Recently we have frequently talked about the US Elections everywhere: on TV news, front pages of newspapers and, for the youngest who are less interested than other generations in information around the world, on social networks like Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, instruments which have entered our lives some years ago.
But actually, how does the “American Election machine” work?
The American Presidential Elections have taken place every four years, since 1776, when the US declared independence from the UK, and last year they took place as well. The Americans chose their president and vice-president.
All is based on the 20th and the 23rd amendment:
In the US there are 2 big parties: the Democratic party and the Republican party: the first one is more liberal and open to innovation and minorities than the second.
They vote after the 1st Monday of November, on Tuesday (last year on 3rd November). The system is not as we expected; in fact, it is an indirect system: the citizens (who have the right to vote), vote for the 538 “General Electors”. Each state appoints electors according to its congressional delegation (in Senate and House of Representatives) and its population: more population means more electors and the “absolute majority” is determined by 270 electors (Biden in 2020 got 306 electors).
We can split the 50 states because their results in past elections take the name of “Democratic bastions”, like California and the east coast, and “Republican bastions” like the midwest and Florida. Some days after the general election the Elected President is proclaimed, but we have to wait at least one month for the Congress (composed by the higher and the lower chambers) to proclaim the president officially elected. And on 20th January the “Inauguration” of the new President and his Vice-president takes place.
This happens when all goes clear with no problems, as the majority of the elections in US history, but there might be some problems: in extreme cases the Supreme Court can intervene to sustain who it retains the presidential winner or loser.
But for the first time in history, on 7th January 2021, during the election of Joe Biden in Congress, the protesters appointed by Donald Trump invaded Capitol Hill to constrict the suspension of the election. This unprecedented event featured the stealing of many objects, from the Speaker’s lectern to her PC, an action punished by reclusion. On 20th January 2021, Washington appeared as a ghost town during Biden’s inauguration to prevent the risk of violent protests. That is generally how the Americans choose their president, so we can say that the US is a “Presidential Democracy”.
But if America works like this, in Italy how do we choose our president?
Easy, we cannot choose our president.
Let me explain:
Italian elections take place every five years. The last elections were in 2018 and the parties that participated were more than two: about 40, but only 8 of them entered the Italian parliament, because they did not receive enough votes from Italian electors, who preferred parties like M5S, PD and Lega. We can divide the parties into two wings: the left and the right one, from moderate to far-right.
Everyone of these parties has a “Secretary”, who is the most relevant person in it.
He or she candidates himself/herself as “Premier” or Prime Minister. If his/her party gets more than 40% of votes, the government will be made up exclusively of this party or will make an alliance with other parties to reach the “majority” in each chamber (Camera dei Deputati and Senato della Repubblica); the other parties, excluded by the majority, will compose the “minority”.
When two or more parties compose the majority, they choose together the Premier, because we cannot have two or more prime ministers simultaneously.
Also we have to say that the Premier has the executive power, but the person who has more power, like the military, is the President of the Republic, elected every 6 years by the two chambers.
Obviously, as the US, in Italy we have many problems, too: when someone declares “end” to their experience in the government, the major party has to search for a new majority in the chambers or organize anticipated elections.