Term Paper: American Government the American Governing System

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American Government

The American governing system is considered to be one of the best examples of democracy in the contemporary political system. This can be explained in a large part by the structure of the constitutional established governing structure, and by its federalist nature. However, there are some aspects of this system which continue to be the subject of heated debate. They tend to focus especially on the two party system, which many think of it as being an undemocratic representation solution, the influence and impact of financial matters in political decision making, and the controversial election process, that stands more and more in the spotlight whenever there is an electoral year.

The political stage is dominated for more than 140 years now by two major parties: the Republicans and the Democrats. According to Janda, Berry and Goldman the explanation stands in two important elements: the electoral system and the process of political socialization.

The electoral system is different from most other democracies. As opposed to the proportional representation method adopted in most western countries, the majority representation present in America favors this two party system because in the end there is just one winner elected and he is chosen by simple plurality of votes. Janda, Berry and Goldman state that majority representation in this case "forces groups in society to work within one of the only two parties with any realistic chance of winning the election." (Janda, Berry and Goldman 250) The question then arises on the identity of these two parties and their long presence on the American political scene. The answer may be that there is an increase need for different groups to join their forces in the race for the presidency; therefore, the candidate with most votes eventually wins. Thus, rallying support is an important incentive for the coagulation of forces.

The second reason for the monopole of the two parties over the political scene is the socialization that goes around on and off the record. Basically, party leaders have structured their electorate in such a manner that they most often discourage challenges from other smaller parties. There is also the question of political and historical tradition which plays a major role in maintaining the influence over the Congress.

A force that is truly important when considering the Congress and in general the political parties in the U.S. is the interest groups.

There must be a differentiation between the two types. On the one hand, according to Janda, Berry and Goldman, "a political party is an organization that sponsors candidates for political office under the organization's name. These political parties nominate candidates for election to public office, by designating individuals as official candidates for the party." (Janda, Berry and Goldman 263)At the same time, an interest group is "an organization who share common attitudes and interests and who attempt to influence the decisions made within the political system" (Volkomer 256). The political parties are set in place to nominate candidates, structure the voting choice, proposing alternative government programs and coordinating the actions of government officials (Janda, Berry and Goldman 264-265), thus they have the upper hand concerning legislation; interest groups are either "formed in response to a single political issue or candidate, and thus are active for a short period of time, or they are established to represent the continuous interests of their members." (Volkomer 258) Consequently, the former have the power to decide, while the latter fight for influencing the decisions taken.

From this perspective, neither parties nor interest groups are favorable to a democratic system. Although Madison pointed out in "The Federalist Papers" that in an open society, people should have the right to free organization in order to defend their interests, thinking that the system… [END OF PREVIEW]

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