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Outline the differences between the electoral systems for the US Presidency, the US Senate and the House of Representatives

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Outline the differences between the electoral systems for the US Presidency, the US Senate and the House of Representatives. What advantages did the framers of the constitution see in creating these differences? Do they continue to be advantageous or problematical in modern America? This essay will discuss the stated electoral systems, their purposes with regards to the framers of the constitution and their problems as three separate entities. As with any political system, problems with the issues of representation are inevitable. The problems of the electoral system in the US are clearly illustrated with the current Presidential elections but this will be discussed later in the essay. The concept of divided government and questions of popular mandate as well as the deviation from the original ideals and intentions of the constitution's framers will be discussed also. This essay will also explore the link between these three separate entities. Firstly, to tackle the issue of Presidential election. The population does not directly elect the presidency; an electoral college elects it. Each state plus the District of Columbia, has a number of members in the Electoral College equal to the number of congressmen and senators representing it. The President is voted for every four years and it is down to the individual states to decide how their Electoral College votes are cast. ...read more.


The two-year term was seen as a way of ensuring this, as the voters are unlikely to forgive and forget any major grievances that they had with a representative, in such a short time. As James Madison explains in 'Federalist No.57': "The elective mode of obtaining rulers is the characteristic policy of republican government. The means relied on this form of government for preventing their degeneracy are numerous and various. The most effectual one is such a limitation of the term of appointments as will maintain a proper responsibility to the people."8 The idea was that those elected to the House of Representatives would be directly responsible to the voters who put them there. It is worth noting though, that the framers concept of the voting franchise was much different than that of today. Native Americans, Blacks and women of any race were excluded from the franchise.9 This is also tied in with the other constitutional idea of no taxation without actual representation; this leads to virtual representation10, which is when those who actually vote are also seen to be voting for those who do not, either by right or by choice. So it can be seen that the framers' design of the voting system for the lower house was put in place to ensure that the section of government they saw as having the most popular influence in the republic, would be directly accountable to the people who had voted for them. ...read more.


The framers wished to avoid majoritarianism and the idea of partisan politics by creating a system of government based on the revolutionary idea, at the time, of republicanism but, with the political mood changing, the ideals of democracy have become prevalent and the changes in the electoral system are an essential and necessary part of this. 1 Asher, H.B.(1998). Presidential Elections and American Politics. (4th Ed.). USA. The Dorsey Press. P 315 2 Congressional Quarterly. (1997). Presidential Elections 1789-1996. Washington D.C. Congressional Quarterly Inc. p7 3 Kelly,A.H.(et al). (1983). The American Constitution. Its Origins and Development.(6th Ed).London. WW Norton & Co. p101. 4 Congressional Quarterly. (1997).p1 5 Asher. (1988).p317 6 McKeever, R. (et al). (1999). Politics USA. Essex. Prentice Hall.p190 7 Herrnson, P.S. (1995). Congressional Elections: Campaigning at Home and in Washington. Washington D.C. Congressional Quarterly Inc.p7 8 James Madison. Federalist No.57 in Lasser, W. (2000). Perspectives on American Politics. Boston. Houghton Mifflin.p274-5. 9 Mary Frances Berry in Arrington, K.G. (et al). (1992). Voting Rights in America: Continuing the Quest for Full Participation. Michigan. Leadership Conference Education Fund.p64 10 Kelly. (et al). (1983).p78 11 Davies, P.J. (1992) Elections USA. Manchester. Manchester University Press.p154 12 Mckeever. (et al). (1999).p184 13 Abramowitz, A.I. & Segal, J.A. (1995). Senate Elections. Michigan. University of Michigan Press.p10 14 McKeever (et al). (1999).p185 15 Abramowitz & Segal. (1995).p21 16 McKeever (et al). (1999).p185 17 Abramowitz & Segal. (1995).p228 ?? ?? ?? ?? Stuart Cole Mike Dawkins 1 POLI 3020 Government & Politics of the USA ...read more.

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