The United States has a federal system of government.

The more interesting aspect is how Americans vote thrice for the federal government.

First, Americans, via the electoral college, vote for the president.

Each state, in proportion to its population, has the electoral votes.

And those electoral votes are awarded to the presidential candidate getting the popular votes in that state.

This is mostly true except some states do it in their quirky ways.

Now, some states are majority Democrats like California.

And some are majority Republican like Texas.

In such cases, the votes practically don’t matter.

Then, there are swing states like Florida and Ohio.

These are the states whose electoral votes determine the outcome.

Usually, the winner of the electoral vote is the winner of the popular vote as well.

Second, Americans vote for their senators. A senate is equivalent to the “Upper House” in other democracies.

50 states. Each state gets two senators. Both senators are supposed to represent the interests of the state.

This ensures over-representation for small states like New Jersey and Delaware over more populous states like Texas and California.

Third, Americans vote for their Congressmen/Congresswomen. Congress is similar to the “Lower House” in other democracies.

There are 535 of them.

The Congressmen are supposed to represent the interests of their Congressional district.

This ensures that sparsely populated districts are well represented.

In some democracies like India and Israel, the power of the president is limited. And the real power is in the hand of the Prime Minister.

That’s not the case in the US.

The president of the United States is a Defense Minister and a Foreign Minister combined.

And then the President has legislative powers too.

He can veto a bill multiple times.

And then it requires a super-majority of legislators to pass.

In some democracies like Israel or India, the President can veto a bill only once.

Further, it is entirely possible for the President, the winner of the electoral vote to be from one party.

And Senate as well as Congress majority to be from another party.

Such a situation can lead to gridlock.

In some ways, this gridlock is a feature of American democracy.

This ensures more legislation at the state level than at the federal level.

For example, one state might have more lax gun laws.

Another might have more lax abortion laws.

There is way more power in the hands of the state and municipal government in the United States than in other democracies.

Speaking of parties, there are only two dominant ones.

Democrat and Republican.

Interestingly, they internally follow a system of elections too!

But that’s a post for another day!