This article advances one of the most important debates in recent scholarship on democratic theory: the one on deliberative systems. In the wake of the systemic turn deliberative scholars agree that not all components of a deliberative system can or even need to be deliberative. However, there is little clarity about the role of non-deliberative politics in a system and to what extent these are justifiable while we seek a more deliberative society. In this paper I first illustrate the main ideas of the systemic turn, explore the distinction between ‘deliberative’ and ‘non-deliberative’ politics and investigate the main arguments justifying non-deliberative politics. Then, I build upon these arguments to shed new light on the relationship between deliberative and non-deliberative politics. I identify three distinctive actors in deliberative systems (political institutions, empowered agents, and public space actors). Finally, I argue that deliberative democrats should adopt three different approaches (intensive, moderate, and free) in order to assess whether the use of non-deliberative politics by each of these actors is legitimate.