Politics of the United States

The politics of the United States function within a framework of a constitutional federal republic and presidential system, with various levels and branches of power. Under the U.S. Constitution, the federal government is the national government of the country, composed of three distinct branches that share powers. The U.S. Congress forms the legislative branch, a bicameral legislative body comprising the House of Representatives and the Senate. The executive branch is headed by the President of the United States, who serves as country's head of state and head of government. And the Judiciary branch forms the third branch, composed of the Supreme Court and lower federal courts, and exercises judicial power.

Politics of the United States
Polity typeFederal presidential constitutional republic
ConstitutionUnited States Constitution
FormationMarch 4, 1789; 233 years ago (1789-03-04)
Legislative branch
NameCongress
TypeBicameral
Meeting placeCapitol
Upper house
NameSenate
Presiding officerKamala Harris, Vice President & President of the Senate
AppointerDirect Election
Lower house
NameHouse of Representatives
Presiding officerNancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives
AppointerFirst-past-the-post voting
Executive branch
Head of State and Government
TitlePresident
CurrentlyJoe Biden
AppointerElectoral College
Cabinet
NameCabinet of the United States
Current cabinetCabinet of Joe Biden
LeaderPresident
Deputy leaderVice President
AppointerPresident
HeadquartersWhite House
Ministries15
Judicial branch
NameFederal judiciary of the United States
CourtsCourts of the United States
Supreme Court
Chief judgeJohn Roberts
SeatSupreme Court Building

Each of the 50 individual state governments have the power to make laws within their jurisdictions that are not granted to the federal government nor denied to the states in the U.S. Constitution. Each state also has three branches: an executive branch headed by a Governor, a legislative body, and judicial branch. The constitutions of the various states differ in some details but generally follow a pattern similar to that of the federal Constitution. At the local level, the states are further divided into counties or county-equivalents, whose specific governmental powers vary widely between the states. Local governments also include individual municipalities, townships, school districts, and special districts.

Officials are popularly elected at the federal, state and local levels, with the major exception being the President, who is instead elected indirectly by the people through the Electoral College. U.S. politics is dominated by a two-party system, with the Democratic Party and the Republican Party since the American Civil War, although other parties have existed. Since the mid-20th Century, the Democratic Party has generally supported an American liberalism platform, while the Republican Party has generally supported an American conservatism platform. However, both parties have no formal central organization at the national level that controls membership, and thus each have factions and individuals that disagree with the majority of the positions.

Suffrage is nearly universal for citizens 18 years of age and older. However, concerns about political representation persist around the country. Although they have local governments, the District of Columbia and territories do not have voting membership in the U.S. Congress, nor are the latter allowed under the U.S. Constitution to participate in the Electoral College to elect the President. A number of corporations, wealthy individuals, special interest groups, and other political pressure groups spend large amounts of money on political campaigns and individual candidates and officeholders, attempting to influence public policy in their favor over the majority of citizens. There are concerns that political representatives generally do not share the same demographic backgrounds, characteristics, racial or gender makeup of the U.S. as a whole. The Economist Intelligence Unit rated United States a "flawed democracy" in 2021.[1]


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