Structural deficiencies in politics

In England and Canada and most parlimentary democracies, the Prime Minister is the person with the most seats in the House of Parliament and is almost always a member himself.

That means that most voters only indirectly vote for the leader of their country.  Their vote is in effect a vote for both their MP choice and his leader. 

That has advantages and disadvantages.

The US system has a separate vote for leader.  That has advantages and disadvantages.

One of the key disadvantages is coming to the forefront in recent years.

In the parlimentary system, the leaders of the legislative factions must be on good behaviour, in the hope that they will become prime minister if they carry the most seats next time. 

They do not get many “next time’s”.  After one or two election losses they are usually gone. 

The party leader is elected by the party, not by their faction in parliament. 

Pelosi, Boehner, Reid and McConnell will never be president, not in a national race and because it is not a parlimentary system, even if they win every seat in their assemby they will not become president, and without the other assembly, might not even overcome a veto.

So the most they can aspire to is what they already are.

Their caucus elects them, their party generally has no say.

The people who achieve such positions usually do in large part because of seniority.

Presidents are usually former governors and when their experience is legislative, the more experienced legislators usually lose presidential contests.  So once an experienced legislator you don’t expect to do better than majority leader.

It is a structural incentive to misbehave and pander and protect turf.  It makes caucus leaders their caucuses b*tch. Also vice vera, because anybody going after the boss better be sure to win or they’ll get stuck on some committee about potatoes.

So if either the caucus leader or minions get focused on doing the right thing or winning elections in swing districts they risk losing status.  Cohesion for self preservation becomes more important than election strategy or sound policy.


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