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Democratic Overload

AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

Democratic Overload is the theory that states there is simply too much democracy in the United States, the voting population is essentially overloaded and cannot switch off from the politics of the day. There is in a sense almost too much democracy, coming from the number of offices available to be elected to, and the presence of adverts and campaigns.

The United States has an almost unique political system in the sheer number of elected offices that exist within it. These offices encompass all levels government and administration. At the very top of the elected officials pile is the federal government, in which there are 537 elected posts, made up of all members of Congress, the President and Vice President. Below this level there is the State Governments of which there are 50, which will all have legislatures, governorships, and other state level officials such as Attorney General. Continuing below state level is the entire local government network for the US. This network of elected officials will include town governments, county governments, municipal area government, school and special districts.

Once all of these are totalled up the final numbers of publically elected posts totals just over ½ million, with a total of 87,500 elective bodies in existence. However, there are even more elected posts in the US as both the Democrats and Republicans will often hold elections for many of their posts too. This will take the number of posts to well over the million mark which is rather impressive, considering the UK has less than 20,000 elected posts.

In addition to the huge numbers of elected posts, Democratic overload is further increased by the shear number of political adverts that exist and the length of campaigns for major offices. All of this results in a populace that are tired of the electoral process, as there never seems to be an end to the adverts, campaigns and officials all jockeying for votes. Politics in the US therefore seeps into everyone’s life, at just about every level.

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