US President with a Parliamentary System

Jul 19, 2019
EU Parliament Electorate Results by State

Yesterday's post looked into who would win the European Commission Presidency if the EU had an electoral college.  Today's post flips the script and looks at who would be President, or rather, Prime Minister if the US had a parliamentary system.  The map above shows which party would have the most seats in each state with a total of 435 seats and 218 needed to win.  Since so many states came so close, they split the seats between Democrats and Republicans.  In addition, three other parties make it into parliament, with the Libertarians, the Greens, and Utah's independent candidate Evan McMullin also gaining seats.


  • The political parties that make it into Parliament under this scenario include: the Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens, and one independent.
  • The lead candidates were used for each political party.  The lead candidates were: Hillary Clinton for the Democrats, Donald Trump for the Republicans, Gary Johnson for the Libertarians, Jill Stein for the Greens, and Evan McMullin as an independent.
  • There are 435 seats (the parliament is unicameral and it essentially replaces the House of Representatives).
  • Seats are allocated on a state by state basis as is the case in the European Union.  Each state allocates seats to each party based on the election outcome.
  • No candidate wins a majority (218 seats) of the Parliament as the Democrats receive 216 seats, the Republicans receive 207, the Libertarians receive 10, the Greens receive 1, and Evan McMullin receives 1.
  • The Democrats win seats in 45 states.  The states that the Democrats do not win seats in are: Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.  All of these states have only one seat.
  • The Republicans win seats in 48 states.  The states that the Republicans do not win seats in are: Delaware and Vermont.  Both of these states have only one seat.
  • The Libertarians win seats in 9 states.  These states are: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.
  • The Greens win seats in 1 state: California.
  • Evan McMullin wins a seat in 1 state: Utah.
  • The Democrats are two seats shy of a majority and the Republicans are 11 seats shy.  Either one could form a government by forming a coalition with any of the other parties.  Under most parliamentary systems, the Democrats who have the most seats get to attempt this first.  If they fail to do so, the Republicans get a shot at forming a coalition with other parties.
  • The Democrats can form a coalition with just themselves and the Libertarians, or with themselves and both the Greens and Evan McMullin.
  • If the Democrats fail to form a coalition with any of the above, the Republicans can only form a coalition with both the Libertarians and either of the Greens or Evan McMullin.
  • If neither party can form a coalition with any of the smaller parties, a grand coalition between the Democrats and the Republicans is possible.
  • If neither party can form any coalition at all they can attempt to govern with a minority government or call new elections.


  • This post does not posit that one system is better than the other.  Clearly, if any state discovered a utopian way to be governed, many others would follow suit.  Both the EU's parliamentary system and the US's presidential system have their pros and cons.  This is simply an exercise to see how the process of electing the President would occur under a different system.
  • Seats were allocated on a proportional basis.  If a party won 70% of the votes in a particular state, an attempt was made to allocate 70% of that state's seats to that party.  There was no threshold to gaining a seat.


What this exercise shows is that neither Trump nor Clinton would have had an absolute majority with which to govern and that the one to become Prime Minister would be the one that can convince the Libertarians, the Greens, and/or Evan McMullin to work with them in a coalition government.  If they could not pull that off, they would have to work together in a grand coalition.  Imagine that.

The table below shows the allocation of seats in the Parliament according to percent of the vote each party received in each state.  The Democrats and Republicans continue to dominate by holding majorities or sharing power in every single state.

New Hampshire11000
New Jersey75000
New Mexico21000
New York1610100
North Carolina67000
North Dakota01000
Rhode Island11000
South Carolina34000
South Dakota01000
West Virginia12000
US Total2162071011

The Republicans hold a majority in 22 states while the Democrats hold a majority in 14 states.  The Democrats and Republicans have an equal number of seats in 14 states.  The Libertarians receive 2 seats in California and 1 seat each in 8 other states.  The Greens receive one seat in California.  Evan McMullin receives 1 seat in Utah.

It is a strong possibility that either Clinton or Trump would have attempted to govern with a minority government if they could not come to terms with the other parties.  That means that they would have to reach out to either the Libertarians, the Greens, or McMullin to get legislation passed.

It should also be noted that the US and EU governing and political cultures are vastly different.  Americans vote for their local representative who will fight for the issues of the locality to which the representative is elected.  Europeans vote for a political party to enact a specific set of laws throughout the land.  In America, politics is very local as the representative looks out for the needs and wants of his constituents who reside within a specific geographic area.  In Europe, parties expect their representatives to vote the party line and representatives do not necessarily represent a specific locality.  Each system is different and each has its pros and its cons.  This post does not suggest that one is better than the other, it is merely a succinct review of a political process.


The Green Papers.  "2016 Presidential Election by State."  Accessed July 18, 2019.

Filed under: Elections