The winner takes it all

Thinking about the american way. The american character.
It's in the politics, it's in everything. Second place counts for nothing. The US is a winner take all democracy. It took me a while to understand parliamentary democracy. I've been living in Spain for a while and I finally understand. But way back in 2008 when Spanish PM ran for a second term with his PSOE party and defeated the PP's Mariano Rajoy, afterwards, I saw Rajoy still in congress and wondered what the hell he was still doing there. "Didn't he lose the election?" And that was my lesson.
I began to realize how unfair the american system really is. At all levels. Take the 2016 election for example. Donald Trump became president with less votes than HRC. That's just the way it is, because it's not really a national election but 50 small ones that choose the president.
But the same thing happens at the local level. You have 2 or 3 candidates vying it out for a senate seat. One will win. The losing side, those voters, although technically represented by whoever wins the seat, their issues aren't really represented.
That's what's interesting about Spain, Germany, the UK, small parties can't sometimes matter. (Sometimes too much, as we see in Spain with nationalist parties from the Basque country and Catalunya having outsized influence, but the problem is that Spain is not a federation like Germany...)

There's no perfect system but more and more you come to realize that the american way leads more to division than consensus and is easy to manipulate public opinion against one side or the other. The biggest political party in the US is actually those who abstain from voting. In a country with a population that now stands near 330 million there are about 260 million elegible voters, that is people over 18. Out of those, around 58% voted.  

If you look at western european democracies, campaigns are very short and all candidates are publicly financed in general (at least in Spain). Candidates don't have to raise crazy amounts of money just to be able to run.
So anyway, yeah. After thinking that the US had the best system in the world because I think it's great that you actually vote for a person and not a platform or party, I've come round to thinking that maybe the other way isn't bad at all. You actually vote for a party that represents your issues and they get to actually go to congress, and the bigger parties sometimes need their votes to be able to get legislation done.

So I think that US politics refers american character. That being said, Americans in general have a greater sense of fairness it seems to me than people in Spain. But that's for another post.


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