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date: 22 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The “folk” democratic tradition in the United States sees citizens not only as the unique source of political authorization but also as competent to pursue and protect their interests at the ballot box. Democracy’s commitment to equality requires that each person’s interests and views are entitled to equal consideration. I argue that equal concern for interests has some priority over equal respect for opinions and that plausible institutional realizations of deliberative democracy must reflect this priority. This does not mean that peoples’ opinions or votes can be ignored but that deliberation must aim to educate or “refine and enlarge” public opinion.

Keywords: citizen interests, equality, equal consideration, equal respect, public opinion

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