Politics of the United States
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"And so tonight—to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans—I ask for your support."
"There are known knowns" (2002) --Donald Rumsfeld
Politics of the United States takes place in the framework of a presidential, federal republic where the President of the United States (the head of state and head of government), United States Congress, and judiciary share federal powers, and the federal government shares sovereignty with the state governments. Federal and state elections generally take place within the lines of a two-party system, although this is not enshrined in law.
The executive branch is headed by the President and is independent of the legislature. Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Judicial power is exercised by the judicial branch (or judiciary), composed of the Supreme Court and lower federal courts. The judiciary's function is to interpret the United States Constitution as well as federal laws and regulations. This includes resolving disputes between the executive and legislative branches. The federal government of the United States was established by the Constitution. American politics has been dominated by two parties, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, since the American Civil War, although other parties have also existed.
Major differences between the political system of the United States and that of most other developed democracies are the power of the Senate as the upper house of the legislature, the wide scope of power of the Supreme Court, the separation of powers between the legislature and the executive government, and the dominance of the two main parties – the United States being one of the world's developed democracies in which third parties have the least political influence.