In the electoral system adopted by the United States, the concept of “electoral colleges” comes into prominence. As per this system, the electorate is divided according to their state of residence and each state among the total of fifty states is a separate battleground for the presidential candidates. While this system has its merits and de-merits, it serves the American democracy well. The American population is not evenly distributed across its geography. Hence, the concept of electoral colleges ensures that even the sparsely populated states attract the attention of the presidential candidates, who would otherwise be overlooked as candidates vie for votes in densely populated regions. Given that the British geography and the distribution of its citizens is much more even, the popular mandate alone is sufficient for winning elections. Again, while the two election processes are quite different, they serve their respective democracies quite well (Hewitt, 197).
While democracy as a system of political governance has come to be accepted as the only just and stable form, each democratic country is facing a set of crisis with respect to its electoral systems. The same applies to the British and American systems as well. As a renowned political analysts points out,
“In the not-too-distant future these societies will need to deal with issues that may require extensive changes to life-style and social organization, issues such as global warming, terrorism, religious conflict, energy shortages, war. None of these “democratic” systems does well in focusing the attention of a large enough proportion of the population on a problem and giving people suggesting possible solutions an opportunity to mobilize enough public support to carry any solution out.” (Kalleberg, 1966)
The electoral system of the United States puts a limit on the number of terms a President can continue in Presidency, whereas the British electoral system does not impose similar restrictions on the Prime Minister-ship. In the case of the former, the rationale was that the limitation will give opportunities for other eligible candidates to represent the public in the highest office. But overall, in spite of such checks and balances, the American system seems to have under-achieved. For instance, the U.S. is the biggest contributor to the global warming phenomena. It is also the country with the widest gap between the affluent and the poor. It also leads the world in the nuclear arms race. All these results have come about overcoming public opinion against such developments, which does not speak much of the world’s leading democracy and its electoral system. A similar inference could be made of the British system as well, which many analysts believe to be the “junior partner” to the United States, in diplomatic efforts across the globe.
GA Almond , Comparative Political Systems, – The Journal of Politics, 1956
C Hewitt , Democracy and Social Democracy on Equality in Industrial Societies: A Cross-National Comparison, American Sociological Review, 1977
CJ Anderson, CA Guillory , Political Institutions and Satisfaction with Democracy: A Cross-National Analysis of Consensus, The American Political Science Review, 1997
AL Kalleberg, The Logic of Comparison: A Methodological Note on the Comparative Study of Political Systems, World Politics, 1966