USA Political System – An Overview.

USA Political System – An Overview.

System of government

The United States is a federal political structure of 50 states plus the District of Columbia. The government is separated in three branch: the executive, the legislative and the judiciary.

The President of the United States

The President of the United States heads the executive branch. He is elected every four years through a national contest by universal suffrage. He is not directly elected by the people but by ¨Electors¨ representing each State, whose number is equal to that state’s congressional delegation (one for each member of the House of Representatives plus two Senators). A State ‘winner’ takes all Electors’ vote of that State.  The Presidential Candidate that receives a majority of 270 or more Electors votes out of the total 538 is elected President. The election is held on the Tuesday of the first full week every fourth year. The next presidential and congressional elections will be held on 8 November 2016.

The Congress

The Congress is the legislature branch. It is composed of 535 members divided between two chambers: the Senate (100) and the House of Representatives (435).  Each State is represented by

Two Senators, elected for six years.

Representatives in the House,  elected for two years. In the House there are five non-voting delegates who represents American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, US Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Congress has sole powers to financial outlays.

Legislation must be approved by a majority in both chambers, then by the President, to become law. 

The Supreme Court

is the judiciary body in the United States and leads the judicial branch. There is no term limit for justices, who serve after nomination by the President and confirmation in the Senate.  The Court is the highest tribunal of the United States. It has the authority to invalidate legislation or executive actions which it deems to be unconstitutional.  

Political parties

Currently, The United States has two major parties that draw the majority of votes:

The Democratic Party. The Democratic Party originated from the party of Thomas Jefferson in the late 1700s.

The Republican Party was a coalitionled by Abraham Lincoln in the 1850s.

Here is a representation of the structure of the United States governing system. Source: Wikipedia

Political_System of the United States

Videos that summarize or give you a little more…

Electing a US President in Plain English

(3 min. 42 sec.)

The Three Branches of Government: How They Function – preview

( 9 min. 7 sec.)

If you prefer, you can read the transcript:

Transcript – The Three branches of Government