Arguably, many people in the world believe American government, to be democratic. In fact, they have various stable means to exercise popular control over their institutions and lawmakers. This is actually a basic paradox of American government because these powers are in most cases fragmented through the federalist system. Undeniably, these institutions are repeatedly unresponsive to the majority of public demands. The public always depend on this institutions and lawmakers in various ways; hence, it influences voter participation, as well as citizen participation in nation building.
In United States, federal system is a philosophical and political concept that elaborates on how power is given to the governments. As a matter of fact, the citizen has powers to form a government through democratic voting systems; but federal governments has lead to development of controversial issues. According to many Americans, central government has essential powers to run diverse and large nation, but the federal system shares power with central government. Therefore, it makes it unclear on how much power as been given to central government (Comer & Gruhl, 2009 pp68-72).
The voter turnout in the recent past has tremendously reduced in America. Many people believe that the powers they give to the central government are not fully exercised. On issues, the national government can only do is those relating to foreign policy, such as the declaration of war. The state government is more focused on issues affecting citizens (Miller, 2002 pp70-71). Therefore, the confusion over designation of issues to state and national government reduces confidence of the citizen.
The confusions within the federal system of government affect various departments, which include lawmakers and other institutions. The institutions affected will fail to fulfill the expectations and the mandate given to them by the citizens. Hence, in the long-run citizens will feel they have minimal impact on direct democracy and execution of powers. Finally, the reaction of citizens is to reduce their participation in politics and voting process (Miller, 2002 p 80).
According to normative theorists and progressive reformers, when institutions and lawmakers allow the citizen to be more direct in influencing government decisions, citizen will participate more in nation building and voting. However, in contemporary society, this institution has been influenced by politics rendering them unresponsive to the demands of the citizens. Furthermore, the unresponsiveness of lawmakers and institutions has enabled political parties and politicians to undertake their policies objectively at the expense of citizens. Hence, citizens and voters will reduce their participation (Come & Gruhl, 2009 pp38-43).
Conversably, political interest is one of the key concerns that affect the participation of citizens. The interest of voters and citizens is influenced by the way the previous regimes in both state and federal government have delivered their services. In the recent past, political interest has declined due to poor service delivery, and direct issues that should be controlled by the government. Hence, due to unresponsiveness of federal and state government, institutions, as well as lawmakers towards citizen demands reduced political interest, leading to poor participation of voters and citizens (Miller, 2002 p85).
Federal system of government is efficient has it shares the power to local and central government. But the variation of power sharing deals may hinder the unity of citizens on issues pertaining the entire nation. In fact, most powers are dominant at the center of the hierarchical system. In addition, federal system may create a disconnection between the states and the center rendering lawmakers and institutions unresponsive to demands. In this case, the issues and demands of citizens are taken to the periphery. Citizens and voters believe that the trends of unresponsive governance come from lawmakers and politicians; hence, if the trend continues they will also decline in voting participation. In order to influence voters and citizens positively, the federal system should work towards voters and citizen satisfaction. Americans also should use their powers in controlling institutions and lawmakers through voting.
Comer, J & Gruhl, J. (2009). Understanding American Government. New York: Springer.
Miller, G. (2002). Political Culture and Voting Systems in United States. London: Wiley.