The Instigator
Jifpop09
Pro (for)
Tied
2 Points
The Contender
khe618
Con (against)
Tied
2 Points

Which is better for the US? President or Prime Minister?

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/6/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,204 times Debate No: 48555
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (2)

 

Jifpop09

Pro

I say the president is the better of the two, and I will argue we should have a president as opposed to a Prime Minister. Con will argue in favor of a pm.

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Arguments
Round 3: Rebuttals
khe618

Con

I accept your challenge and look forward towards the debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Jifpop09

Pro

Sorry, but I need to take a first round forfeit.
khe618

Con

That's fine. I'll begin with my arguments, which support a parliamentary system over the current presidential system that exists today in the U.S.
Just to clarify for anyone not familiar with the political systems, the prime minister is the head of government in a parliamentary system and is held accountable to the parliament, the legislature. The president is both the head of state and the head of government in a presidential system and is not responsible to the legislature. Thus, the executive and legislative branches in a parliamentary system are dependent on each other, while in a presidential system the two are separated and maintain checks and balances on each other.
Arguments for why a parliamentary system is better than a presidential system are as follows:
Separation between the executive and legislative branch
As stated before, a prime minister is dependent on the parliament and is usually a former member of the parliament. On the other hand, anyone can run for president and many are former governors, who have no experience in Congress. It simply makes more sense for the executive and legislative branch to be on the same agenda. The Perils of Presidency by Juan Linz articulates this well, in which he states that "the balance between executive and legislative power in such systems can thus varyconsiderably".
Much of my argument will be derived from this work. It will be assumed that if there is no citation for the argument, it was espoused by Linz unless it is something general like common knowledge.
http://www1.american.edu...
Ethnic and political diverstiy within the United States
The United States has a diverse population and geography and has been known as a melting pot of different cultures. The racial percentages are
white 79.96%, black 12.85%, Asian 4.43%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.18%, two or more races 1.61%. Although the U.S. is dominated by two parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, several subparties exist within these two along with other parties such as the Tea Party. Linz states that parliaments generally operate better than presidential systems within diverse competing parties.
https://www.cia.gov...
Restriction on the fixed presidential term in office
Presidents have a set term of four years in office. This is a rigid structure that prevents the government to rapidly responding to changing political climates. The prime minister is not elected for a specific period of time and can be changed at any time. Presidents can only be changed through the drastic impeachment process, which has never actually removed a president from power.
Zero-sum elections and authoritarainism
Presidential elections have been described by Linz as a "winner-take-all" situation, in which one party dominates for four years while the losers are in a position of weakness. Once in power, the president can quickly eliminate opposition in rival parties and rule without the backing of even his own parties. The prime minister must rule in a way that is at least tolerable to the other political parties; otherwise, a new prime minister can easily be elected.
More accountabilility and less corruption
When poor decisions are made, a president can easily blame it on Congress, and vice versa. While there is still some accountability, the result is corrupt officials pointing fingers at each other and nothing getting done. The prime minister is intertwined with the parliament and to blame one would mean blaming the other. Thus, officials are accountable for their actions and must be more honest. A study done by World Bank shows that parliamentary systems are associated with less corruption.
http://papers.ssrn.com...
Increased stability
Overall, parliaments have proven to be longer lasting and more stable than their presidential counterparts. Linz states that "the vast majorities of stable democracies in the world today are parliamentary regimes" and that "the only presdential democracy with a long history of constitutional continuity is the United States". Several countries in Latin America that tried to model themselves after the American model have failed. The U.S. is viewed as the exception rather than the model, and it is time that the U.S. gave way to the superior system of parliaments before the presidential system collapses.
Debate Round No. 2
Jifpop09

Pro

Argument 1: The president is elected by the people.

In the US, we vote for an elector, who promises to vote for a certain candidate. The president comes directly from the people. In parliament, the prime minister is elected by the legislature, and not directly by the people. An obvious advantage of having a president.

http://www.loc.gov...
http://vnk.fi...

(Second source is country specific)

Argument 2:
Would you trust Congress to elect the president?

Having a parliament in the US, would mean congress would elect the president. Can you imagine? Are congressman, who fight and bicker all day, handle an election? No, having the people handle it is a lot more responsible, and would surely lead to a more efficient system.

http://theweek.com...

Rebuttals

As stated before, a prime minister is dependent on the parliament and is usually a former member of the parliament. On the other hand, anyone can run for president and many are former governors, who have no experience in Congress. It simply makes more sense for the executive and legislative branch to be on the same agenda. The Perils of Presidency by Juan Linz articulates this well, in which he states that "the balance between executive and legislative power in such systems can thus varyconsiderably".

Are you saying that the US system does not have a seperation of legislature and executive? Because it does. The parliament system is actually broken in the fact that the head of state is connected to the legislature.

The United States has a diverse population and geography and has been known as a melting pot of different cultures. The racial percentages are white 79.96%, black 12.85%, Asian 4.43%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.18%, two or more races 1.61%.Although the U.S. is dominated by two parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, several subparties exist within these two along with other parties such as the Tea Party. Linz states that parliaments generally operate better than presidential systems within diverse competing parties.

I really wish you could properly source her work. I see know reasoning on how parliament systems handle partys better. They fight just as often. Especially in the UK, between conservatives and liberals.
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In short, my opponents view on Prime ministers is that they are somehow just morrally better, while he has offered no solid evidence of this. He also seems to lack knowledge on US government, but I wish him luck none the less.
khe618

Con

The president is elected by the people
I understand how the U.S. government works but thanks. The federal government is by no means a direct democracy but instead a republic. The people don't actually directly elect the president. As you said, we vote for electors, who vote for the president. These electors don't necessarily "promise to vote for a certain candidate". Otherwise the presidential election would be decided even before the actual election. Just like how the electoral college votes for the president, the parliament votes for the prime minister. This is essentially the same process in both systems.

Would you trust Congress to elect the president?
This is basically just an attack on Congress based on a poll that says people are unhappy with Congress. This just reaffirms my argument that the Congress is an inefficient system. Like the president, the Congress has a fixed term. The House of Representatives serve for two years and the House of Senate serves for six years. If people are so unhappy with Congress, wouldn't they want a new one? However, they are forced to wait years until they have the opportunity to reelect their senators. In a parliament, the parliament can be reelected early by a no confidence vote.

As stated before, a prime minister is dependent on the parliament and is usually a former member of the parliament. On the other hand, anyone can run for president and many are former governors, who have no experience in Congress. It simply makes more sense for the executive and legislative branch to be on the same agenda. The Perils of Presidency by Juan Linz articulates this well, in which he states that "the balance between executive and legislative power in such systems can thus vary considerably".
I'm not exactly sure what your questioning here. When I said anyone can run for president, I implied that you don't have to be part of the legislative branch to run. Indeed, many presidents were former state governors. If you're asking about my quote, it's saying that the legislative and executive branches may not necessarily be in sync in their goals, to rephrase it.

Linz states that parliaments generally operate better than presidential systems within diverse competing parties.
"A careful comparison of parliamentarism as such with presidentialism as such leads to the conclusion that, on balance, the former is more conducive to stable democracy than the latter. This conclusion applies especially to nations with deep political cleavages and numerous political parties;for such countries, parliamentarism generally offer a better hope of preserving democracy." Since parliaments are genrally more aligned, they don't have as much fighting as Congress now does.

In conclusion, my opponent has failed to even address the majority of my arguments. His only real argument was that Congress is too inefficient to elect the president, which is in itself a critique of the presidential system.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by khe618 2 years ago
khe618
@mr1234sharingan It would certainly be interesting to make that comparison but then again I'm not entirely sure whether that analysis could be extended to a country such as the U.S., which this debate is about. Usually the most corrupt countries are the ones receiving the most aid or are in political turmoil, which doesn't apply to the U.S. Besides, there is very little corruption in the U.S., though I'm not saying it doesn't exist. Probably the biggest problem in the government the U.S. faces is the inefficiency of the entire system.
Posted by mr1234sharingan 2 years ago
mr1234sharingan
i think the entire debate would had been more educating and meaningful if both sides just compared/ contrast the most corrupted countries that uses parliamentary and presidential systems like Thailand and philippines
Posted by Jifpop09 2 years ago
Jifpop09
Point in case.
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
Ohhh... Wow that is a bad idea, then, considering how effective our house of representative is right now at making decisions XD
Posted by Jifpop09 2 years ago
Jifpop09
One is elected by the people, and the other is elected by the legislature. Meaning that the house of representatives would elect the prime minister.
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
Romanii
Lol I have no idea what the difference is
Posted by LuckyStars 2 years ago
LuckyStars
And I don't want it limited to just the US.
Posted by LuckyStars 2 years ago
LuckyStars
More rules.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by STALIN 2 years ago
STALIN
Jifpop09khe618Tied
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by Actionsspeak 2 years ago
Actionsspeak
Jifpop09khe618Tied
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Total points awarded:21 
Reasons for voting decision: FF, Pro won sources, argument is tied.