I’m a Canadian. I find the US elections baffling in many ways.
Why do Americans want to elect every single position in government? Electing the president, senators and house representatives all seem reasonable, as well as electing the corresponding offices at the state level. But the US also elect judges, sheriffs, tax collectors. and lots of other offices too. Why is there a need to elect these positions? Judicial independence from prevailing social whims and adherence to law would be something that is essential in a judge, and that doesn’t seem likely with an elected one. Roy Moore is a rather famous example. Tax collectons seems to be a rather administrative function. Why is there a need to elect one? I understand that what offices are elected vary from state to state, but all states seem to have lots of elected offices. In contrast to this, I elect a member of parliament federally, a member of provincial parliament provincially, a mayor, two town councillors and a school trustee.
This leads to the question of how any voter can sort all of this out? It seems that electons at the federal, state and municipal levels all happen at the same time. In addition to the various offices, there are also propositons placed on the ballots. This makes for a large complicated ballot. How much time can voters devote to figuring out what candidates to vote for in each office and what propositions to support? I suppose that is why people just vote a straight ticket of Republican or Democrat. This seems far from ideal. I’m used to federal, provincial, and municipal elections being run at different times. The most complicated ballot I need to deal with is the municipal election with a mayor, two councillors and a school trustee.
It also seems to me that the US is always on an election footing. House representatives have two year terms. The run up to the US primaries along with the main election seems to take two years ( or more?). Perhaps some of this perception is driven by the voracious online news cycles. It’s easy to toss up some talking heads yakking about politics. I’m used to much shorter election campaigns. Six weeks and its all done. Does the US really need to go through this, especially the primary process for the major offices?