For several years the United States maintains the operation of the first past approach in the election process. With that, the government of the country is seemed to be locked within the two major political parties due to the fact that any external party is deprived from the opportunity to enter the political arena and rule the agenda of the country. Meanwhile, the existing two political groups in the United States are regarded to have dramatically different agenda so that the voters are frustrated with the government. Accordingly, the majority of the people in the United States express the idea that the participation in the election is not important due to the fact that significant portion of the votes are wasted because of the peculiarities of the first-past approach in the election. Furthermore, the elected members of the government are not reaffirmed in the existence of the support from the population so that the adoption of any decision is based on the risk that the citizens will not favor it. In contrast, the electoral system existing in Germany is regarded as efficient one because it manages to take into account every single vote of the individual regarding the particular political leader and party. In comparison with the United States, Germany favors the operation of the mixed membership proportional system so that to provide the territories and different regions to decide in fair manner about the perspective representatives of the parliament. Certainly, every political system covering the electoral campaigns has the pros and cons in the performance. The main purpose of the paper in this respect is to conduct the analysis of different electoral systems existing in Germany and the United States and came to the decision as to whether the United States should take the approach of Germany and implement it in the regional and national level.
Analysis of Germany Electoral System
German political system is marked with the stability pursuing for years. Meanwhile, the notion of the “personalization of politics” is spreading in the political sphere of the life of the country. Under this statement, one should understand that the personalization of politics is used with the purpose to exercise the impact over the decisions of the citizens to adopt the decision during the election campaigns. In contrast, the majority of the states in the world believe that the electoral system of Germany is regarded as the most beneficial one for all parties to the process in comparison to the other system. In fact, the electoral system of Germany combines the two different types of the procedures as the first-past-the-post and the proportional representation. Nevertheless, the Bundestag as the main legislative body in Germany is elected upon the Mixed Member Proportional system (Kramer & Rattinger, 1997, p. 55). It may seem that the such division of the electoral campaigns in the country is fruitful and beneficial for citizens and politicians, while the evident negative sides should be assessed as well. First of all, under the current framework of the electoral process in Germany, every citizen on the country have two votes, where the first one should be given to the particular constituency candidate and the other one for the party within the entire list of the political groups. Besides, the list of the parties is hidden and closed so that a person is not able to ascertain the individual candidates in order to change the order of the list. At the same time, the second vote is regarded to have more value for the political life of the country as it guides the further formation of the parliaments – the Bundestag (Breunig & Goerres, 2011, p. 540). However, in 2009 it turned out that the Constitutional Court of Germany delivered the opinion that the mixed member proportional electoral campaign existing in the country is not constitutional one so that Angela Merkel faced the necessity to reconsider the amendments to the procedure. Meanwhile, it should be said that the main purpose of the mixed member proportional electoral campaign is to provide the voter with the opportunity to mark the next candidate to be represented by the certain constituency. In addition, the proportional representation implies that the votes should choose the candidate from the list provided in the regional constituency (Duchel Sin & Jonggab Kim, 2014, p. 212).
In other words, there are numerous advantages and disadvantaged that should be stated in relation to the MMP applicable by Germany. Luckily, the MMP is widely proportional within the territory of the country what enables the provision of the equal opportunities for the different regions of the state. Moreover, every citizen of the state has the accountable and single representative from the certain constituency. Besides, the citizen as the voter has at least one vote of the relevant effective power and force. By virtue of the MMP during the election process, any individual obtains the power to express the support to the relevant candidate regardless of the attitude to the political party of the candidate. With the help of MMP, the parliament can be represented with the smallest political parties which succeed to overcome the barrier established in the countries pursuing the MMP. This barrier regularly differs from 3% to 5%. In addition, the MMP system prevents the existence of the over representation of the ruling and winning party in the state bodies of the country. The diversity in the political groups confirms that the country maintains the existence of the democratic values in society, while the all votes of the citizens have the relevant importance for the further development of the political life of the country (Pappi & Thurner, 2002, p. 214).
Consequently, the negative consequences of the maintenance of the MMP in Germany are the following. All political groups can not form the stable coalitions as all of them have different agendas. The majority representatives of the political parties should act transparently so that to be accountable before the community and society. Furthermore, the MMP provides the certain political party with the opportunity to win more seats in the parliament due to the outcome of the constituency vote while the same amount of the votes can not be obtained under the proportional vote system. The electoral process in Germany is organized in the manner that all available extra seats should be divided between the other political parties.
Overview of Electoral College in the United States
The United States has the system of the Electoral College according to which the president is elected beyond the formation of the Congress. Under the Electoral College, one should understand the procedure where the selection of the candidates takes place. The Electoral college represents the meeting of the voters which express the attitude to the President and Vice President so that the calculation of the votes pertaining to the Congress as the state of the another branch of the power should should be conducted. In addition, the Electoral College cover up to 538 electors, where the majority of the votes should be referred to the position of the President. Furthermore, the votes and electors are allocated based on the territory and the rights of every unit of the United States (Anderson, 2004, p. 404). Moreover, every candidate which is nominated for the election of the President in the certain unit should have the personal group of the electors. At the same time, the electors of the candidate are selected in accordance with the approach and recommendations pursued by the political party. However, today the United States is considering about the amendments to the electoral process of the President and the relevant state bodies in order to achieve the status of equality in the political sphere of the life. With that, approximately every four years the leadership of the United States is considering about the opportunity to adopt the amendments to the framework of the electoral system in the country due to the following problems. First of all, the Electoral College provides the weak side in the election campaign to gain the victory for the electoral vote. In addition, the existing election campaign actually distort the initial essence of the process due to the fact that the political parties should write off more than half of the units of the United States. By virtue of this, the parties are aware in advance about the outcome of the elections in the regional levels (Bibby & Maisel, 1998, p. 72). Taking about the election of the legislative and executive bodies, the United States has the first-past-the-post system. The majority of the experts believe that this electoral system is the worst one in comparison with the other systems. Some researchers believe that the approach as to the winner-take-all-nature implies that the voting of the majority should not be respected in the society. Despite this fact, the first-past-the-post approach is quite similar and familiar so that the ordinary citizen should clearly understand all stages of the election campaign without external assistance. Besides, this system allows to remove the weak candidates from the running campaign for the places in the parliament. In particular, according to the current legislation of the United States the voters should establish the rating for the candidates according to the preferences of the population. If certain candidate succeeds to overcome the cast pertaining to the half of votes, this person will obtain the victory in the election run. Meanwhile, the votes given to the removed candidate will be given to the rest of the candidates left in the run so that to calculate the votes of all population. By virtue of this approach, the United States try to maintain the high level of the presence of the citizens in the elections (Schofield, Claassen, Ozdemir & Zakharov, 2010, p. 500).
Consequently, there are certain strengths in the usage of the first past the post system in the United States. First of all, this system enables the existence of the clear choice for the citizens regarding the division of two main political parties. Given the fact that only two parties in the political arena of the United States gain the majority of the support from the population, the any other third party faces numerous challenges so that to draw the attention of the population to the personal agenda. In this regard, the third party is not able to overcome the barrier. This point of view confirms the predictability in the results of the election campaign in the United States so that the population clearly understand that the situation may be changed in accordance with the values of one political party or another one. Furthermore, the current electoral system enables the formation of the governments arising from the members of one political party. Accordingly, under the principles of this system, the coherent opposition has the rights to survive and exist in the legislative body of the country (Reiter, 2004, p. 260). Therefore, in case the government is formed of the members of the particular political party, the strong opposition will he formed due to the availability of the rest of the seats in the parliament. The activity of the strong opponents in the parliament will form the stable competition between the members of the parliament so that every policy is discussed from the different perspective. Moreover, any extremist political parties are deprived of the opportunity to be represented in the legislative body of the Untied States, otherwise there is no wide support within the entire territory of the United States for the promotion of this particular political party. Accordingly, the fist past system allows to establish the connection between the constituents and the representatives of the particular region so that the legislative body of the United States is comprised of the political leaders acting for the protection of the interests of the citizens of certain region. Therefore, there is a level of the geographic accountability of the members of the parliament before the citizens that have voted for them. Furthermore, the people have the opportunity to choose certain individuals instead of the exercising the vote for the political party. This approach allows to promote the ideas and values of certain individual which have the chances to succeed in the election campaign (Kvam, 2010, p. 122).
In contrast, the pillars of the first past electoral procedure is a subject of numerous critical arguments from experts. In particular, it it believed the small and not popular enough political parties have no access to enter the competition for the places in the parliament in the United States due to the high barriers and loyalty of the population to the conservative views regarding the activity of two leading parties. Meanwhile, the first past approach deprives the minorities to participate in the political life of the country. This approach is caused by the fears of the citizens that the representative of particular minority may stand promote the rights of the minorities rather than to stay concerned at the general goals and objectives of the country in the internal and international levels. Therefore, on rarely occasion the population of the country welcomes and supports the agenda presented by the person of color instead of the representative of the white population (McCaffrey, 2004, p. 32).
The overview of the first past approach in the United States presents the evidence that this system is stable and the leadership of the state is not ready to remove it. Despite the fact that the FTTP has a lot of pros and cons divided into the equal portion, its amendment or removal will be quite difficult as the major political parties of the United States favor the existence of this system working for the protection of personal interests. Moreover, the two-party system of the United States has all evidences about the fact that the current electoral process will not be changed for years.
The deliberate overview of the framework of two different electoral campaign existing in Germany and the United States confirmed the existence of several pros and flaws in both systems. It should be said that every nation supports the existence of the electoral system that is suitable for the particular nation and goals of the political leaders. In fact, the mixed membership proportional system has the aim to take into account every vote submitted for the calculation during the election campaign so that to realize the principles of transparent open and free voting. Besides, the Bundestag almost does not contain the majority among the members so that the decision process within the parliament faces numerous challenges regarding the adoption of the legislative act or approval of the policy of national value. Moreover, certain popular political party in the country can not obtain the majority votes upon the proportional system as the population may vote for the particular candidates without any linkages to his membership in the party. However, Germany get accustomed to the mixed membership proportional system as it meets the expectations of the leaders and the citizens voting for their representatives. In comparison with German electoral system, the first past approach has more disadvantages rather than positive features. In particular, the competition in the political arena of the country is very high so that new country can not enter it without significant support in the proportional measures within the territory of the state so that to overcome the barriers established in the constituencies. In addition, the population is seemed to be loyal to the agendas of two major political parties of the country while certain portion of the population does not respect the necessity to come to the elections and vote. Due to this activity of the citizens in different regions, the minorities are deprived of the opportunity to promote their interests as the major political parties act for the purposes to protect personal interests and the needs of the local population. Furthermore, the first past approach allocates the wasted votes in the discriminatory manner so that it is hardly to predict that the person which is popular with his values and agenda will get the access to the next stage of the voting process. Therefore, the United States is seemed to reach the stability with maintenance of the first past electoral system so that it is hardly to presume when this sphere of the life of the country will become the subject of the deliberate legislative reform. First of all, the major political parties are afraid to introduce the changes as the current system guarantees the division of the power between them in the legislative body of the country. Secondly, the process of the adjustment of the country to new regime will take may years while the experts will have to analyze whether the political life of the country will gain more benefits of its usage. Therefore, it is better to maintain the existence of the first past approach until the society adopts tin the clear and open manner about the decision to overcome it.
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