United States flag United States: Economic and Political Overview

The political framework of the United States

Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Joe Biden (assumed office 20 January 2021) - Democratic Party
Vice President: Kamala Harris (assumed office 20 January 2021) - Democratic Party
Next Election Dates
Presidential: November 2024
Senate: 8 November 2022
House of Representatives: 8 November 2022
Current Political Context

2021 started with a mob of pro-Trump demonstrators assaulting the U.S. Capitol in an effort to stop lawmakers from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election, which saw the victory of Democrats’ candidate Joe Biden. The elected president was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States at the end of January together with the first female vice-president, Kamala Harris. Much of the political scene was dominated by the fight against and the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as by the withdrawal of U.S. army from Afghanistan at the end of August, which favoured the takeover of the Taliban terrorist group. Right after, Australia’s decision (amid the so-called “Aukus” pact between Australia, the UK and the U.S.) to cancel a multi-billion dollar deal to buy French submarines, preferring American military hardware instead, resulted in a diplomatic crisis with Paris.
The Democrats Party has been losing popularity and performed poorly in the November 2021 off-year election. Mid-term elections are scheduled for November 2022: the Republicans’ control in either congressional chamber would pose a risk to the already fragile scope for Biden to pass his legislative agenda.

Main Political Parties
Two political parties dominate politics:
- The Democratic Party: socially progressive, favours government intervention to temper the market economy
- The Republican Party (also known as the Grand Old Party, GOP): socially conservative, supports free-market capitalism and emphasises national defence.
There are other parties such as the Reform Party, the Libertarian Party, the Green Party, the Constitution Party, the Natural Law Party, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the Working Class Party, and the Working Families Party.
Executive Power
The President is the Chief of State, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and the Head of Government. The President is elected by an electoral college (whose members are elected directly from each state) to serve a four-year term. These powers are checked by the U.S. Congress. The Cabinet is appointed by the President and subject to approval by the Senate.
Legislative Power
The legislature is bicameral in the United States. The Congress consists of the Senate (the upper house) and the House of Representatives (lower house). The Senate has the power to confirm or reject presidential appointments and to ratify treaties. It is composed of 100 senators. The House of Representatives has the sole right to initiate revenue bills, although they may be amended or rejected by the Senate. It is composed of 435 members. The President has the power to veto the legislation passed by the Congress, but the Congress can override the veto with a two-thirds vote.
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
44/180
 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Free
Political Freedom:
2/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

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Latest Update: November 2022

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