The war powers of Congress. The Congress is granted the ability to declare war, raise armies and navies, and organizing the armed forces of the United States, among other powers. These powers are granted by the U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 8, clauses 1 & 11-16. This power is granted to Congress as a way of checking the power of the President, as commander-in-chief. This was a clear break from the war-making power of European monarchs, who predominantly would have been able to declare war and organize the armed forces however they so choose. By giving this power to Congress, the constitution ensures that decisions of war will be debated and contested.

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The relevance of representation. Representative democracy is fundamental to the political system in the United States today. This is intended to avoid many of the downfalls that can be associated with overuse of direct democracy. If citizens vote for politicians who they believe represent their own values, this means that the political system can function without being too demanding on the general population. When direct democracy, such as the use of referendums, is implemented too frequently, it can result in political apathy and a lack of engagement, making results less representative than the decisions of the elected officials.

The power of incumbency. Being an incumbent candidate is highly beneficial in elections—it gives the candidate better exposure, the power to perform constituent services during a campaign and franking privileges. This can be reduced by running primary opponents against incumbent candidates, as this gives the opponent a higher chance of changing the seat. Further regulations could also be established to prevent the use of public funds and civil servants in re-election campaigns, or to limit terms in order to create higher turnover in Congress and reduce the power of incumbency.

  • “The U.S. Constitution: Article 1.” Cornell Law. Retrieved December 5, 2017, from