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Trent J. MacDonald
Much has been said about the vices and virtues of democracy. Democracy, said Benjamin Franklin, is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. Lord Acton warned that democracy is susceptible to a ‘tyranny of the majority’. Winston Churchill told us that democracy is actually the worst form of government . . . except for every other form that has been tried. Not without irony, he also said that the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. H. L. Mencken described democracy as the theory that people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard. These quotes speak to the majoritarian dimension of democracy and the reality that even in the best-of-functioning systems 49 per cent of the people can remain unhappy. To be sure, in most modern democracies even a less-than-majority popular vote can carry an election, due to the peculiarities of electoral systems.5 Democracy, in other words, is a system to ensure that some people get what they want; it is not a system to allow everyone to do so.
Chapter 1 relates the debate on EU citizenship to the puzzle of a European political union, and demonstrates how EU citizenship is caught in the ‘double loop’ of contradictions and constraints: the contradiction between the political language of citizenship and the economic logic of free movement on the one hand; and the constraint that arises from the rivalling legitimatory demands of international and supranational forms of political cooperation on the other. For the future of EU citizenship, the extent to which the EU succeeds in appropriately channelling pan-European conflicts of wealth disparities and redistribution will prove to be decisive. With regard to EU citizenship, the choice is between a weak, integrated status or a strong(er), differentiated status. While the former tends to undermine substantial equality, the latter tends to undermine formal equality.
Sandra Seubert and Oliver Eberl
Edited by Sandra Seubert, Oliver Eberl and Frans van Waarden
Alix Meyer and Eric Phélippeau
What are the constraints on the political communication of party organizations? And just how much are candidates and parties spending on communication and propaganda? This chapter is an attempt to begin answering these questions. It starts by noting the scarcity of reliable and detailed comparative data on this topic before reviewing the different modes of partisan propaganda and the factors that can explain how parties and candidates can be incentivized to use more modes than others depending on the context. We observe that the behavior of parties and candidates is indeed shaped by the structure of the political system, cultural norms or the dynamics of the party system wherein they operate. To a certain extent, they are also dependent on access to certain technology. Finally, what is the impact of statutory and regulatory constraints on political communication? How does campaign finance regulation more broadly influence the contours of the electoral competition? These are some of the questions that this chapter proposes to address in a final section and conclusion.