Instigator / Pro

The US does not operate as a democracy.


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

Winner & statistics
Better arguments
Better sources
Better legibility
Better conduct

After 3 votes and with 18 points ahead, the winner is...

Publication date
Last updated date
Number of rounds
Time for argument
One week
Max argument characters
Voting period
One week
Point system
Multiple criterions
Voting system
Contender / Con

No information

Round 1
This is my first instigated debate.  I am new to this, so please forgive me if I make mistakes in the process.

The statement was that the US does not operate as a democracy, which I believe.  First, let me define what operating as a democracy.

Operating as a democracy refers to a system of government in which power is derived from the people, either directly or through elected representatives, and in which the rule of law, equal rights, and civil liberties are protected. There are various forms of democracies, such as direct democracy, representative democracy, and constitutional democracy, but they all share some fundamental principles.
  1. Popular Sovereignty: In a democracy, the ultimate authority rests with the people, who have the power to choose their leaders and influence the decisions made by the government. This principle is often achieved through regular, free, and fair elections where citizens can express their preferences. (American Political Science Association. (n.d.). What is democracy?
  2. Political Equality: Every citizen in a democracy should have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process, regardless of their social or economic status. This includes the right to vote, run for office, and express their opinions on public matters. (International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. (n.d.). Defining democracy.
  3. Majority Rule and Minority Rights: Decisions in a democracy are generally made based on the preferences of the majority, but the rights of minorities are also protected. This balance ensures that the majority's power does not infringe upon the rights and liberties of minority groups. (National Endowment for Democracy. (n.d.). What is democracy?
  4. Separation of Powers: A functioning democracy should have a clear separation of powers among the branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial) to prevent the concentration of authority in one entity and to maintain a system of checks and balances. (Khan Academy. (n.d.). Separation of powers and checks and balances [Video].
  5. Rule of Law: In a democracy, everyone is subject to the law, including the government and its officials. The rule of law ensures that laws are fairly applied and enforced, protecting citizens from arbitrary actions by those in power. (World Justice Project. (n.d.). What is the rule of law?
  6. Protection of Civil Liberties and Human Rights: A democratic system must protect individual freedoms and human rights, such as freedom of speech, religion, and assembly, and ensure that all citizens are treated fairly and equally under the law. (United Nations. (n.d.). Universal Declaration of Human Rights. and Amnesty International. (n.d.). What are human rights? )
  7. Transparent and Accountable Governance: In a democracy, the government should be transparent in its decision-making and held accountable for its actions. This includes providing citizens with access to information about government activities and ensuring that corruption is addressed and minimized. (Transparency International. (n.d.). What is transparency?
I am claiming that operating as a democracy entails a system of government that derives its power from the people, guarantees equal rights and protections, and upholds the rule of law. Democratic principles include popular sovereignty, political equality, majority rule with minority rights,  Based on the aforementioned I am claiming that the US does not operate in that matter.  

I am going to focus on 4 areas, and tie them into the above, to demonstrate my case.  They are:

Campaign Financing,  Lobbying, Party Whips, and State Actions.

Campaign Financing:

The role of money in politics has long been recognized as a potential threat to the fundamental principles of democracy. As the cost of running a campaign has skyrocketed, candidates have become increasingly reliant on wealthy donors and special interest groups to fund their campaigns. This reliance creates a situation where politicians may prioritize the interests of their financial backers over those of the general electorate, leading to unequal representation and a distortion of the democratic process (Lessig, 2011).

The landmark Supreme Court cases such as Buckley v. Valeo (1976) and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) have significantly influenced campaign financing laws in the United States. In Buckley v. Valeo, the Court ruled that limits on campaign spending are a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech, thereby allowing candidates to spend unlimited amounts of their own money on their campaigns. Citizens United v. FEC went a step further, ruling that corporations and unions have the same First Amendment rights as individuals, paving the way for unlimited independent political spending by these entities.

PACs and Super PACs are organizations that raise and spend money to influence elections. While PACs are subject to contribution limits and can donate directly to candidates' campaigns, Super PACs can raise unlimited funds from individuals, corporations, and unions, but are not allowed to coordinate directly with candidates or contribute directly to their campaigns. The rise of Super PACs has led to the increased influence of wealthy individuals and special interest groups in the political process, further undermining the principle of equal representation in a democracy (Hasen, 2016).An additional issue with Super PACs is the limited disclosure requirements. This has led to an influx of "dark money" into the political system, raising measurable concerns about transparency and accountability in democratic decision-making (Vandewalker & Weiner, 2015).

Research has shown that money in politics can lead to policy outcomes that favor the wealthy and well-connected. Gilens and Page (2014) found that the preferences of average citizens have little influence on public policy, while the preferences of economic elites and interest groups are much more likely to be reflected in policy outcomes. This suggests that the role of money in politics is undermining the democratic principle of equal representation.

The influence of money in politics also contributes to the increasing polarization of the American political landscape. Donors often have more extreme policy preferences than the general electorate, and their financial support can incentivize politicians to adopt more ideologically-driven positions (La Raja & Schaffner, 2014). This polarization can hinder democratic compromise and result in legislative gridlock.  We have seen this first hand with gun reform.

Campaign finance reform, aimed at mitigating the influence of money in politics, has faced significant challenges in recent years. Efforts to establish public financing systems or to impose stricter regulations on campaign contributions have faced legal and political hurdles, partly due to the Supreme Court's rulings on the issue, which have emphasized the protection of free speech over the potential dangers of money in politics (Hasen, 2012). As a result, meaningful reform has been difficult to achieve, perpetuating the concerns about the role of money in the U.S. democratic process and its potential to undermine the core values of equal representation and political accountability.


 Now I concede that lobbying in the United States is a legal and constitutionally protected activity, grounded in the First Amendment's right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. I understand the importance of effective industry representation. Lobbyists represent various interests, including businesses, labor unions, and advocacy groups, and work to influence legislation and government decisions on behalf of their clients. While lobbying can be a legitimate way for organizations to make their concerns known to policymakers, it has also been criticized for allowing wealthy and well-connected interests to exert undue influence over the political process (Drutman, 2015).

The potential for lobbying to undermine democracy is illustrated by the "revolving door" phenomenon, in which individuals move back and forth between government positions and lobbying roles, often within the same issue area. This can create conflicts of interest, as government officials may be more inclined to favor the interests of their former or future employers over those of the general public. The revolving door has been linked to regulatory capture, in which regulators are unduly influenced by the industries they are supposed to oversee, leading to policy outcomes that prioritize private interests over public welfare (Stigler, 1971). We see this revolving door, where  Barney Frank, who was a former congressman, and a co-author of banking reforms following the 2008 economic collapse, went on to be a highly paid board member of Signature Bank, and campaigned to change the rules he had put in place.  (Coindesk 2023)

The Jack Abramoff scandal in the early 2000s is a prime example of how lobbying can undermine democracy when it devolves into corruption. Abramoff, a former lobbyist, was convicted on charges of fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy to bribe public officials, after it was revealed that he had provided gifts, trips, and campaign contributions to lawmakers in exchange for favorable legislative actions. The scandal resulted in the conviction of several other lobbyists, congressional staffers, and government officials, highlighting the potential for lobbying to foster a culture of corruption that undermines the democratic process (Birnbaum & Ackerman, 2006).

In response to concerns about the influence of lobbying on democracy, Congress enacted the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) in 1995 and the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA) in 2007. These laws require lobbyists to register with the government, disclose their clients and the issues they are lobbying on, and report their income and expenses related to lobbying activities. However, critics argue that these regulations do not go far enough in addressing the influence of money and special interests in the political process and that more comprehensive reforms are needed to protect the integrity of American democracy (Thompson, 2012).

Party Whips:

Party whips are responsible for enforcing party discipline and ensuring that members of a political party vote in line with the party's position on various issues. While party whips play an essential role in maintaining cohesion and facilitating the passage of legislation, critics argue that their influence can undermine the democratic process by discouraging individual members of Congress from representing the unique needs and preferences of their constituents. This centralization of power within party leadership may result in decisions that do not reflect the will of the majority (Binder, 1999).  

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, offers an example of how the party whip system may have contributed to public dissatisfaction and subsequent civil unrest. During the legislative process, both Democratic and Republican party whips worked to ensure that their members voted along party lines, with little room for dissent or negotiation. This led to a highly polarized debate and ultimately resulted in the passage of the ACA without any Republican votes. The perception that the legislative process was driven by party discipline rather than genuine deliberation fueled public protests and contributed to the rise of the Tea Party movement (Zernike, 2010).

The impeachment trials of former President Donald Trump provide another example of how party whips can contribute to the perception that the political process is unduly influenced by partisanship rather than the rule of law or the will of the majority. In both instances, party whips played a crucial role in ensuring that the majority of Republican senators voted against convicting the former president, despite public opinion polls indicating that a significant portion of Americans believed that he should be held accountable for his actions. The perception that party loyalty took precedence over the interests of the nation and the desires of the electorate further fueled political polarization and distrust in the democratic process (Enten, 2021).

The increasing complexity and length of legislation, coupled with the demanding schedules of elected officials, has raised concerns about whether members of Congress have adequate time to thoroughly read and understand the laws they vote on. In some cases, lawmakers are provided with only a few hours to review hundreds or even thousands of pages of legislation before they must cast their votes, votes that have been whipped. This time constraint may force representatives to rely heavily on summaries or briefings prepared by their staff, party leadership, or lobbyists, rather than fully engaging with the legislative text themselves. As a result, the democratic process may be compromised, with lawmakers making decisions on important issues without a comprehensive understanding of the potential consequences, thereby diminishing their ability to effectively represent the interests of their constituents (Schudson, 2012).

State Actions:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been criticized for its actions during the COINTELPRO program (1956-1971), which targeted various political groups and individuals, including civil rights activists and anti-war protestors. The FBI used a range of controversial tactics, such as surveillance, infiltration, and disinformation campaigns, to disrupt and discredit these groups, often without proper legal authorization. This abuse of power by a government agency undermined the principles of democracy by violating citizens' rights to free speech, assembly, and political participation (Garrow, 2006).  The FBI, White House, and many other branches of government have also been involved in directing non government corporations, like Twitter, Meta (Facebook), and Google, to take censorship action on its user base, effectively impairing the first amendment right to free speech. (Woodhouse 2022).

The National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 demonstrated a lack of transparency and potential abuse of power by the U.S. government. The NSA's mass surveillance activities, which included collecting phone records and monitoring online communications of millions of Americans without their knowledge or consent, raised concerns about the infringement of privacy rights and the erosion of democratic principles. The subsequent public debate sparked by these revelations led to the passage of the USA Freedom Act in 2015, which aimed to rein in the government's surveillance powers and increase transparency (Greenwald, 2014).

The executive branch has occasionally exerted its power in ways that critics argue undermine the principles of democracy. An example of this is the use of signing statements by presidents, which are written declarations that accompany the signing of a bill into law. These statements often include interpretive guidance or objections to specific provisions of the law. Critics argue that signing statements can be used to effectively circumvent the legislative process, as they may signal the president's intention not to enforce certain aspects of a law, undermining the principle of checks and balances between the branches of government (Rosen, 2006).

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), enacted in 1966, was designed to promote government transparency and accountability by providing the public with access to government records. However, critics argue that the executive branch has at times been slow to respond to FOIA requests or has invoked exemptions to withhold information that should be available to the public. For example, the Department of Justice under Attorney General Jeff Sessions was criticized for proposing new regulations that would limit the public's access to information by making it easier for the agency to reject FOIA requests on the grounds of being overly broad or burdensome (Meyer, 2017).

Guantanamo Bay detention camp, established in 2002 following the September 11 attacks, has become a symbol of the U.S. government's disregard for the democratic process and the rule of law. Detainees at Guantanamo have been held without charge or trial, often for years, in a legal limbo that denies them the basic rights of due process guaranteed under both U.S. and international law. The camp's use of torture and inhumane treatment, as documented in the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA torture, further highlights the erosion of democratic principles and respect for human rights in the name of national security. This extrajudicial detention and mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay has drawn widespread condemnation from human rights organizations, legal experts, and the international community, who argue that it undermines the foundational values of democracy, such as fairness, justice, and the rule of law (Savage, 2015).


In conclusion, while the United States was founded on democratic principles, various factors have raised concerns about the extent to which it operates as a true democracy in practice. The influence of money in politics, as evidenced by the role of campaign contributions and the Citizens United ruling, has created an environment where the voices of wealthy individuals and corporations can overshadow those of ordinary citizens. This imbalance of power has led to a perception that political outcomes are driven more by financial interests than by the will of the people. Additionally, the lobbying system in the U.S. has further amplified the influence of special interest groups and corporations, often at the expense of public interests, contributing to a sense of disillusionment among citizens regarding the democratic process.

The role of party whips in enforcing party discipline and controlling the legislative agenda can undermine democracy by discouraging elected representatives from acting independently and truly representing the needs and preferences of their constituents. Furthermore, the hurried nature of legislative decision-making, with lawmakers sometimes not having sufficient time to read and comprehend the laws they vote on, has raised concerns about the efficacy and accountability of the legislative process.

Lastly, actions by government agencies and branches, such as the FBI's COINTELPRO program, "twitter files", NSA surveillance, executive branch overreach, and the existence of Guantanamo Bay, demonstrate instances where democratic principles and the rule of law have been compromised in the name of national security or political expediency. These examples highlight the ongoing challenges the United States faces in upholding its democratic ideals, as the complex interplay of money, power, and political maneuvering lead to outcomes that do not reflect the true will or best interests of the majority, and therefore are not democratic.


Lessig, L. (2011). Republic, lost: How money corrupts congress and a plan to stop it.
Center for Responsive Politics. (n.d.). Money in politics data. OpenSecrets. )
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), National Constitution Center. (n.d.).
Hasen, R. L. (2016). Plutocrats united: Campaign money, the Supreme Court, and the distortion of American elections. Yale University Press.Online source:
Center for Responsive Politics. (n.d.). Super PACs. OpenSecrets. Retrieved from
Vandewalker, I., & Weiner, D. (2015). Stronger parties, stronger democracy: Rethinking reform. Brennan Center for Justice.
Gilens, M., & Page, B. I. (2014). Testing theories of American politics: Elites, interest groups, and average citizens. Perspectives on Politics, 12(3), 564-581.
La Raja, R. J., & Schaffner, B. F. (2014). Campaign finance and political polarization: When purists prevail. University of Michigan Press.
Hasen, R. L. (2012). The Supreme Court's new political realists. California Law Review, 100(4), 1065-1084.
Drutman, L. (2015). The business of America is lobbying: How corporations became politicized and politics became more corporate. Oxford University Press.
Stigler, G. J. (1971). The theory of economic regulation. The Bell Journal of Economics and Management Science, 2(1), 3-21.Online source:
Center for Responsive Politics. (n.d.). Revolving door. OpenSecrets. Retrieved from
Birnbaum, J. H., & Ackerman, R. (2006). Abramoff sentenced to nearly six years. The Washington Post.
Thompson, D. F. (2012). Ethics in Congress: From individual to institutional corruption. Brookings Institution Press.
Binder, S. A. (1999). The dynamics of legislative gridlock, 1947-96. American Political Science Review, 93(3), 519-533.
Zernike, K. (2010). Boiling mad: Inside Tea Party America. Henry Holt and Company.
Enten, H. (2021). Most Americans want Trump to be convicted in impeachment trial. CNN.
Schudson, M. (2012). The rise of the right to know: Politics and the culture of transparency, 1945-1975. Harvard University Press.
Garrow, D. J. (2006). The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr: From "Solo" to Memphis. Yale University Press.
Greenwald, G. (2014). No place to hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. surveillance state. Metropolitan Books.
Rosen, J. (2006). The cult of the presidency. The Atlantic.
Meyer, J. (2017). Sessions DOJ wants to make it easier to deny FOIA requests. POLITICO. Retrieved from
Savage, C. (2015). Power wars: Inside Obama's post-9/11 presidency. Hachette Books.

I. Preamble 

In this opening argument, I offer substantial evidence for the proposition plagiarizing his opening argument - something that ought to make his first argument null and void, as well as lose him a conduct point.

II. Proposition Plagiarism 

1. The Accusation 

Based on my own investigation, as well as helpful notes by several people in the comments, I formally accuse my opponent of plagiarizing much of his argument. This accusation is not made lightly, and is based on the extensive evidence available. 

2. Evidence for Plagiarism 

a. AI Text Detectors 

I used several AI Text Detectors from different sources, each of which use a combination of methodologies. The results speak for themselves. 

ZeroGPT Checker 

When given a sample of the text, the result returned was: “100% AI GPT” (!).
Content At Scale AI Detector 

When given a sample of the text, the result returned was: “Highly likely to be AI Generated.” 

Hive Moderation AI Detector 

When given a sample of the text, the result returned was: “99.9% likely to be AI Generated.” 

b. Online Plagiarism Detectors 

Although AI-generated text is “original,” it synthesizes text from a preexisting training set. As such, online plagiarism detectors often can detect parts of AI-generated text that were taken from elsewhere. As usual, the results speak for themselves. 

Grammarly Plagiarism Checker 

When given a sample of the text, the result returned was: “Significantly plagiarized.” 

Scribblr Plagiarism Checker 

When given a sample of the text, the result returned was: “Moderate risk of plagiarism.” 

Check-Plagiarism Tool 

When given a sample of the text, the result returned was: “13% of text plagiarized.” 

c. Writing Style Comparisons 

In this section, I will compare distinct samples of my opponent’s writing in order to further add evidence that my opponent’s argument is plagiarized. 

(c1). Changes in Writing Quality 


Let’s take a look at one of my opponent’s comments. 

“I am new hear, and I do not want to be cras. That being said Invictus (per the signature on their profile) has made proposturious allegations against me, despite me showing, that the company that they accuse me of using, states my content iis not AI created. If the respondant agrees, we can use the last segments to prove authenticity of the narrivte, when in reality it should be about the content. Are we not here to learn? Be as it may, I was accused, and I resent it,and will see it out.” 
Alright, that’s some seriously bad grammar, but I won’t judge – we can’t all be good at writing... except not all of us try to plagiarize to compensate for that. 

So the same person who posted the previous comment, then proceeds to post an incredibly well-written, articulated, and perfectly cited essay. I don’t buy this, and I encourage voters not to either. 

(c2). Changes in Writing Format 

The Double Space

My opponent, in most of his other posts, has put double-spaces between sentences – a key linguistic marker. He also does this for a few human-written sentences in his argument, e.g: 

“This is my first instigated debate.  I am new to this, so please forgive me if I make mistakes in the process.” 

“The statement was that the US does not operate as a democracy, which I believe.  First, let me define what operating as a democracy.” 

“democratic principles include popular sovereignty, political equality, majority rule with minority rights,  Based on the aforementioned I am claiming that the US does not operate in that matter. “ 

“I am going to focus on 4 areas, and tie them into the above, to demonstrate my case.  They are:
Mysteriously, however, in the rest of his essay, a double space never shows up again. 

Abrupt Changes In Citation Format 

For the first part of his argument, my opponent uses APA citation format, as evidenced by the “n.d.” marks. 

For the second part of his argument, my opponent uses MLA citation format, as shown by the lack of a page number for in-text citations. 

I rest my case. What person would use two different citation formats in the same argument? 

2. So now what? 

First of all, I declare my opponent's argument null and void, as plagiarized arguments should be rejected on principle as invalid.
I'll skip my constructive argument for this round, as I don't really feel like putting effort into a debate when my opponent has clearly not done the same. I offer my opponent one more chance to post an original argument. Failing that, I urge voters to vote against my opponent on plagiarism alone, as such a serious rules violation ought to be punished as a precedent for the future. 

3. Sources

I will put the plagiarism/AI text detectors I used in the comments, in case any voters are interested in reviewing them for themselves.


Round 2
Extend I guess. I'll give my opponent one more chance to post an original constructive argument before I start taking this debate seriously.
Round 3
I am  not a plagerist.   Everything I typed I have 100 percent copyright for.   I wont engage in deflections. and accusations   A digital win and battle is mot worth the energy.  
I. Extensions 

PRO has not contested the accusation of plagiarism beyond a bare assertion. As such, I extend all evidence. 

Furthermore, as additional evidence, I will quickly compare my opponent’s most recent debate arguments with the one presented here. 

As you can see, the writing style in these three debates is completely different than the one seen here. Differences include: 
  • Consistent use of double space (the presence and absence of this, respectively, is extremely glaring) 
  • More use of first-person 
  • Shorter sentences 
  • Use of digital links rather than book citations 
  • More awkward phrasing and sentence structure 
I think it’s clear that the opening argument was, to say the least, not 100% original. 

II. Quick Constructive 

I feel at this point, my opponent’s clearly unoriginal argument, and his attempt to double down on it, would merit a win on conduct alone. Nevertheless, I will include a short constructive argument for voters that are unconvinced. 

The definition of democracy, per Oxford, is “a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.” Other dictionaries give similar definitions.

The US is indeed a democracy, under this definition. Namely: 
  • It has a system of government 
  • The whole population participates 
  • It does this through elected representatives 
Yes, it’s not a perfect system, where everyone has a equal voice. Yes, it sometimes fails to protect civil liberties and rights. But just because it’s a flawed democracy doesn’t mean it’s not a democracy – it only means that it’s a democracy that still has much to improve on.

III. Rebuttals

"I am  not a plagerist.   Everything I typed I have 100 percent copyright for.   I wont engage in deflections. and accusations   A digital win and battle is mot worth the energy."

Just a bare assertion. My opponent is free to concede if he wishes - but I, for one, plan to play for a win.
Round 4