Styles and electoral systems

Political styles should reflect the electoral systems of each nation. There are two broad kinds of electoral systems, proportional and “winner takes all.”  Most European countries have typically favoured the former, while Anglo-Saxon nations (Great Britain, USA) have favoured the latter.

Example: Trump knows that he will never win certain states, like for example New York and California. They are hugely democratic, and the chances that a candidate like him will win over democrats, like for example Reagan did in the eighties, is nil. But he knows that he must win big in certain other states, in the south and Midwest, that are traditionally red (republican) and that are more prone to like his rhetoric and policies. Look for him to campaign next year on the issues that his constituents like and ignore or even antagonise the voters that will not vote for him in any case. At the end of the day, as recent elections have demonstrated, the presidency is won by a majority of the electoral college, not of the popular vote. This favours partisan politics.

Other countries using the proportional systems have different dynamics: every vote counts and has a direct effect in the number of MPs a party or candidate wins. Overly partisan politics may backfire.

Take for example Israel’s recent elections. PM Netanyahu ran a very aggressive campaign targeting his voter base. His gambit was that there are enough sympathetic voters around in the country to give him and his coalition a winning majority. This time, however his tactics backfired, energised his opponents, and created enough ‘anyone but Netanyahu’ voters to dilute his coalition from exactly 50% to 46%. Even with his impressive accomplishments on the economic and diplomatic fronts of the last decade, Bibi has learned that indeed in Israel, every vote counts!