Elections: The American Process of Selecting a President: A Comparative Perspective

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Abstract

The United States has fallen well behind worldwide trends in presidential elections. Its electoral college regionalizes the contest for the national executive, contrary to a worldwide trend toward direct election. U.S. states continue to select presidential electors via plurality rule, resulting in vulnerability to third-party “spoilers,” even at a time when third-party voting is on the upswing. The worldwide trend is toward runoffs to guard against spoilers. Only in nomination methods is the United States the trendsetter, as primary elections only recently have been adopted in other countries, mainly in Latin America. Yet the American regionalized and sequential nomination process contrasts with the national primaries preferred elsewhere.

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