All You Need to Know About the US Presidential Elections

I voted in the US elections

An election for president of the United States happens every four years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. This year it’s set to take place on 3rd  November. This year, after 2016 America is again deciding who will run for the White House.

The Format of the Elections
An election for President of the United States happens every four years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. When people vote they are actually voting for a group of people called electors. The Article 2 of the US constitution, set up the guidelines and process for the elections after a due discussion and compromise by the makers of the constitution who were split on whether to let the Congress choose the president or have a national popular vote. According to it, each state is allocated several electors, equal to the size of its delegation in both houses of Congress combined. The manner of choosing electors for the Electoral College is determined by each state's legislature. Although each state designates electors by popular vote, other methods are allowed. For instance, instead of having a popular vote, several states select presidential electors by a direct vote of the state legislature itself. After this, the chosen electors then cast two distinct votes for the President and the Vice President. This determines the winners based on the electoral votes. 
There is particular eligibility that has to be fulfilled to compete in the presidential election: the individual must be a natural-born citizen of the United States, at least 35 years old, and a resident of the United States for a period of no less than 14 years. The US constitution also provides other conditions that say: A President cannot be elected to more than two terms; in case the Congress convicts any officer on impeachment, they may also bar that person from holding any public office in the future; the Vice-President must meet all the qualifications of being a President. The presidential election ticket will not feature everyone running for the president but only those who have secured a major party nomination or whose size of their political party warrants having been formally listed. If no candidate receives a majority of the electoral vote (at least 270 out of 435), the President is chosen by the rules outlined by the Twelfth Amendment. The selection of the President would then be decided by a contingent election in a ballot of the House of Representatives. To elect the President, each state has only one vote. A ballot of the Senate is held to choose the Vice President. In this ballot, each senator has one vote.

The Caucuses and the Primaries

Caucuses: A caucus involves people attending a meeting - maybe for a few hours - before they vote on their preferred candidate, perhaps via a headcount or a show of hands. These meetings are held in a few select places and the voters do not have to go to polling booths. Voters have to go and assemble where their candidate is represented. Everyone is then tallied. If a particular candidate does not have at least 15% of attendees in their support, they are taken off the ballot, and their voters are free to support a different candidate. 
Once voting is over, the support for potential candidates is converted into several “state delegate equivalents”. This result is used to calculate the number of national delegates each candidate receives. National delegates eventually choose the presidential nominee at the Democratic convention in July. At the end of the caucuses, the candidate with the most SDEs is considered the winner. The democratic candidates are Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Micheal Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard. The functioning of the democratic and Republican caucuses is slightly different. In the Iowa Republican caucus, people still have to physically show up at a location. They then cast a straightforward vote, secretly. The votes are tallied up, and the delegates are selected. In the Republican caucuses, there is no 15% threshold, meaning candidates with relatively little support could still pick up delegates. The Republican side has the incumbent president Donald Trump as its prime candidate. 

Primaries: Unlike a caucus, where voters are expected to turn up at a few limited locations at certain times, primary voters can just turn up at a polling booth and vote in secret. The more votes a candidate gets in a primary, the more ‘delegates’ they are awarded, and all candidates will be hoping to win an unbeatable majority of delegates. The number of delegates in each state differs, for e.g., in California's primary there are 415 Democratic delegates this year, in New Hampshire, it is only 24. Any candidate would need to get at least 15% of the vote in any primary to be awarded delegates. There is an unusually huge number of candidature this year which may make getting 15% votes difficult for some.
After this year’s New Hampshire caucus, we get a clear picture of who is struggling (Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren), but even though Bernie Sanders has claimed the most delegates at this stage, he is not guaranteed to become the nominee, despite Pete Buttigieg, a tough competitor taking back his candidature on March 1st.

The Two Major Parties Involved
In the US there exist two major political parties namely the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The two parties are the major stakeholders of all the power in the country. Other parties have occasionally challenged the Democrats and Republicans. The Democratic Party has more support in the House of Representatives whereas the Republican Party enjoys weight in the Senate. The central reason for this duopoly is that these two parties have taken up centrist political issues. The policies of the Democratic and Republican parties differ in major issues such as taxes, the role of government, entitlements (social security, Medicare), gun control, immigration, healthcare, abortion, environmental policy, and regulation. Each party has both conservative and liberal wings. The Democratic and Republican Party candidates are automatically placed on the general election ballot, while minor parties often have to expend considerable resources collecting enough permissions and also funds.
The Democratic Party: This party was founded in 1828, making it the world's oldest active political party. Historically, the party has represented farmers, laborers, labor unions and religious and ethnic minorities. The party's philosophy of modern liberalism advocates social and economic equality, along with the welfare state. The Democratic Party supports equal opportunity for all Americans regardless of sex, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, or national origin. The modern Democratic Party supports organized labor, minorities, and progressive reforms. It endorses a liberal political philosophy, supporting greater governmental intervention in the economy and less government regulation of the private lives of citizens. These interventions, such as the introduction of social programs, support for labor unions, affordable college tuitions, moves toward universal health care and equal opportunity, consumer protection and environmental protection form the core of the party's economic policy. It also generally supports higher taxes (particularly on the wealthy) to finance social welfare benefits that assist the elderly, the poor, the unemployed, and children. The Democratic Party is again divided into 4 factions: centrists, conservatives, liberals, progressives. This party is traditionally strong in California, Massachusetts, and New York. Senator Bernie Sanders has emerged as a top frontrunner, winning the popular vote in the Iowa caucuses, as well as claiming victory in New Hampshire’s primary and Nevada caucuses. 
The Republican Party: The Republican Party is also called the grand old party (GOP) and was founded in 1854. The party initially focused on opposing the expansion of slavery and supported economic reform and called for economic and social modernization. The party philosophy centers on social and economic independence. It is also known for its pro-life efforts, anti-regulatory policy, and reduction of government intervention in the economy, as well as being in support of privatized health care. Republican Party supports limited government regulation of the economy, lower taxes, and more conservative (traditional) social policies. Large urban centers are more likely to support the Democratic Party, whereas rural areas, small cities, and suburban areas tend more often to vote Republican. This party is strong in the states of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. The only challenger to the current president is Bill Weld who has so has not yet been able to prove his mettle against Donald Trump. 

The 2020 Show till Now
The Super Tuesday on 3rd march was the big date in the primary calendar when 16 states, territories or groups voted for their preferred candidate in primaries or caucuses. Joe Biden scored stunning wins on Super Tuesday, he won in primaries in 9 states whereas Bernie sanders won in 4 states. Mr. Biden’s victories have come on the strength of his support among black voters, older voters, and suburbanites, while Mr. Sanders has dominated with younger voters and Latinos, according to the exit polls.  Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts lost her home state from where even Tulsi Gabbard competed. The Democratic candidate maybe Joe Biden while the Republican candidate Donald Trump stands firm.

Written By: Jeevana Allu
Edited By: Harshit Agarwal

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All You Need to Know About the US Presidential Elections All You Need to Know About the US Presidential Elections Reviewed by EMN on March 09, 2020 Rating: 5

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