The question is often asked whether the political institutions of a state help us comprehend the politics of a nation. In answering that question, it is essential that the essay first define the term 'political institutions'. This is because the knowledge gained from understanding the term is useful in answering the essay question. Political institutions refers to the political structures and constructs that drive politics in a given country or state. These are the vehicles through which politics operate. Political institutions are the platforms through which power is acquired, exercised and maintained in a country. They include institutions like political parties, trade unions, parliament and even the presidency (Almond et al, 2000).
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Political institutions like Congress help us understand the politics of a country. They make us realize what types of politics are played in the country. Political institutions make manifest the kind of politics that is done in the country. For example, a political institution like Congress will reveal much about the politics of the US. This is because, for one, Congress is democratic in its outlook. This means that decisions are arrived at by the instigation of the majority. This helps one to realize that politics in the country is representative. That is to mean that citizens elect their political leaders. The political leaders of the US are not imposed upon the people. The people do the choosing. This is exhibited by the aforementioned Congress, and also political parties like the American Republican Party, and the reformed Democratic Party (Almond et al, 2000).
The political institutions of a country help one understand the politics of the country. This is because they depict the political culture of the country. When one wants to study the political culture of a country, he, or she will study the political institutions of the country. For example, if one wants to know about the politics of Great Britain, he will critically examine the government and the monarch. This way he will understand that, in Great Britain, there is some political power that is hereditary because of the royalty (Almond et al, 2000).
The political institutions of a country help to underscore the political behavior that drives politics in a given country. For example, studying political parties makes one understand the values that they stand for in a country. In the US, for example, it is imperative that the political parties stick to a code of honor. The two main political parties are expected to adhere to unwritten guidelines, and standards of operation. To elaborate, when one examines Watergate, it becomes clear that American politics were at stake. This is what made the issue of breaking into the democratic headquarters a key political issue. A code of political conduct had been broken.
The political institutions of a country make the political representation clear. They also show where the different kinds of power in the country are located .This is manifested by the political institutions of America. America has two main political institutions that determine politics in the country. These are the presidency and Congress. These two institutions make it clear that the presidency is separate from the Congress (Almond et al, 2000).
Political institutions help to show how political power is acquired in the country. When Congress is examined, it becomes clear that power in politics is not only about winning a seat into the House of Representatives' or the Senate. This is because when Congress is studied, it becomes clear that power rests with some people in Congress. These are the people who are able to make bills pass through the floor of the house. It is a public secret that not everyone can pass a bill through the floor of the senate. The politics that go into the passing of bills are intricate. They can only be known by studying the institution of Congress. By knowing the structure of congress, one can be able to understand the politics of our country (Almond et al, 2000).
This is because one will be able to understand what work is done by a person like the floor leader. By understanding the institution, an individual can come to know the work of people like the minority, and majority leader. To know the work that these two people perform in Congress is to understand the manipulation, and scheming that goes into the passing of a bill. This, in turn, makes one understand the intricacies of American politics. Thus, to understand the politics of a country, one needs to study the political institutions of the country (Ian, 2001).
Politics are about the acquisition and exercise of power. To understand the source of power in a nation, one needs only to look at the political institutions. This is because there many political institutions in a country. Power, however, must flow from one dominant source. This is because there is only one power base that is superior to the others. This is the source that drives politics in the country. For example, most systems have both the parliamentary and presidential systems. In some countries, power rests in the parliamentary system. These are countries like Great Britain and Italy. In other countries, power rests in the presidential system, although the other systems like the parliamentary system are present (Ian, 2001).
Directly connected to the argument above is the fact that political institutions help one to know the people who run the government. This is because in most cases the people who run the government are defined by the political institutions in the country. For example, looking at a country like Israel, one realizes that it has both the parliamentary system and the presidential system. It is thus important to know which institution runs the government. It becomes apparent that the government is run by parliament through a prime minster. Parliament or Knesset is the power that controls the government. The presidential institution is just a figurative institution that heads the state, and not the government. The same case is exhibited in Great Britain. Great Britain is a Monarch. Unlike most monarchs, power rests with parliament, and is embodied in the person of the Prime Minister (Ian, 2001).
Political institutions help to define the politics that are practiced in a country. They help to give direction to the shape of politics in a country. Political institutions determine when elections are held if the country is under the representative system. They also determine which individuals can vote in elections.
Political institutions help to define the kind of people who get political power in a country. For example, if the country is a monarch, the monarchical system determines that only the royalty will get political power. The monarch will determine who in particular will ascend to the throne. This is because not all the people who are born into the royal family ascend to the throne. If the political system in place is a meritocracy, it will mean that only the best can get to power. Even in a representative democracy, political institutions determine which individual's access political power. This is because there are some qualifications to get into any political office. For instance, one must be of a certain age to be able to get into parliament in most countries. One must also be free of criminal record among other qualifications. All these and other qualifications are determined by the political institutions. Thus, political institutions determine the politics that are practiced in a country (Ian, 2001).
The political institutions of a country determine the behavior of the political class in the country. It determines the mannerism. One of the political institutions that can be studied for its strange mannerisms is the American senate. It is often described by many political pundits as a remarkably rude house. It is also described as a house that uses its power most unscrupulously. This is because the American Senate frustrates many people especially through the filibuster process. Filibuster is a process where a senator can stand on the floor of the house talking about nonessentials just to kill time so that unfavorable bills do not pass (Ian, 2001).
All in the entire essay has shown that political institutions help one to understand the politics of a country. This is because it helps to formulate the political culture of a country. Political institutions also determine those who get into political offices. The most important thing is to find a way to reform some political systems in the country. One of the political institutions that need reforms is the Senate. This is because the senate has become a platform for only advancing the interests of the rich. Those people with money can bribe Senators to pass bills that are harmful to our health. These bills include the Tobacco bill and the alcohol bill. The same senate does not want to pass the healthcare bill that would revolutionize the healthcare industry. Endless filibuster is threatening to throw out this healthcare bill down the drain. The institution of Senate needs immediate reforms.
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