As you might know, either because you’ve heard about it, you saw something about it on the news or whatever else, the presidential election of the USA is already well under way. I thought it’d be an interesting topic to have a look at. I’ll be writing a few posts on the topic, looking at different aspects, hopefully giving you some useful information.
This is part one, in which we’ll be looking at what the elections are exactly and how they work.
The presidential election of the United States is an election in which citizens of the USA vote for members of the Electoral College, who in turn, elect the President (AKA POTUS; President of the United States of America) and Vice-president. In case you don’t know: the president is the head of state and government. He or she runs the country.
The election is an indirect vote, which means there is no direct voting (how surprising!). A president is chosen every four years, each president able to be president for a maximum of eight years (two terms).
On Election Day, a tuesday between November 2 and 8, the vote by the Electoral College takes place. The 2016 Election Day will be held on November 8. And as you might know, the main political parties are the democrats and the republicans.
Members of the Electoral College are voted for by the population/the public. The members are nominated by the political parties. The amount of members in the Electoral College is based on the amount of members in the two houses: the House of Representatives and the Senate. Each state has a number of Electors, as you can see in the image, who make a choice who should become president. In most states, there is a ‘winner takes all’ principle: when there is an absolute majority of Electoral College votes for someone, that someone gets all the votes in that state (including the ones who did not vote for that someone). Maine and Nebraska are an exception to this. They use something that’s called the ‘congressional district method‘, which is explained right here.
In order to vote, you have to be eighteen or above and registered as a voter. The president has to be 35 years old or above, and has to be naturally born in the USA. Remember the situation where Trump wanted to see Obama’s birth certificate? Trump claimed Obama wasn’t a native American.. (article is a bit subjective.)
The Vice-president, also known as a running mate, supports the President and his or her campaign. They make a package of their best qualities and the things they have to offer, which are combined in a so-called ‘ticket‘. The campaign is the whole journey to try and make the candidate president. It consists of doing a tour across the States, during which the President gives speeches, rallies, etc. The President has a whole campaign team behind him. Campaigning costs a lot of money, which is raised by the team. The money they gain, e.g. by gaining sponsors or investments, is used for the campaign.
There are also things called ‘primaries‘ and ‘caucuses‘, which are events where presidential candidates are nominated. Primaries are government run, while caucuses are privately run by parties. There are some states which use the caucus system.
At the National Convention, the nominations for president and vice-president are officially announced. Besides the National Convention, there are also TV debates, which you might’ve seen on TV (watching them on the radio is hard I guess).
That’s basically how the system works! For more information; these videos are useful at explaining how the system works:
I hope you found this article useful. See you next time, for the next part: candidates and parties!
Have a jolly day!