Subject Advice

US and UK politics

 Contact the adviser

Paul Carter

Paul graduated in Politics and Economics in 1970 before embarking on a career with industry which was preceded by his first visit to the US for the summer when Richard Nixon beat Hubert Humphrey to the White House.

He was bitten by the bug of the US political scene and has maintained close study of it ever since, helped by many visits to the US on both work and leisure. This has led to him giving talks to several U3a large and small groups about how the US elects its politicians.

About US and UK Politics

The US and the UK contrast in many ways, which he finds fascinating. Both countries aspire to democracy, but go about it in quite different ways

The U S has major elections every two years and elects a new President every 4 years; the next being in 2024. So how does it work ? What is the President’s job? How do you get elected President? How do the parties work? What’s likely to happen in the run up to 2024?

In the US the President is both political leader and Head of State. Here we have a monarch as Head of State and the Prime Minister as political leader. Which approach works better?

The UK’s system is quite different. The job of Prime Minister does not correspond to that of the President and our political parties do not resemble the Democrats and Republicans.

Our constitution is a  mixture of legislation, precedent  and custom. The US constitution is written, but its interpretation is constantly challenged.

The US is also a federation. States have considerable autonomy in legislation, taxation and judicial structures. There is frequently argument between the Federal government and states as to where the boundaries are.

We, on the other hand, are trying to find the balance between central Westminster rule and the remit of the devolved nations.

So many differences and yet we both claim to be democracies!

What can we learn? How much does what happened in US politics affect our lives? I’d love to explore those issues with you.

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