Most Americans see our version of democracy and think this is the “right” way to run a country. We tend to impose our views on other countries that are attempting to form their own democracies, although our presidential system might not be the best option out there. Both presidential democracy and parliamentary democracy have their benefits and downfalls, as any form of government does. But, the parliamentary system seems to be a more stable form of democracy.
One of the most highly emphasized issues in the United States is the separation of powers. In the American presidential democratic system, our powers are extremely separated. Almost too separated. Although the article is from 2013, the issues it discusses are still very prominent today. Would the U.S. Be Better off with a Parliament? highlights the enormous amount of gridlock that we have within our government. The article discusses whether other democratic systems, mainly the parliamentary democracy system, run in to the same type of gridlock that America does, and the answer is no. “We tried to think about why it is that other countries have had less difficulty in negotiating agreements,” says Boston University’s Cathie Jo Martin, who was co-chairwoman of the task force. “You don’t see these kinds of stalemates happening elsewhere” (Shapiro). They conclude that this tie-up is related to the “very strong separation of powers” (Shapiro).
Without this drastic separation of power, laws can be approved and put in to action at a much faster pace. This would allow for important laws, that can benefit the country, and regulations to be enacted quicker, and enforced faster. In a parliamentary system in the U.K. for example, “the majority party in the United Kingdom can enact policies with few checks from other branches of government” (O’Neil, Fields, Share 47). Some may see this as too much centralized power, and could lead to a dictatorship type of government. But in the United Kingdom that has not happened. They rely on “historical traditions” and “restrictions imposed by the European Union to keep the British government from abusing its power” (O’Neil, Fields, Share 47). So, the U.K. parliament isn’t doing whatever they please, whenever they please. They do have restrictions and limitations they must follow.
The author asked at the very end of the interview “how all of this looks from Europe, Risse in Berlin replies, “Pretty dysfunctional, I have to say” (Shapiro).
Link to Article:
O’Neil, Patrick H., Karl Fields, and Don Share. “United Kingdom.” Cases in Comparative Politics. Fifth ed. W.W. Norton, 2015. 47. Print
Shapiro, Ari. “Would The U.S. Be Better Off With A Parliament?” NPR. NPR, 12 Oct. 2013. Web. 20 Sept. 2015. <http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2013/10/12/232270289/would-the-u-s-be-better-off-with-a-parliament>.