What do you think of instituting a nation-wide system of national referendum? We were debating this in my government class the other day and the professor, in favor of them, brought up an argument that they would be prudent if limited to only certain circumstances. For example, if the Congress wanted to put something up for referendum, they could as a means of showing the other party the public at large disagree. A good example of this might be the current Democratic house minority putting up for referendum a bill to raise taxes on the wealthy, which 60-70% (varies poll by poll) support. They could then tell the majority, hey look at what the majority of the country thinks, and you can honestly sit here and keep fighting for only 30%? Or if say, after the healthcare law passed, the minority republicans could put up for referendum a repeal of it. They could then have shown the Democrats that they are fighting for a bill a majority of the country oppose. Or even another criteria if enough signatures are provided, and each signature is verified, the people could invalidate a bill passed by the congress. No ballot initiatives though, that is not what this poll is about. For reference that would be the people drafting their own law to go before congress. A valid counter to the bill, however, is that the people are very easily influenced by things like TV advertisements, mailings, etc, and would not be able to decide on a referendum with their own true beliefs. It is also important to note things like the healthcare law, which was thousands of pages long. The average everyday American isn't going to take the time to read through it and see if he/she agrees with it or not. To put it simple, the average American is just not smart enough to make those decisions for the greater good (say a bill that would raise taxes to pay for a war, Americans might say no no no, don't you raise my taxes, or during the financial crisis, Americans would not have known that bailing out the financial institutions was absolutely necessary to keep the economy from completely going under) and it should be left out of their hands. And please don't get on my case for saying the average American isn't smart enough. I don't want to hear random drivel about how people in congress are bumbling idiots. Those on both sides of the aisle are very well educated in 99% of the cases and are above the average American in terms of intelligence, clearly.
Those above are just views I complied during the debate we had. I am on the fence... personally leaning towards no referenda.