I hope this helps: "A constitution [or politeia] may be defined as ‘the organization of a city [or polis] in respect of its offices generally, but especially in respect of that particular office which is sovereign in all issues. example, the people [demos] is sovereign. Democracy is directed to the interest of the poor [only, not to the interests of everyone--WR]." (Aristotle 1995, 97-101) "Democracy [is] not majority rule: democracy [is] diffusion of power, representation of interests, recognition of minorities." "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard." Democracy is "the substitution of election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few." "Democracy is the form of state within which the distribution of power in the state is determined exclusively by the social factors of power, but is not shifted in favor of any one class through the application of material means of coercion. "Democracy is a competitive political system in which competing leaders and organizations define the alternatives of public policy in such a way that the public can participate in the decision-making process. A democratic regime is one ". . . in which the peaceful rivalry for the exercise of power exists constitutionally." (italics in original) The phrase "exercise of power" implies temporary control. A definition of the ideal: "Government by the people, where liberty, equality and fraternity are secured to the greatest possible degree and in which human capacities are developed to the utmost, by means including free and full discussion of common problems and interests." And of the practice: "Rule by the people where ‘the people’ includes all adult citizens not excluded by some generally agreed upon and reasonable disqualifying factor . . . . ‘Rule’ means that public policies are determined either directly by vote of the electorate or indirectly by officials freely elected at reasonably frequent intervals and by a process in which each voter who chooses to vote counts equally . . . and in which a plurality is determinative." "The competitive electoral context, with several political parties organizing the alternatives that face the voters, is the identifying property of the contemporary democratic process . . . . [D]emocratic systems [are] . . . characterized by competitive elections in which most citizens are eligible to participate." "[D]emocracy is a form of institutionalization of continual conflicts . . . [and] of uncertainty, of subjecting all interests to uncertainty . . . ." A ‘democratic regime’ is "first and foremost a set of procedural rules for arriving at collective decisions in a way which accommodates and facilitates the fullest possible participation of interested parties." "Democracy is a system in which parties lose elections. There are parties: divisions of interest, values and opinions. There is competition, organized by rules. And there are periodic winners and losers." "Modern political democracy is a system of governance in which rulers are held accountable for their actions in the public realm by citizens, acting indirectly through the competition and cooperation of their elected representatives." "According to civic republicanism, the state acts legitimately only if it furthers the ‘common good’ of the political community. . . . [C]ivic republicanism embraces an ongoing deliberative process, inclusive of all cultures, values, needs, and interests, to arrive at the public good. Civic republicans see the development of a conception of the common good as a fundamental purpose of democracy--a purpose necessary for individual self-identity and self-fulfillment. Civic republicanism also posits that no individual acting in her political capacity should be subservient to other political actors. Hence, the theory does not equate the public good that legitimates government action with majority rule. Social consensus about what is best for the community as a community, not as the aggregation of individuals’ private interests, is the defining feature of the common good." "Democracy is a political system in which different groups are legally entitled to compete for power and in which institutional power holders are elected by the people and are responsible to the people."
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