Questions tagged [united-states]

Questions relating to the government or the politics of the United States of America

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Is the United States Electoral College constitutional?

A question that has long been standing in my mind is whether the Electoral College is constitutional. Republicans in California, or Democrats in Texas, for that matter, actually do not have a say in ...
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12 votes
1 answer
2k views

What are the differences between the Tea Party and the Republican Party?

To Republicans, the Tea Party movement is considered a separate organization espousing some Republican ideals. What are the particular idiosyncrasies that differentiate between the Republicans and the ...
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11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why is the president unable to grant a pardon for State offenses?

In the US, as in many modern countries, we have a presidential pardon. However, we also have many state government pardons. The constitution states and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and ...
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20 votes
3 answers
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Why are Sheriffs elected in United States?

In other parts of the world the police's chiefs are selected by the city mayor or the city council, but in almost all counties of United States they are elected. Why are they elected, and not ...
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2 votes
0 answers
160 views

Why hasn't the Senate's "Nuclear Option" been invoked? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: In the U.S., why does the majority party in a new Senate session always approve the filibuster rule? I have heard recently that there is (likely) a parliamentary procedure by ...
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  • 393
7 votes
1 answer
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What is the legal role for parties in the U.S.?

Article 21 of the German Basic Law states Political parties shall participate in the formation of the political will of the people. [...] Details shall be regulated by federal laws. ...and they are, ...
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15 votes
1 answer
3k views

What amendment to the U.S. Constitution removed the provision for slaves to count as three fifths of a person?

One of the compromises in the original U.S. Constitution provided that slaves counted as three fifths of a person for the purposes of computing populations and thus allocating seats to the House of ...
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  • 1,547
10 votes
4 answers
1k views

Are the viable political alternatives in the US (e.g. Democrats and Republicans) considered (far) left and (far) right?

This question phrases the US political situation as: Today the federal government is in a seemingly interminable pendulum effect going between far-right and far-left. Coming from Europe and ...
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5 votes
3 answers
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How does Social Security work in the United States?

There are political discussions in the United States regarding whether Social Security is maintainable over time. I want to know how the Social Security system works in United States, and what the ...
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4 votes
3 answers
420 views

Was the war in Iraq legal according to the US law?

Is it true that the recent war conducted by The United States in Iraq was undeclared and illegal? Have there been any rulings by the US courts on this? What are the arguments for and against the ...
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5 votes
2 answers
404 views

What do the US and Australian governments gain from a US Marine presence in Darwin?

The US has decided to establish a US Marine presence in Darwin. What do benefits do both governments gain from this?
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18 votes
3 answers
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Is there any mechanism in USA to prevent someone from voting by mail AND in person?

Theoretically speaking, there are mechanisms that prevent someone from voting twice (you are only allocated to vote to one polling place based on your residence address, and that polling place has a ...
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9 votes
5 answers
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Why does the United States have voting districts?

Why do we in the United States have voting districts? Wouldn't it be better to allow people to vote wherever is most convenient and then group relevant votes based on the voters' addresses? Since we ...
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8 votes
3 answers
13k views

May the United States Congress remove any secretary?

Is it possible for a United States Secretary to be removed by the House of Representatives or the Senate?
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9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why was the Electoral College the system selected by the founding fathers?

What advantages did the founding fathers see in electoral college that made them pick it over other potential voting systems?
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20 votes
3 answers
2k views

What would be required for states to split off and become their own nation?

What would need to happen for a state such as California or Texas to split off and form its own independent nation? Who would need to agree and what would need passing (bills etc.)?
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20 votes
2 answers
50k views

What are the conditions required for a territory to become part of United States?

This question is very related to Commonwealth United States Insular Areas, where I asked in detail about the Puerto Rico (and other areas) situation. Now I am interested to know which are the legal ...
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14 votes
4 answers
2k views

Implications of governments borrowing from a central bank rather than issuing money directly

Early in the history of the United States the political battle was fought between those who favored a strong central bank of the United States and others who felt the government reserved the right to ...
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6 votes
1 answer
483 views

What is the constitutional status of military bases?

Does the United States Constitution have any amendments related to foreign bases? Technically foreign bases aren't U.S. territory, but they must have some laws.
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6 votes
2 answers
95 views

Analyzing Governmental Debt [closed]

When looking at the Federal debt there are a lot of ways to interpret the data. You can look at the dollar amount which is currently ~16 trillion or you can analyze it as a percent of the GDP. Are ...
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7 votes
1 answer
3k views

To what extent has the idea of "laboratories of democracy" worked in the US?

From how I understand it, the idea of "laboratories of democracy" in the US is that state and local governments can better experiment with policies than the entire country can. So we can see what ...
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3 votes
0 answers
82 views

What are the practical differences between a US Senator from a party, and an Independent Senator caucusing with that party? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do independents choose a party to caucus with? In the USA, you can be elected to the Senate as an "Independent". Notable examples include Bernie Sanders and Joseph ...
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13 votes
1 answer
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In the U.S., why does the majority party in a new Senate session always approve the filibuster rule?

In the U.S. Senate, the Senate rules apparently do not apply to the first day of a new Senate session until the rules are voted in by a simple majority. Given this, and that the filibuster comes from ...
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  • 1,547
19 votes
1 answer
1k views

In the U.S., how can the filibuster be invoked without continued speeches?

In the U.S. Senate, the filibuster allows a single senator to effectively block a vote by way of the senate rules that allow for unlimited debate, but now, the senate rules have somehow been modified ...
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  • 1,547
6 votes
2 answers
448 views

Constitutionality of the Income Tax

There is a growing movement in the United States of Americans that call into question the constitutionality of the Federal Income tax in the modern age. Understanding that the income tax first came ...
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13 votes
3 answers
11k views

How do independents choose a party to caucus with?

I know that several independents in the US Senate (ie. Bernie Sanders) caucus with the Democrats. Officially, what does that mean? How do independents choose whom to caucus with (both ideologically ...
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  • 393
5 votes
2 answers
642 views

What are the conditions and benefits of U.S. insular properties like Puerto Rico? [closed]

I always wanted to know which is the legal status of the associated states of United States like Puerto Rico. Who is the state head, of this kind of territory? Why can't they vote for the United ...
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9 votes
4 answers
2k views

Why are political party memberships public in the US?

It seems strange that a country like the USA that has anonymous voting has the government knowing if you are a member of a political party: " In many states, election officials disclose how many ...
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9 votes
1 answer
12k views

How does early voting work, and what are the pros and cons?

During the 2012 general election, it seemed to me like early voting was getting more attention than in previous campaigns. The Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, even voted early himself (which is a ...
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  • 673
14 votes
2 answers
5k views

What criteria does a US Presidential candidate need to meet in order to appear on the ballot?

The eligibility requirements to run for the office of President are: You must be a native born citizen You must be at least 35 years of age You must have lived in the US for at least 14 years (...
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  • 718
33 votes
4 answers
4k views

In the Electoral College, why can electors vote in contrast to their pledge ('faithless')?

The United States uses an Electoral College system, where electors pledge to cast their vote in a particular way. However, these electors have the ability to vote in a manner that directly contradicts ...
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  • 718
26 votes
4 answers
79k views

Why do the supreme court justices have a life term period?

The justices of the Supreme Court of the United States is composed by chief justices which have a life-term period on that position after they are "elected". I have always asked to myself why some ...
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16 votes
3 answers
21k views

Why and how is the Vice President elected in U.S?

Why is the Vice President elected in the US? Why isn't he chosen by the President like any other secretary? Is there any important reason why the writers of the Constitution made that choice? How is ...
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20 votes
1 answer
777 views

What is the "Fiscal Cliff" in the United States?

I've heard a ton of information on the Fiscal Cliff of 2013, and I was wondering what it is, and how it will affect the country?
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11 votes
1 answer
817 views

How does the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) differ from Massachusetts health care reform (Romneycare)?

These two laws at face value have many similarities, but it is difficult to spot the differences. How are these two bills alike, and how are they different?
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12 votes
2 answers
640 views

In the United States, what is the difference between a registered and unregistered lobbyist?

If a lobbyist in the US is simply an unelected person who advocates for legislation, what is the purpose in registering them? And with whom do they register? Are registered lobbyists given special ...
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  • 465
24 votes
4 answers
3k views

Why does the US Congress have two chambers?

Why does the US have separate houses (House of Representatives and Senate) to form Congress? Put another way, what is the reasoning behind a bicameral legislature in the USA?
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  • 1,052
31 votes
4 answers
18k views

Who was the last US President to oversee a reduction in debt?

As of 2012, the United States currently has ~16 trillion in debt. The last five presidents have all added to the overall debt*. Who is the last US president to decrease the total amount of debt ...
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