American Politics Memo Expository Essays

Subject: Political
Type: Expository Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 679
Topics: Public Policy, Economic Inequality, Government

The Racial Contract

This article is a focus on the role of white supremacy on American politics. It sheds light into important information that scholars have ignored assuming that white supremacy has no significant effect on the way politics have shaped over the years. These are valid claims that seem to lack significant attention in mainstream political philosophy. There is further information that looks at the similarities and differences between racial contract and social contract. It is therefore from in-depth quests about racial contract that the author is able to deduce that the racial contract covers the moral, epistemological and political spectrums. Into the bargain, delving into racial contract norms prompts examination from space and individual perspectives. Going deeper into space norms triggers thinking in two dimensions, which are moral and epistemological. The epistemological dimension implies that in some spaces, it is impossible to achieve real knowledge. From a moral perspective, spaces are usually invested with moral qualities. Conversely, racial contracts revolving around the individual concentrates on initiating personhood and subpersonhood. 

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Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens

In studying American politics, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the sovereignty of the people. The authors in this case have chosen an approach of exploring four theoretical traditions, which are majoritarian electoral democracy, economic-elite domination, majoritarian pluralism and biased pluralism. However, majoritarian pluralism and biased pluralism are specific to interest groups. Each of the four theoretical traditions strives to explicate the actors that have influence on the people and public policy. First, majoritarian electoral democracy brings up an argument that public policy is eminently dependent on the will of the average citizens via democratic elections. Second, economic-elite domination is a theory that attributes policy making in the United States to wealthy individuals or those who have access to significant economic resources. Third, majoritarian pluralism asserts that the struggles of different interest groups including political parties trickle down to formation of policies that represent the entire populace. Lastly, biased pluralism indicates that the plights of interest groups are not representative of the citizenry and therefore the policies that emerge only favor those interest groups. 

Unanswered Question in “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens”

The article is explicit in indicating how economic elites, average citizens and interest groups influence policy making. However, the information in the article still leaves a huge gap as there are influencers that do not particularly fit in the confines of average citizens, elites and interest groups. An example is the fact that the information does not consider the government as a sole entity that is capable of influencing policy (Gilens, 2012). While it is evident that parts of the government fit in the aforementioned categories, the government as a whole is a significant influence on policy making. Moreover, it is the government that offers the platform for average citizens, elites and interest groups to make their claims. Being the centre of policy making, it is inappropriate to put the government in the sidelines. While the government and its official may exhibit limited direct influence in some quarters, they definitely shape the policy environment (Hillman, Tandberg & Sponsler, 2015; Franklin, 2016). Researchers therefore need to consider the government solely. This may incorporate establishing theories that seek to show the role of government in policy making and isolate it from elites within the government. It means looking at institutions within the government especially those that do not involve people in elective position. Evidence that would falsify this hypothesis would be the impossibility to distinguish government from elites, average citizens and interest groups. 

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  1. Franklin, J. S. (2016). A history of professional economists and policymaking in the United States: Irrelevant genius (No. 46). London: Routledge.
  2. Gilens, M. (2012). Affluence and influence: Economic inequality and political power in America. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  3. Hillman, N. W., Tandberg, D. A. & Sponsler, B. A., (2015). Public Policy and Higher Education: Strategies for Framing a Research Agenda: ASHE Higher Education Report, Volume 41, Number 2. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
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