The tension between local and national politics explained in the previous ar is basically a struggle in between interpretations the representation. Representation is a complicated concept. It have the right to mean paying mindful attention come the involves of constituents, understanding that representatives have to act together they watch fit based on what lock feel best for the constituency, or relying top top the certain ethnic, racial, or sex diversity the those in office. In this section, we will discover three various models that representation and also the ide of descriptive representation. We will certainly look in ~ the way members of conference navigate the difficult terrain of representation as lock serve, and also all the countless predictable and also unpredictable results of the decisions they make.
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TYPES of REPRESENTATION: LOOKING out FOR CONSTITUENTS
By an interpretation and title, senators and also House members are representatives. This means they space intended to be drawn from regional populations about the nation so they can speak for and also make decisions because that those local populations, your constituents, while offer in their particular legislative houses. The is, representation describes an elected leader’s looking the end for his or she constituents while carrying out the duties of the office.<1>
Theoretically, the process of constituents voting regularly and reaching the end to your representatives helps this congresspersons better represent them. That is taken into consideration a given by part in representative democracies that representatives will seldom overlook the wishes of constituents, especially on salient concerns that directly influence the ar or state. In reality, the task of representing in conference is regularly quite complicated, and also elected leaders perform not always know whereby their constituents stand. Nor execute constituents always agree top top everything. Navigating their sometimes inconsistent demands and also balancing them with the requirements of the party, powerful interest groups, ideological concerns, the legislature body, your own personal beliefs, and the country as a totality can be a complicated and frustrating procedure for representatives.
Traditionally, representatives have seen their role as that of a delegate, a trustee, or who attempting come balance the two. A representative that sees him- or herself together a delegate believes the or she is empowered just to spreading the desire of constituents. Delegates need to employ some method to determine the see of their constituents and then poll accordingly. They space not permitted the liberty of employing their very own reason and also judgment while acting as representatives in Congress. This is the delegate design of representation.
In contrast, a representative who understands their role to be the of a trustee believes that or she is entrusted through the constituents with the power to use good judgment to do decisions ~ above the constituents’ behalf. In the words of the eighteenth-century British theorist Edmund Burke, that championed the trustee version of representation, “Parliament is no a conference of ambassadors native different and hostile understand . . .
Understandably, few if any representatives adhere strictly come one design or the other. Instead, most uncover themselves attempting come balance the important principles installed in each. Politics scientists speak to this the politico model of representation. In it, members of conference act as either trustee or delegate based on rational political calculations about who is best served, the constituency or the nation.
For example, every representative, nevertheless of party or conservative versus liberal leanings, should remain firm in assistance of some ideologies and also resistant come others. Top top the politics right, an concern that requirements support could be gun rights; ~ above the left, it could be a woman’s right to an abortion. For votes concerned such issues, representatives will likely pursue a delegate approach. For various other issues, especially complicated questions the general public at big has small patience for, such as subtle financial reforms, to represent will tend to follow a trustee approach. This is not to say their decisions ~ above these worries run contradictory to publicly opinion. Rather, it merely method they space not acutely aware of or can not adequately measure the degree to which your constituents support or refuse the proposals in ~ hand. The could also mean that the problem is not salient to their constituents. Congress functions on numerous different issues each year, and constituents are likely not aware of the particulars of many of them.
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DESCRIPTIVE representation IN CONGRESS
In some cases, representation have the right to seem to have very tiny to do with the substantive worries representatives in Congress often tend to debate. Instead, suitable representation for some is rooted in the racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, gender, and also sexual identity of the representatives themselves. This form of representation is called descriptive representation.