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Thread: The american political system

  1. #1 The american political system 
    Forum Professor leohopkins's Avatar
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    Okay, im british and I understand the british policital system:

    We have a "house of commons" where individual party members from certain areas are elected and make up the government. The party with the majority of votes becomes the government, and is headed by the prime minister and a deputy prime minister.

    The you hae a "house of lords" which is an unelected house and is headed by the leader of the house of lords, and the deputy leader. (In fact my 2nd cousin is the deputy leader !! - my claim to fame) anyway.........

    How does the US political system work?

    What is the difference between "The Senate" and "Congress" and whats the difference between a "Senetor" and a "congressman" etc.?


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    First understand that the US, is a Union of 50 States, each with a constitution and set of laws, limited only to the Federal Constitution and the amendments...

    The President/V-P are the only people voted for by all the people, in all states to any of the 3 Branches of the Federal government. Technically the states are voting for delegates to a National Convention, held in Washington in December and those delegates are equal to the electoral college count of their state (based on population)...(Ex.ecutive Branch)

    Each State then has its own priorities, generally involved in voting for the House Members and Senators. (Legislation Branch). The political affiliation, of any state can be different to the Presidential vote and often is split even with in the state. (This going to district priorities).

    The third Branch, Judicial are lifetime appointments which the President is obligated to appoint and subject to Senate approval. House members 2 year terms were all legislation must start from. Senators are 6 year terms, basically overseeing the operation of government and must approve most house actions.

    This prevents any one party from total control for any long period of time.
    Checks and balance is the term which defines this system. Any action by any member of any branch, can be over ridden through a complicated process by another branch...


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    100 senators ,two votes from each state regardless of what the population is

    the house many more ,maybe 500 -more if there are more districts there

    they gerrymander, they lie

    the lobbyists influence

    the approval rate for congress is at 10 to 30 % i think

    wikipedia probably covers this

    we keep electing the same people -hopefully not in nov o8

    every two years there can be new ones, except the senators stay in for 6
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    im trying to figure out the history of the caucus system in usa in Washington state and others

    they use it to choose the president
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  6. #5  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    they use it to choose the president
    The caucuses and primaries don’t choose the president, they select the candidate from each party who will run in the presidential election. If you are confused about how the caucus system works you are not alone.

    I was talking to some Democrats last night who had attended the Colorado caucuses. One of them had volunteered to help organize the caucus, which amounted to trying, without success, to create order out of chaos. She described a hugely overcrowded hall, with no one knowing where to go or what to do, and volunteers who had had ten minutes of training getting blamed for all the confusion. Another arrived at the caucus only to find she was registered as an independent so could not vote (her own fault, but still indicative of the level of confusion). Another volunteer was helping at the precinct, but had to vote at a different one because of the location of her residence. Things were so chaotic that she was late leaving and arrived too late at her own precinct to vote.

    The view from these party workers was that the young and fit arrived in droves, while the older generations, and the infirm stayed away. The majority around the table last night was strongly pro-Clinton, but the caucus vote went heavily to Obama. The hope was that next time we will switch to a primary instead of a caucus.

    I think Churchill said democracy is the worst possible system of government, except for all the others.
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    Holmes: Picking the States choice(s) to be a candidate, has been left up to the *Party* and laws of each State. The first were called *legislative caucus*, when state officials and/or party members from that state, met and decided there choice. In those days they independently also made a choice for VP. They would then meet (no convention) with the all the others and decide that parties choice. The Caucus/Convention system, which is now Caucus-Primary/Convention system has evolved from many different styles of caucus.

    The Iowa, current day is typical of what was, but remember not all caucus are or have been identical. In Iowa, party officials pick a place where local citizens meet. Say 100 meet and say 10 names are offered. After some discussion on behalf of each name offered they are asked to walk to a location in that building, which is a vote for one of the ten and a count made. Any candidate that does NOT receive 15% or 15 votes, is then eliminate and those folks are asked t make a second choice, this until all left have 15% of the remaining people. This done at many places around the State and in many cities many places in that city. It is not uncommon for the third or forth choice of a good many becomes a persons pick and one reason caucus are not well accepted. Another is the public display of choice, which neglects the secret choice principle.
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    First i'd like to just say that for the most part I like our form of government, but there are some problems with it.

    The senate is a part of the branch of government called the legislative branch, they are the ones who are supposed to make the laws. Congress is any meeting of any part of the legislative branch.

    Right now, people only seem to care who is elected 'president'. They seem to think the president has ultimate power over the decisions of our nation.

    Because of this, while everyone complains about the senate being corrupt, but hardly anyone goes out to vote to do anything about it, because the congress, in their minds, is not as important as the president. I wonder if all of our citizens even know they can vote for the senate and house of representatives.

    Right now, we have presidents making laws, while the senate sits idely by just letting it happen because they are too busy campaigning and having sex with hookers to care, the Judicial branch is full of activist judges forcing the states to follow laws that were not ratified by the congress, then probably going to have sex with hookers.

    meanwhile everyone blames or credits the president for the state of our nation, the blame or credit basically depending on which party he is from. While all most of our presidents in the past have probably cared about is having sex with hookers.

    The party system is basically "Im votin' [blank] because my grandpappy voted [blank]" Even if the ideals of the party has changed since "grandpappy" was alive.

    Reading back on my post it seem like the hookers run this country LOL.
    "It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense." - Mark Twain
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  10. #9 Re: The american political system 
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    Quote Originally Posted by leohopkins

    What is the difference between "The Senate" and "Congress" and whats the difference between a "Senetor" and a "congressman" etc.?
    There isn't one. a "Senator" is a "congressman". Our legistrative branch of government is called the Congress, It consists of two bodies(houses); the Senate and the House of Representatives. Each state gets two Senators in the Senate, while the number of representatives are apportioned by population of the State.(Thus some states have more representative than others.) Congressman are elected by popular vote from each state. Senators through state-wide elections and representatives by districts within the state.

    The congress is responisible for forming legistration (laws) in the form of "bills" (proposed legistration). A given bill must be approved by both houses, and is then sent to the president to be signed. If he signs it, it becomes law. He can also veto it. If he vetos it, it's sent back to Congress. If Congress can repass it with a 2/3 majority, they can overide the veto and it becomes law. Otherwise, the bill can be reworked so that it either meets the President's approval, or can muster up the 2/3 majority. If not, the bill can just die.

    The Judicial branch (Supreme court) rules on the constitutionality of the laws passed. (whether or not they violate the constitution.) Even if a law gets past both houses and the president, the Judicial branch can throw it out on the basis of being unconstitutional. The judicial branch can also throw out laws passed by states on this basis.

    Each state also has its own supreme court which rules on whether or not state laws proposed( by the state's own legislature) violate the state's own constitution, which may infer greater rights than the U.S. constitution.
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  11. #10  
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    The founders, were concerned with a peoples voice in this government and chose, the House for this purpose. Hamilton/Madison argued over terms for both the House and Senate, Hamilton wishing life terms for the senate and lengthy terms for the house. Madison 5-6 years for the Senate and 1 years for the house. 2 and 6 years were chosen. The 2 year of the House, to maintain ties with the public they represented and 6 years for the Senate, to allow for experience, primarily in foreign affairs.

    For this reason, its the House of Representatives primary duty to write/propose nearly all legislation, serve as a 'representative' assembly and oversee public policy. The Senate to act as a reflective chamber, confirming/change/table the wishes of the House, work on important legislation or constitutional reform and settling conflicts of interest between the different federal institutions.
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