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The US Political system- principles, institutions, rules and performance * A Democratic Republic * Political power, authority and legitimacy resides in the ¨we the people¨ * Officeholders serve specified terms and face regularly schedule elections * Political office cannot be inherited or conferred (no monarch, no nobility) * A constitutional system * A single document defining government powers, institutions and their functions, electoral procedures * Short and difficult to amend * Flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances (¨living document¨) * Widely perceived as legitimate by ¨we the people¨ * A representative democracy * Elected representatives –not ¨we the people¨-- make national law and policy (no referenda, recall, or ballot initiative) * The rule of law * Power of government over citizens explicitly limited (bill of rights) * The judiciary (federal courts) is on independent brunch of government whose members are protected by interference * All the elected are subjected to the law * Appointed officials are accountable to elected officials and to the courts * Institutional characteristics * /Separation of power/ divides political power and governmental authority among three branches having distinctive powers * Checks and balances allows each branch to offset the powers of the others * A powerful bicameral legislature with a meaningful upper house * A presidential system with an (indirectly) elected chief executive and administration independent of the legislature * Autonomous courts exercising judicial review * /Federalism/ shares sovereignty between national and state government * Existence and prerogatives of states protected * The senate represents the three states as such and equally in the legislative process * The states are primarily responsible for important aspects of public policy (education, police)


The US Electoral System * Electoral System: General Characteristics: * States are responsible for registering voters and conducing elections * No single, uniform national registration and voting process exist * Registration is not automatic and voting is not mandatory * Voters must register their selves where they live * Rates of registration are and turnout are low by comparison to other developed democratic countries, esp. in primaries * Lack of uniformity in voting technologies and procedures can impair effective voting and increase opportunity for fraud * In caucuses and primary elections, political parties choose candidates to run for office * In the general election, the office is taken by a single winner by plurality vote (SMP or FPTP) * A 2-Party System * Wanting not to waste it, voters choose candidates having a realistic chance in SMP/FPTP races. * Seeking recognition, credibility and money, candidates adopt a major party label * Parties other than the established ones have great difficulty attracting and keeping supporters and candidates * The formation and perpetuation of only two national political parties of real political significate in a very large and diverse country * The Electoral College * POTUS/UP Indirectly elected via electoral college on a state-by-state basis * Each state has elections totaling the number of representatives + number of senators * Electors are expected (not required) to cast all of their state votes for candidates winning the popular vote in that state (except Main and Nebraska) * Winner of popular vote can loose election (Al Gore 2000) * Votes for a candidate loosing a state are effectively ignored * Voters in /safe states/ lack incentives to cast ballots * Candidates/Parties may ignore /safe states/ campaign only in battlegrounds * Voters in smaller states have greater relative impact * Artificial impression or ¨red¨ vs ¨blue¨ country * Established parties control of presidential politics perpetuated * Independent candidates discouraged from running, voters reluctant to support them (Ross Perat, Ralph Nader) * ¨Big Tent¨ parties fail to articulate and respond to specific voters concerns, number and size of interest groups increases (¨Hyper-Pluralism¨) * Parties don’t control who runs under their labels as candidates for office * Incoherent ideology, platforms and policy agenda * Unable to impose party discipline on representatives and senators once in office * Restricted range of choice for voters * Citizen alienation from political system (low levels of efficacy) * Policy-making unresponsive to citizen needs * Sharing Power Divided Government (1948-2012) * 64 years, 17 elections, 12 presidents * 6 democrats (32 years) * 6 republicans (36 years) * 38 years of divided government

Institutional Characteristics and Electoral System * Institutional Characteristics: consequences: * The process of making a law and policy often is lengthy and cumbersome * Divided government and parties on polarization complicate or stymie policy-making * Initiative of and responsibility for policy-making is diffused and among the three branches and the three states * Absence of meaningful limits on spending in election can overwhelm candidates, parties and voters
The United Kingdom and Great Britain and Northern Ireland * The UK. What’s in a name? * Plantagenet, tutors, Stuarts consolidate the English monarchy * Wales united the kingdom of England (1535) * Act of Union links Scotland with England to form Great Britain (1707) * Kingdom of Ireland added to form United Kingdom (1800) * Republic of Ireland going independence (1922) ;6 countries of Northern Ireland (Ulster) remain in the UK * The UK * Constitutional monarchy * Representative democracy * Parliamentary system * A constitutional monarchy * The British political system has envoled over centuries * Unlike the US, the UK has no single document that severs as its constitution * Hereditary monarch (Queen Elizabeth II) formally shares power with an elected legislature (parliament) * Power of parliament has increased at the expense of the crown * The monarch is the official ¨Head of State¨ of the UK AND THE Commonwealth; a purely ceremonial office * Real political power, authority and legitimacy reside in sovereign parliament (Westminster model) * A Representative Democracy * Broad franchise elect members of parliament from among parties and leadership to express and implement the will of majority * ¨Loyal Opposition¨ expected to provide viable alternative to government in power * independent media analyzes and critiques public figures and policies * The Parliamentary System: Bicameral in Name ONLY: * The House of Commons embodies and exercises effective political power * The authority and legitimacy of the House of Lords has been gradually and cumulatively reduced * The Government in Parliament * 650 seats [England=533, Scotland=54, Wales=40, Ulster=18] in commons * elected from single member district by plurality vote (SMP/FPTP) affirmed in 2011 referendum. Page 69 * MP´s elected for 5-year terms (maximum length) * The party winning the most seats (not necessary a majority) in commons earns the right to form ¨His/Her Majesty´s Government¨ (HMG) * Leader of majority party or coalition parties becomes prime minister (PM) * PM picks cabinets from among party MP´s (and Lords) to govern collectively * Legislative and executive powers are fused through MP´s, PM and Cabinet (the government [page 59]) * The government must maintain the confidence of parliament (commons) or resign * ¨Shadow Cabinet¨ of opposition leader debates, questions, challenges government; presents alternative vision and policies * Party in power can change it´s own leadership in office (Thatcher/Major, 1990; Blair/Brown, 2007) * Legislative process * Government (PM and Cabinet) and civil service (White Hall) formulate policy proposals * Legislation is considered by parliament in readings and debate * Legislation proposed by the government is virtually assured of parliamentary approval (no ¨divided government¨ or ¨gridlock¨) * Lords can delay but not prevent legislation from passing * Reforms (Esp. since 1998) reduced number and influence of * If policy proposed is very controversial, cabinet members may resign and/or ¨back benches may defeat * Dissatisfied MP´s can have a ¨no confidence¨ vote, forcing a new government or election
The French Fifth Republic * A constitution of 1958 * A democratic republic, but with executive autonomy and power enhance at the expense of the legislature * A hybrid of the presidential and parliamentary forms of representative government * A semi-presidential system * The constitution divides executive authority between… * A directory elected (1962 referendum) president * A prime minister (PM) and government accountable to the legislature * Their relationship varies according to electoral results * The president appoints as PM the leader of the largest electoral block in the National Assembly (NA) * The possibility of the cohabitation (p.100) affects the dynamics of the entire political system * Super-presidential alignment confers both executive powers and governing authority to the president * Cohabitation creates a typed of divided government, relegating the president to his role as head of State (p.107) * Electing the president * 5-year term of office (2000 Referendum), limit 2 consecutive (2008 constitutional reform) * Two rounds of voting possible (and nearly certain) * * Majority (+50%) in first round wings outright (has never happened) * Top-two candidates move on to 2nd round * Majority winner * Allows for a variety of candidates in first rounds, which can produce big surprises (Le Pen 2012, p. 89-90) * Single member districts, two rounds of voting (strutting uninominal a decut forms) * * Any member of candidates can run on first ballot * Majority (+50%) in first run wins outright * * 12,5% threshold to move on to the second ballot * plurality wins in second round * Encourages inter-round electoral alliances among parties * Has produced consolidation of two large blocks on left and right
* 3rd Reich defeated (May 1945) * Allies (US, USSR, UK, France), occupy Germany * Holocaust ¨revealed¨ to allies, world * ¨Death Camps¨ opened, filmed * Nazi records detail systematic slaughter of millions of Jews, Untermenschen * Germany as the focus of emerging Cold War divide * Divided capitol in soviet Quachant; Berlin blockade and airlift (1948-49) * Allies split German territory, population; create two states * Western allies combine 3 zones into Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in 1949: 1. De-Nazified (Nuremburg Trials, other prosecution) 2. Democratized (elected leaders, rule of law) 3. Demilitarized (Germany military subordinate to NATO) * Germany divided during the Cold War * German Democratic Republic (GDR) created, dominated by soviets as key element of East Block (1949) * Berlin wall built (1961) to keep population in GDR, East Block * Germany and the Cold War * FRG, GDR reach economical and political accommodation as separate states (1970´s) * Gorbachev withdraws soviet supports, GDR, East Block regime collapse (1989) * Germany (re) unified (1990) under FRG´s Basic Law * Foundations of the FRG * Basic Law, Democracy and Federalism * Basic Law (1949) established as foundation for a wholly new regime * Founded on the rule of law and the guarantee of civil rights and personal liberties * Grounded in democratic and republican principles * Based on representative-non-direct-public participation * A parliamentary system fusing legislative and executive powers * Federalized politically and administratively * Institutions of the FRG (p.150)- President, Chancellor, Cabinet, Legislature, Lander * The German President: Joachim Gauck * Head of State having a mostly formal or ceremonial role * Distinguished political indirectly elected for five-year, 2 limit terms * Provides unity and continuity in times of political turmoil, unless it is self-inflicted * The Budestag (lower house) * A parliament fusing legislative and executive authority * At least 598 (currently 631) members elected for 4 year terms
-no term limits- can’t serve more than 4 years without election * Initiates, debate, passes legislation * Elects Chancellor; can dismiss him/her and the government but only on a ¨consecutive vote of no-confidence (p.151)
-have to vote for another Chancellor before old can resign * Supervise, questions and investigate government actions and policies * Elects one-halve of the members of the Constitutional Court * The Chancellor and Government * Chancellor elected by a majority of the Bundestag, usually the leader of the party having the most delegates * Appoints ministers (Cabinet) to formulate and propose legislation, direct national policy * Governments are formed by coalitions of party leaders (CDU/CSU-FDP) * Chancellor can ask president to dissolve Bundestag and call new elections (Schroeder, 2005) * Elections to vote the Bundestag * A two-ballot combining single-member district, plurality elections (FPTP) and proportional representation (PR) voting * One part of the ballot (1st vote) selects delegates from 299 single-member districts * The other part (2nd vote) selects a party for representation * Split-ticket voting possible and common
Federalism German Style * The role of the Bundestag * Upper house represents the 16 Lander (states) * Delegations made up of state government officials (elected or appointed); must vote as blocks
-69 total members-delegations range from 3 to 6 * composition of delegations based on Lander electoral results

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