Map­ping a po­lit­i­cal sys­tem

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Saadula Aqrawi

The United States is one of the most pop­u­lous and pow­er­ful coun­tries in the world. Sit­u­ated be­tween the Pa­cific and At­lantic oceans, bor­dered by Canada to the north and Mex­ico to the south with the na­tion>s cap­i­tal at Wash­ing­ton DC, the United States of Amer­ica is the third largest coun­try in the world with a to­tal area of 3,794,066 square miles.

With a pop­u­la­tion in the re­gion of 311,592,000, the United States is also the third most pop­u­lous coun­try in the world. Al­most 79% of the en­tire Amer­i­can pop­u­la­tion lives in ur­ban ar­eas, with New York City, Los An­ge­les, Chicago, Houston and Phoenix con­sti­tut­ing the five most pop­u­lous cities in the coun­try. While the United States is a di­verse na­tion, the ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans are de­scended from Euro­pean im­mi­grants; African Amer­i­cans are the largest mi­nor­ity group, fol­lowed by Asian Amer­i­cans.

The United States is a fed­er­a­tion of fifty states and one fed­eral dis­trict: Wash­ing­ton, Dis­trict of Colombia. Forty-eight of the fifty states make up the con­tigu­ous United States, with Alaska, though still part of the North Amer­i­can con­ti­nent, sep­a­rated from the lower forty-eight by Canada. The fifti­eth state, and the most re­cent ad­di­tion to the union, is Hawaii, a chain of is­lands lo­cated in the Pa­cific Ocean.

The United States also pos­sesses five ma­jor un­in­cor­po­rated over­seas ter­ri­to­ries: Puerto Rico and the United States Vir­gin Is­lands in the Caribbean, and Amer­i­can Samoa, Guam, and the North­ern Mar­i­ana Is­lands in the Pa­cific.

Po­lit­i­cally, the cur­rent two-party sys­tem has en­cour­aged the rise of the most ex­treme can­di­dates, tak­ing ra­tional mod­er­ates out of the na­tional con­ver­sa­tion and giv­ing too much power to ex­trem­ists in both par­ties. Much of the prob­lem is ac­tu­ally in­sti­tu­tional in na­ture: for ex­am­ple, the way the pri­maries sys­tem works means that in­de­pen­dent vot­ers in a lot of states are essen­tially un­rep­re­sented in choos­ing the two can­di­dates who ap­pear on the gen­eral elec­tion bal­lot. As a re­sult, each party spits out more ex­treme can­di­dates than would be elected if ev­ery el­i­gi­ble voter chose their top two pref­er­ences. A sec­ond prob­lem re­lates to the ger­ry­man­der­ing of elec­toral dis­tricts, on the House side at least. Once you start play­ing with elec­toral bound­aries for po­lit­i­cal gain, you are more likely to be chal­lenged by some­one who is even more lib­eral, or con­ser­va­tive, than you are. As a re­sult, as a mem­ber of Congress, you al­ways have to pro­tect your more con­ser­va­tive or lib­eral flank.

It is not enough to de­scribe your­self as ‘not a Repub­li­can’ or ‘not a Demo­crat’, be­cause that>s what in­de­pen­dents do—and a large and grow­ing seg­ment of the Amer­i­can pop­u­la­tion now de­scribes it­self that way. But it is hard to or­ga­nize peo­ple who de­scribe them­selves as ‘not some­thing’. The party cores stand for a se­ries of prin­ci­ples that I would ar­gue take the best of each party. The Cen­tre stands for keep­ing what we like about the Repub­li­cans and Democrats and cut­ting off the tails--un­for­tu­nately, those tails tend to be in charge of the sys­tem right now.

Some think the sys­tem is bro­ken; in fact, I’d say most peo­ple are go­ing to say it is. Which begs the ques­tion: Are you pre­pared to do some­thing about it?

It re­ally comes down to the kind of peo­ple who are ex­press­ing how un­happy they are at back­yard bar­be­cues and church pic­nics get­ting mo­bi­lized around a dif­fer­ent way of do­ing things.

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