Voting in the USA Compared to Voting in Germany

Comparison-Contrast: Voting in the USA Compared to Voting in Germany

Introduction

The United States is a presidential republic while Germany is a parliamentary republic. This is the basis of this research paper which seeks to compare and contrast between the voting in both countries. There are a few similarities in the political systems and voting styles of Germany and the United States of America. Their systems are very different and this explains why the differences in the voting and political organization of the two republics are more than the similarities. The differences are noted in the leadership structures and the political parties among others. The differences are also seen in the roles of the different leaders who are elected by the voters.

Similarities between the voting in Germany and the United States

Both Germany and the United States are federalist nations. A federal government is one whereby power is divided between the national or federal government which is usually strong and smaller states and local governments. The national government is the central government from where power is distributed to the smaller sub-divisions. In federalist countries, lots of powers are given to the states which exist within the country. The US is divided into many states which have administrative functions. However, all of them report to the National government. When it comes to voting, the votes are tallied from the states before the final count is given at the national level. In Germany, there are states and municipalities which are given tasks that they have to meet (Esser and Pfetsch, 2004). Like in the US, there is a central government which is the overall administrative body. The states and municipalities report to the central or national government which is headed by the Chancellor. The states and municipalities in Germany usually compete in the fulfilling of the responsibilities that they are given. The overall system which rules them is a complex one. It comprises of checks and balances.

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The governments in both Germany and USA have three branches. The branches are the executive, judiciary and legislature. The functions of the branches are similar in both countries. The judiciary is in charge of the legal systems in the countries. It deals with criminal justice and all the courts are under it. The legislature branch in both countries is concerned with the making and implementation of laws. The body that is mainly concerned with these tasks is the parliament which is known as Bundestag in Germany and Congress in the United States. The executive branches in the two countries are tasked with the execution of laws and policies made by the legislature.

Differences between the voting in Germany and the United States

In the United States, the voters directly elect the President. Their president is both the head of state and the head of government. The President in the United States is the most powerful leader and influences the military and foreign policies among other fields (Fowler, 2008). In Germany, the voters elect a federal parliament which is referred to as the Bundestag. The head of the government in the country is the Chancellor who is also voted in by the voters. The difference between the two countries is that unlike in the US where the president is both the head of government and the head of state, in Germany the Chancellor is the head of government and the president is the head of state. The president in Germany is not voted in like the Chancellor. He is elected by a convention known as the Bundesversammlung and his powers are only representative. There is also a parliament in the US which goes by the term Congress. The congress comprises of the Senate and the House of Representatives whose contributions are important in the making and implementation of policies in the country.

In the United States, the focus during elections is on individual politicians. The voters do not mostly consider the political parties that the aspirants use to vie. However, in Germany the different political parties are an area of concern. The major reason for this is because their head of government is not voted in direct elections by the electorate. The German political parties are homogenous meaning they have similar characteristics unlike the US political parties which are diverse. The numbers of parties that can be termed as serious in the US elections are two that is the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. In Germany, there are currently six political parties which produce aspirants in the elections.

More decisions are made at the state level in the United States as compared to the decisions made at the state-level in Germany (Gunlicks, 2011). The states in Germany are given powers over areas like the education sector, public safety among others. The other major decisions are made by the central government. In the US the states are given more mandate and powers to handle various sectors in the government. There is a noticeable difference in the role played by religion in the politics of both countries. The state in the US and the church are very different and operate as different bodies. Their constitution clearly outlines the variances between the two bodies. The government in Germany is not totally secular. Christian churches in the country pay tax to the government. However, there are some changes in the current world. Religion does not play an important role in the politics in Germany. The religious background of aspirants does not even matter to the voters. The United States have adopted a strategy of electing people to public offices after they have confirmed that they are Christians. They associate religion with good character, implying that to them religious leaders have good conducts.

In the US voting, the presidential candidates in the elections must meet the majority vote to win the presidential seat (Dalton, 2013). There is the popularity vote which is determined by the total number of votes for the candidates in the entire country. It is a cumulative of the votes from all the states in the US. A candidate can win the popular vote but fail the elections. To be a president, one must win the electoral vote. An example is the 2016 election where Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but did not become the president of the USA. The electoral vote is voted by representatives of the public. The American citizens elect the representatives or delegates according to their affiliation of the political parties who assemble and vote in the candidate of their choice. In Germany, this is not the case and it explains why there are more political parties. The winner in the elections is the one who manages to get more votes in the elections regardless of their political party.

The president in Germany is elected for a term of five year by a federal convention. A candidate who wins and becomes the president is qualified to contest for the same post for a second term. The chancellor, who is voted in by an absolute majority of the Bundestag has a four-year term to lead. Elections for the post are held after four years. In the US however, both the president and the vice president are elected on the same ticket. Their term is a four-year term implying that elections are held after every four years. The winning president and vice president in the country are eligible to contest for a second term.

Conclusion

In the comparison between the voting in Germany and the voting in the United States, there are more differences than similarities on the same. The thesis statement that Germany is a parliamentary republic and the United States is a presidential republic is proven to be true. The president in Germany does not have the powers that the president in the US has. His or her powers are just representative. The main similarity in the politics of both countries is that they have a main central government and sub-divisions known as states that are given the power to fulfill given responsibilities. Most of the other factors are differences which clearly stand out and prove that the political systems in both countries are widely varied. Besides the political system being diverse, the political aims of Germany and USA are also varied. One can therefore conclude that there is a huge variation between the voting and political systems in the two countries.

 

References

Dalton, R. J. (2013). Citizen politics: Public opinion and political parties in advanced industrial democracies.

Esser, F., & Pfetsch, B. (2004). Comparing political communication: Theories, cases, and challenges. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Fowler, R. B. (2008). Wisconsin votes: An electoral history. Madison, Wis: University of Wisconsin Press.

Gunlicks, A. B. (2011). Comparing liberal democracies: The United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the European Union.