The American political system is complex, and the president's direct election itself, undoubtedly the federal body with the greatest powers, is not so simple to understand. The United States of America is a federal presidential republic that is, based on the union of several states, each with its own self-government.
The American constitution was signed on September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, and then supplemented by a substantial number of successive amendments. In the US, the liberal principle of division of powers is in force. Thus the president, who also has much higher power than his foreign colleagues, is counterbalanced by the legislative and judicial powers.
The legislative power is exercised by Congress, combining the two assemblies. The House of Representatives is the lower house, made up of 435 deputies with at least 25 years of age, elected on a proportional basis with respect to the state of origin (for which populous states such as California, Texas, or New York have more deputies). The Senate is the upper house, made up of 100 senators, two elected for each state for six years. The important fact is that the legislative function gives prominence to the Senate, which can amend or reject proposals voted in the House. The congressional elections are out of phase to avoid coinciding entirely with the election of the president (the so-called mid-term) to have effective control over the latter.
In fact, he is the holder of the executive power together with his administration, for which he is entirely dominant and responsible. The president is elected on a popular basis every four years, but here is the difference with direct elections from other countries, such as France. In the USA, the president is elected by a constituency made up of representatives from each state, corresponding to the same number of deputies and senators sent by that state.
The pact between the colonies, sanctioned through the first constitution written in the Common Law tradition of modern history, is responsible not only for the invention of the federal state but also for the birth of the first example of a presidential system.
Without a king, the Americans had given birth to an elective monarch who represented the executive institution whose origin and duration was expected to be completely separate from the legislative. Congress was unable to bring down the president (through some vote trust) was, in turn, free from the danger of being dissolved on the initiative of the executive.
The form of government adopted in the United States of America, therefore, is the presidential form of government, which is characterized by the prevalence of a monochrome executive body. It concentrates in itself the function of Head of Government and that of Head of State and for the absence of a fiduciary relationship between executive and legislative.
The American Constitution provides for a separation between the executive, legislative and judicial functions, both at the federal level and at the level of the Member States its attributes:
- executive power to the President
- legislative power in Congress which is bicameral (a Chamber representing the people, elected in constituencies included in each State, and the other Chamber representing the States equally)
- judicial power to the judiciary organized both at federal and state level
This separation is balanced by a form of coordination known as "checks and balances.” In fact, if the rule declares the participation of one body in the functions of the other two unconstitutional. The principle of checks and balances establishes a dense network of relationships on the basis of which each body can control and, therefore, interfere with the activity of the other two.
- The congress initiative is balanced by the veto power of the executive
- The executive, in turn, undergoes a control of the Senate both in foreign policy and in the power of appointment
- The judges of the Supreme Court, appointed by the President with The mandatory and binding opinion of the Senate, control the regulatory function through the judicial review and judge the President himself, in competition with the Congress, in the event of impeachment.
It can, therefore, be said that the US form of government is characterized by the conflict and competition that result in a high degree of cooperation in order to obtain the best result in the general interest.
A concern of the Founding Fathers was to ensure respect for the principle of representativeness through the popular derivation of the various constitutional bodies. Therefore the Senate and the House of Representatives and the President of the other are electives and exercise their respective functions for a period.
The "Federalist" number 49 thus expressed himself regarding the need for legitimization and the continuous support of the people for the constitutional organs. This way of reasoning certainly does not lack strength, and it serves, without less, to prove the need to outline and leave open a constitutional way to popular consultations, to be used in certain circumstances of particular importance and exceptionality. But there are formidable obstacles to the proposal to make use of the people as an ordinary resource capable of keeping the various constitutional bodies within their limits.
The citizens of the United States, therefore, designate the holders of the offices, are called to express a judgment on the management of the power that they have entrusted to them (recall). But, once placed in the duties, the elected person enjoys a full guarantee of permanence in office since the institution of trust is totally unknown (obviously the exception for crimes punishable by impeachment is an exception). It should also be noted that for the highest offices of the judiciary, the method of appointment by the executive and of a permanent office in office was chosen.
According to article II, section 1 of the constitution, executive power is entrusted to the President of the United States of America.
The presidential term is four years, and, since 1951, with the entry into force of amendment XXII, the President is re-eligible only for a second term (the Founding Fathers, in fact, had not imposed limits on re-eligibility).
Eligibility requirements are:
- citizenship by birth
- not less than 35 years old
- the US residency requirement for at least fourteen years
The President's action is facilitated by the guarantee of stability offered by the fixed-term office. However, problems may arise, especially if following the midterm elections, the President and the congressional majority are the expressions of different political guidelines and lack of will of cooperation between the two bodies.
It must be said that the President, as the owner, albeit not exclusively, of the political direction function as well as responsible for the concrete application of the laws, ended up acquiring a clear pre-eminence over the other constitutional bodies, so much, so that gives its name to the same form of government.
Feb 13, 2020