Futuribles Journal n° 261

Institutions

Vive le système électoral américain ?

The United States, which likes to think it is the embodiment of the democratic ideal and "leader of the world", has just been through several weeks of great confusion as a result of the controversies surrounding the outcome of the presidential election.
The press in Europe, especially in France, although concerned to see the world's most powerful nation weakened, has had a field day, as commentators have outdone one another in irony and criticisms of an "outdated, weird, undemocratic and inefficient political system".
Manuel Delamarre and Justin Vaïsse -without ignoring the difficulties involved- show how far the European commentators are wrong to underestimate the special role of law (the judges even more than the lawyers) and federalism in the American system. They then take their analysis a stage further, arguing that ultimately the American electoral system, with its mechanisms for protecting the interests of small states, might well be a model for Europe in the future. Thus, by countering the unjustified and exaggerated criticisms of European commentators, Delamarre and Vaïsse suggest that the way the Americans elect their president could one day be a valuable element in deciding how to choose a president of Europe.

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