The United States is a presidential democratic republic with a federal constitution. The constitution of September 17, 1787 (in force since June 21, 1788) has since seen numerous changes and amendments. The basic constitutional principles are popular sovereignty under the rule of law (Rule of Law), binding to a catalog of fundamental rights (Bill of Rights, 1789; in force since 1791), federalism and the separation of powers (Separation of Powers) and the entanglement of powers (system of “checks and balances”). State authority emanates from the people and is exercised by them in elections, in the federal states also through referendums on factual issues, otherwise through special state organs. They are only allowed to exercise the authority assigned to them (Limited Government, Government as Trust) and are bound by the text and spirit of the constitution, compliance with which is monitored by the Supreme Federal Court.
According to mathgeneral, the federal government and the individual states have their own competencies, which are delimited according to subject areas. The competence relationship is not to be characterized as opposing one another, but as a complement (cooperative federalism). In principle, all competences not assigned to the federal government belong to the member states. In the area of federal legislation, the individual states are subject to federal supremacy.
The federal competence includes, inter alia. foreign affairs and other individual areas such as federal tax, customs and coin law as well as bankruptcy, copyright and patent law. In practice, two general clauses of the constitution form the most important bases for federal competence: the authority of the federal government to regulate commercial transactions between the member states as well as with foreign countries (Commerce Clause), and its right to take all means that expressly implement a federal competence granted (Necessary and Proper Clause). These clauses have helped to improve federal competences especially since the time of the New Deal at the expense of the sovereign rights of the constituent states. Although the jurisprudence has recently again emphasized the rights of the member states more strongly, the anti-terror legislation after the 9/11/2001 attacks once again led to a strengthening of central power. The state authority of the federation and the member states is distributed among different staffed organs of the legislative, the law enforcement and the judiciary.
President: The executive power of the Federation rests with the President, who is also head of state, head of government and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Like the Vice President, he is elected for 4 years (re-election permitted once). The election process (as evidenced by majority vote) in multiple stages: First, in primaries (Primary) or at party meetings in the member states, appoints delegates for national conventions of the parties to nominate candidates; national presidential elections follow, not through the direct election of the president, but by the population in each member state electing electors (the number corresponds to that of the congress members of the respective member state). The party that is successful in a state receives all the votes of the electorate of that state, which are then given to the respective nominee. With the approval of the Senate, the President appoints the members of the government and the highest federal authorities; he represents the USA externally, has the right, with the consent of the Senate, to conclude international treaties or independently administrative agreements, and has a suspensive veto right against decisions of the Congress. Formally, he has no right to submit bills, but he can recommend measures to Congress for advice or introduce legislative initiatives with the help of congressmen. The President, like the Vice-President, can only be charged with constitutional and legal violations (Impeachment), however, does not depend on the political confidence of Congress. The most important function of the vice-president proposed by the president when he runs for candidacy and elected in a separate ballot is (in addition to chairing the Senate, temporarily assuming office if the president is seriously ill and representing the president on missions abroad), succession in the event of death, Resignation or impeachment of the President. The Cabinet, an advisory body, consists of the President and Vice-President, the heads of ministries (departments) and other senior officials and personal advisers selected by the President.
The White House as the central government agency (Executive Office of the President) includes, inter alia. the Chief of Staff and personal assistants and advisers to the President; the Office of Management and Budget is primarily responsible for the federal budget; the National Security Council is the central authority for foreign and security policy decision-making processes. He owns, among others. the President, the Vice-President, the Foreign Ministers and the Defense Ministers; other participants include the Secretary of the Treasury, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Director of the CIA and the National Security Advisor.
Congress: The legislation of the federal government lies with the Congress, consisting of the Senate (100 members, elected for 6 years with a third renewal every 2 years) and the House of Representatives (435 MPs, elected for 2 years). In contrast to the House of Representatives (Principle of proportionality), every state is represented by 2 senators in the Senate, regardless of size and population. Congress members are not allowed to hold any other public office (incompatibility as a requirement of the separation of powers between executive and legislative branches). Every bill requires the approval of both Houses and the signature of the President. If the latter uses his veto, the Congress can only overrule this with a two-thirds majority of both houses. Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority in both chambers and the approval of three-quarters of all states. While the House of Representatives enjoys the right to initiate the budget, the Senate has prerogatives over the executive: the appointments of federal ministers, other members of the government and other high-ranking administrative officials by the president must be approved by the Senate with a simple majority; the conclusion of international treaties (Treatys) requires ratification by a two-thirds majority in the Senate. To circumvent this requirement, the presidents conclude administrative agreements with other states (executive agreements).
States: Legislation in almost all member states is incumbent on 2 chambers, mostly referred to as the Senate and House of Representatives (also: Assembly, Chamber of Delegates) (exception: Nebraska with only one chamber, the Senate), whose members are generally and directly elected for periods of 2 or 4 years to get voted. The competence of the member states includes v. a. essential parts of criminal and civil law as well as the associated procedural law, the electoral, traffic and organizational law of the local communities as well as health, environmental protection, school and domestic commercial law. Executive power lies with the governor and a number of specialist ministers (inter alia for home affairs and education). The governors and deputy governors are elected directly in all states, usually for 4 years.