The European Union (EU) and its predecessor institutions have often been shaped and influenced by the political initiatives of the Federal Republic of Germany, one of the largest and most prosperous of the member states. This chapter focuses on the EU and its predecessor organisations. While NATO has been essential to Germany's external security, the EU has contributed greatly to Germany's economic prosperity and has helped to ensure the political acceptance of the Federal Republic in international affairs. The chapter discusses many aspects of the political system of the Federal Republic that reflect Germany's relationship with institutions of European integration. The Basic Law itself acknowledges the relationship between the Federal Republic and European integration. The relationship between the Federal Republic and Europe can be summarised in four short assertions: Germany needs Europe; Europe needs Germany; Germany has influenced Europe; and Europe has influenced Germany.
There is sharp disagreement over whether the U.S. Supreme Court has transgressed the proper boundaries of its power. This chapter provides an understanding of the ideas that underpinned the creation of the Supreme Court and how and why it has changed over the years. It traces the beginnings of the Court which are infuriatingly vague and ambiguous. The chapter discusses the contribution of Alexander Hamilton as well as other important milestones such as the Marbury v. Madison case, the period of Chief Justice Roger Taney, and the New Deal proposed by President Franklin Roosevelt. In the modern era, the liberal consensus in post-war America called for government intervention in the domestic economy and passionate anti-communism both at home and abroad. The Warren Court embraced that consensus and then carved from it a special area of competence for the federal judiciary.
Politics in the Federal Republic of Germany is influenced by, and in some ways is dependent upon, the activities of interest groups. The political system that developed after the Second World War placed emphasis on pluralism as a desirable characteristic, as one which belonged to democratic politics. This chapter reviews the range of interest groups that participate in the political process in Germany. It identifies the more significant interest groups, in relation to the policy sectors in which they are mainly involved, and refers to examples of groups which are less significant, but which illustrate the range and variety of such groups. Six 'arenas' for interest group activity can be identified: public opinion, the electoral process, the parties, the legislature, the executive, and the courts. These arenas can be relevant at local and Land levels of government, as well as at the federal government level.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explores why the boldest initiative in the sixty-year quest to achieve a borderless Europe has exploded in the face of the EU. A close examination of each stage of the EU financial emergency offers evidence that the European values that are supposed to provide solidarity within the twenty eight-member EU in good times and bad are flimsy and thinly distributed. The book aims to show that it is possible to view the current difficulties of the EU as rooted in much longer-term decision-making. It examines the different ways in which the European Union seized the initiative from the European nation-state, from the formation of the Coal and Steel Community to the Maastricht Treaty. The book concentrates on the role of France and Germany in the EU.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book. The focus of this book is on Donald Trump and his campaign. The book argues that the Trump campaign, like earlier populist insurgencies, can be explained in part by considering some defining features of US political culture and, in particular, attitudes towards government. If we look beyond cultural factors, it also argues that in overall terms, several factors were of particular importance during election year. The book argues furthermore that another factor, which is not usually included in discussions of electoral politics, should be brought into the picture. It explains that each of these overlapping factors contributed to both Trump's victories on the path to the Republican nomination and his eventual capture of the presidency.
Because of name recognition and his status as a celebrity, Donald Trump had very significant start-up advantages over other 'outsider' candidates such as Dr Ben Carson or Carly Fiorina. At the same time, the votes of those who opposed him were split between rival contenders and Trump was implicitly hailed, despite comments and claims that would have killed off any other candidacy, as a victor with the support of only about a third of the voters. Timing and sequencing and the order in which candidates withdrew from the race then played a part. Even at the end of the campaign, there were chance events that probably further damaged Hillary Clinton's chances of victory. Even if it is assumed that that all the votes would have been given to Clinton had the candidates not stood, analysis suggests it is likely that she would still have lost.
The creation of Land legislatures was of great relevance for the design of parliamentary structures for the new Federal Republic in 1949. This chapter describes the structures of the two chambers of the legislature of the Federal Republic: the Bundestag and the Bundesrat. The Bundestag, the lower chamber of the legislature of the Federal Republic of Germany, operates under relevant provisions of the Basic Law and under legislation such as the Electoral Law and the Party Law. The Bundesrat (Federal Council) is the most powerful second chamber in western Europe. It imports the 'federal' element to the legislative process, alongside the Bundestag's representation of the national 'popular' element. The chapter analyses the ways in which the functions of the legislature are carried out and examines the social composition of the Bundestag in relation to its representative function.
Political parties play a highly significant role in the political system of the Federal Republic of Germany. The type of democratic system the Federal Republic enjoys has been called as 'party government', a concept which includes the ideas that parties give coherence and direction to government through their policy programmes. This chapter describes the role of German political parties and the legal context within which political parties must act. The party system of the Federal Republic prior to reunification in 1990 consisted of four parties: Christian Democrats; Social Democratic Party; Free Democratic Party and Greens. The chapter discusses the development and the structure of the party system. Reunification had a relatively small effect on the structure of the party system. Since the introduction of the Party Law of 1967, parties have to ensure that their organisational structures and procedures comply with the standards set out in that legislation.
This chapter examines the ways in which politics impinges upon judicial review and the various attempts that have been made to minimise or maximise the political potential of judicial review. It assesses the extent to which the political characteristics of judicial review demand that we view the U.S. Supreme Court primarily as a political body. The chapter explains the tradtional and modern views taken by the Court on judicial interpretation as well as the judicial interpretation of the statutes, and identifies two main judicial role philosophies, those of judicial selfrestraint and judicial activism. Political bodies, including the U.S. President and the U.S. Congress, try to control the process of appointing Justices, and try to influence the Court's deliberations and decisions on a case-by-case basis. So do interest groups. Although the Court's decisions are generally in tune with public opinion, there is little direct relationship between the Court and the people.
Populism has a particular place within the US political tradition. In the post-war period alone, there have been recurrent right-wing populist insurgencies. In the US, right-wing populism has been a recurrent and ingrained feature of the political process over a long period. In particular, the structural characteristics of the contemporary American state, and the ways in which these are perceived and understood by large numbers of people, particularly within the white population, add to and build upon long-held resentments about the legitimate place and efficacy of government. This chapter provides a detailed account of the structural characteristics of the American state that appear to be of particular significance in the shaping of attitudes. The structural characteristics explain why right-wing populism has been a significant and enduring feature of twentieth- and twenty-first century US politics and why populist attitudes can come to the forefront of politics.