topic.

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