Not just the mandate

…, it’s the powers and the term guarantee

The US Presidential Election, how exciting! Others will discuss the politics and political fallout, but I want to look at something else. Many will look at the failings of the electoral college and thus the glaringly obvious anti-democratic inertia of the Senate but like our consideration of Labour movement General Secretaries the problem is the powers not the mandate although in the USA, the mandate i.e. the electoral college, where each state gets one vote per congress representative, and one vote per senator thus preferring the views of people who live in states with a lower population, is problem.

The US Presidential elections have been settled via the electoral college usually on the basis of matching the popular vote, but the popular vote has rarely been decisive. This twitter thread looks at the last few and they rarely better our Brexit margin of 52-48 per-cent. The size of disenfranchised minorities is too large, the power of the winning coalition too broad and the nature of the decisions is such that expressing a change of mind becomes impossible. This is not right nor is it democratic.

In my article, “but democracy!”, I wrote,

Presidential systems based on the US model have [dual mandates] built in, as does the French system and on a smaller scale our system of Executive Mayors.  It should be necessary for a President to build a wide-ranging coalition to win, which should be a protection against the degeneration of Democracy, but history would suggest this is not the case. Where a society is split on critical social & economic issues, or religious or national identity issues, the “winner takes all” nature of Presidential systems and Plebiscites is a centripetal force on the unity of the polity. (This is powerfully identified in Juan Linz’s paper, Democracy: Presidential or Parliamentary, Does it make a difference?) I say,

Only a Parliament can represent the breadth of interests in a complex society, only a Parliament can negotiate popular compromises based on 2nd choices and changing priorities.

Dave Levy – but democracy!

But in both the UK & USA fundamental reform albeit of differing nature is required.

In the USA, the problem is the powers of the Presidency not the mandate, it’s the powers and strangely the term limit, but also the disproportionate power of the US Senate is becoming inappropriate as the growing majority now live in cities. …