America the democratic

JJ McCullough looks enviously to the south.

Last Tuesday, Mitt Romney eked out his narrow victory in the Iowa caucus with a total of 30,015 votes. That slim tally in a single, Midwestern state is nevertheless only slightly fewer than the 31,150 votes that elected Jack Layton leader of the national New Democratic Party in 2003, and much greater than the 16,149 that elected Stephen Harper leader of the federal Conservatives in 2004

What makes these comparisons particularly odious is that Canadian party leaders aren’t really even analogous to U.S. presidential candidates — they’re much more powerful. Should Romney eventually emerge as the GOP flag-bearer, he will have precious little power to influence much of what his party supports or believes. As we’ve seen over the last three years, the President of the United States is in many ways a very weak figure subordinate to the authority of 535 free-voting Congressmen.

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