Important matters of public policy are disused by legislators. Therefore, the legislature is a very important arm to any government. There are three different ways through which a legislature can exercise its mandate. Firstly, a legislator can take the role of a trustee. In this regard, legislators vote and act according to what they believe is right.
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Secondly, a legislator can take the role of an instructed delegate. In this scenario, legislators act according to what the electorates demand. Thirdly, legislators can use the politico approach to make decisions. This approach combines basic elements of the trustee and instructed delegate approaches.
The politico approach, therefore, ensures that legislators and the electorate take part in policy making. For that reason, legislators should use the politico approach in decision making. This essay explains why legislators should apply the politico approach in policy making.
Understanding legislature’s decision making process enables people to acquire basic knowledge in political activities and institutions. The trustee and instructed delegate theories of representation offer divergent ways through which elected leaders make decisions. The trustee theory encourages legislators to use their own judgment to come up with major decisions.
On the other hand, instructed delegate theory mandates legislators to listen to the electorate before making major decisions. The politico theory, therefore, tries to come up with a method that can combine the two theories.
For that reason, important features of the trustee and instructed delegate theories are shared in the politico theory. When politico approach is in practice, legislators must consult the electorate. At the same time, legislators are allowed to use their own judgments in some cases.
Proponents of the politico approach believe that it is rare to find a scenario in which representatives can solely act as trustees or instructed delegates. It is, therefore, vey difficult for a legislator to solely depend on the electorate’s inputs. Similarly, it is almost impossible for a legislator to solely base his decisions on personal judgment.
The politico approach, thus, has the characteristics of both the instructed delegate and trustee approaches. Furthermore, the approach acknowledges that representatives receive inputs from different quarters. Some of these quarters include interest groups, party leaders and the electorate. However, these inputs are given different weights.
For that reason, there must be a balance between these inputs and a representative’s opinion and judgment. For instance, representatives are more likely to use their own judgments on opinions that attract low public interests than those that attract high public interest. This approach, hence, helps representatives in indentifying pressing issues.
It is very difficult to do so when a legislator takes the role of a trustee. Moreover, the politico approach regulates the role of interest groups. An instructed delegate approach cannot regulate the views of interest groups as representatives have to listen to all voices within their area of jurisdiction.
Consequently, wealthy and well connected interest groups can force them to make decisions that are unpopular and detrimental to the welfare of the electorate.
All members of the legislator desire to be elected in the next elections. For that reason, they cannot ignore the views of the electorate. However, these members must also use personal judgments to make some decisions. Therefore, to address issues facing an electorate, legislators must combine the trustee and instructed delegate approaches. This combination constitutes the politico approach.