“The American political system is nearly unique in the world”

The American political system is nearly unique in the world. While most democracies use some version of a parliamentary system that vests most power in a representative body chosen in a national election, with the majority party or parties selecting the prime minister, the American system sets up a blisteringly exciting presidential election that allocates only part of the power to the winner. (Some democracies have a combined presidential and parliamentary model.) Separate votes are held for both the Senate and the House of Representatives, for governors, for state legislatures, and, if you want to get technical about it, for local offices, school boards, water boards, mosquito abatement districts, and so on. For a nation that doesn’t much like to vote, we sure do schedule a lot of elections. And we set them at all sorts of odd times sure to perplex voters.

Raphael J. Sonenshein, “What Ferguson Can Learn From Los Angeles”, Jewish Journal (5-11 September 2014), 14.