Democratic theory presupposes

POSC 10 Term Paper Assignment
Democratic theory presupposes at least some link between the decisions made by elected officials and the
policy preferences of their constituents. How strong that relationship should be, however, depends in part
on the ability of those constituents to make informed political judgments and decisions.
In a 7-9 page essay, discuss how strong you think that link should be. First, describe to what extent
Bartels argues that this link actually exists between members of Congress and the public, at least on
matters of income inequality. Then, draw upon the selections from Berelson et al., Popkin, and Bartels to
discuss whether the average citizen is sufficiently interested, knowledgeable, and engaged to make
informed political judgments and decisions. Given your description of the political capacities of the
average citizen, is the level of responsiveness detailed by Bartels appropriate? To what extent should
members of Congress adopt representation tactics more in line with the delegate or trustee model of
representation than those they currently employ?
In writing, your paper should have a clear thesis that states toward which model of representation
members of Congress should shift. You may also draw on ideas and concepts from class lectures and
readings, but you should not do outside research for this paper.
You must submit two copies of this paper. The first must be submitted electronically as a Word
document through SafeAssign. The second, a hard copy, must be submitted to your TA. Both must be
submitted by the beginning of class on March 4th. Grades will be based on the knowledge of course
materials, the originality and thoughtfulness of the arguments, and writing mechanics (e.g., spelling,
grammar, organization, clarity, and proper citations where necessary). Papers should be double spaced
with 1 inch margins and use size 12 Times New Roman font. Papers submitted via email will not be