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This blog offers an international look at the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Indeed, campaigners worldwide are fascinated with American election campaigns. We observe relentless paid television advertising, straight-forward attack spots, sophisticated targeting and record-breaking fundraising. One cannot – and should not – simply copy paste American campaign techniques. However, campaigners out there in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia can get a lot of inspiration and specific takeaways from the most professional campaign in the world. This is the purpose of this blog.

Election Campaigns and the Electoral System

Elections are not isolated events. They take place within a macro-political system. In other words, the electoral system, party system, political culture, legal regulations etc. all shape election campaigns and election results. It is therefore always important to understand, for example, the mechanics, implications and dynamics of an electoral system.

If the U.S. had the electoral system of France (no Electoral College, but a nationwide election with a runoff), Hillary Clinton would likely be at the White House right now. The story in the media would be how the Republican Party could choose a candidate which is so far off the mainstream. If France had the electoral system of the Netherlands (proportional party-list system), Marine Le Pen had good chances to end Election Day in the same position as Mark Rutte, which is that of the leader of the biggest party and with the first shot at forming a government (which she, admittedly, would be unlikely to succeed).

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