Most students are accustomed to the words ‘lame duck’ without really understanding their meaning. These words should truly be associated with this November-January period after an election, when lawmakers (of Congress or the President, depending on the election) return to office even though they may have been defeated in an election. In terms of US democracy, this can be a really useful argument as it can be argued there are now law-makers without a mandate in power until January. This leads to stories like the one in the Washington Post proclaiming that Senate Democrats were going to rush through lots of legislation before the Republicans take their majority in January (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/in-the-loop/wp/2014/11/12/81-years-ago-the-country-agreed-to-end-lame-duck-sessions/).
This, along with things like the electoral college and FPTP, is a useful argument to criticise American ‘democracy’.