“In the United States, it is not officially regulated that only two parties can exist”, explains the Americanist Manon Portos Minett. The sociologist Maurice Duverger described in the 1950s that the American elections and the process of this winner takes all can be called. The party with the most votes wins the election. When there are only two parties, naturally you as the party have the best chance of winning.”
More than two parties can therefore participate in the elections. In practice, however, this rarely happens. Republicans and Democrats enjoy a monopoly position, limiting the impact of smaller parties.
If small parties have an impact, it can also be disruptive. “It is possible that people will vote for a small party, who otherwise would have voted for a large party, says American expert Maarten van Rossem. “As a result, there is a chance that this large party will lose to its competitor, because additional percentage needed to win awarded to the minor party. This happened, for example, in the 2000 elections.”
There has been a lot of media reporting lately about the state of democracy in America. Although he is under pressure, he is not completely lost yet, according to Van Rossem. “To some degree, the United States is a democracy. It’s relatively democratic at the local level. Think about choosing the sheriff or the school board. But looking at the federal structure of the whole, American democracy is not there doesn’t actually do much.”
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