Total Article : 213
About Me:I'm a graduate student studying International Criminal Law and first started writing for King's News almost 4 years ago! My hobbies include reading, travelling and charity work. I cover many categories but my favourite articles to write are about mysteries of the ancient world, interesting places to visit, the Italian language and animals!
In April I saw Barack Obama, President of the US. I was staying in New York for a Model United Nations conference, where students play the role of delegates representing a country for a few days as they simulate the works of the United Nations. It just so happened that the President was staying at our hotel during the conference! On the day of his departure, I was walking back to the hotel when I found that some of the main roads in Times Square had been closed. A friend and I decided to join the crowd and await the President’s theatrical exit. Having never been to America before it was an exhilarating experience for me! There were tall guards everywhere, one of whom I spoke to and he informed me he had been sent to cover this event all the way from Detroit, and police with dogs, the road had been barricaded. After about twenty police cars and motorbikes finally we saw the long black presidential vehicles arrive with the American flag. I must have closed my eyes for a second or blinked for too long, either way it turned out that in my moment of distraction the President had passed smiling at us from his car. My friend had seen it all yet I, somehow standing obliviously beside him, had missed it. As ironic as it sounds these things happen to me all the time, but since then my interest in the US Presidential Elections grew. With Obama’s second term almost over who would be the new President of the US in 2016?
Every four years the frenzy of the US Presidential Elections is covered on news channels worldwide with millions of people able to watch the results live from all around the world. The US Presidential Elections may seem extravagant and amazing but what goes on behind the scenes, the secret meetings and discussions, is even more fascinating. So, if you are unsure on the difference between caucus and primary, or just want to learn a bit more about the election process then this article will take you step by step through the stages of an American election and the amount of preparation every future President has to endure in order to secure the Presidency.
One thing to keep in mind is that the President, also known as the Head of State, is actually elected indirectly by the people through an Electoral College, made up of electors chosen by citizens on a state-to-state basis. For a candidate to win presidency they must win over half the votes of the Electoral College. US Presidential Elections are held every four years and a President can run for a maximum of two terms (a total of 8 years).
Part 1: Preparations
Whilst in most countries election can take place within a matter of weeks, in the US elections are a lot longer and more complicated. The voters don’t actually nominate the candidates but they can vote for those already elected by the party. Whilst US Elections take place in November this nomination process starts in January, giving the nominees enough time to gain support and fight to be elected as the candidate for their party. Each nominee tries to get more delegates, representatives that will support the candidate, in an attempt to gain more support from the general public. Caucuses and primaries are a way for citizens to get involved in voting for a candidate to run for presidency. During caucus party members meet and, after a lively period of debates, meeting candidates and choosing delegates, decide which candidate they are going to support. The Primary is when voters go to the polls and vote for their favourite candidate (or delegates to support the candidate) and is when the public can actually have a say in who get to run.
The Convention is an outstanding political moment in the Presidential elections. It is where each and every state goes to the hall with banners in support of its candidate and delegates. Usually we already know which candidate has the most delegates and can run for President and can nominate a runner for the position of Vice-President marking the end of the first half of the US Presidential Elections.
Part 2 The Campaign
Now the real game begins as candidates start the big expensive electoral campaigns. There are televised events such as debates between rival candidates and many public hearings and speeches are made. This half of the elections is a lot shorter than the first but much more intense as candidates frantically try to secure as many votes as possible, usually targeting specific states. In the last weeks leading to the election candidates usually focus on ‘swing states’ - those that have a reputation for voting for different parties in different elections, hoping to sway the state in to voting for them.
US Elections are always held on the first Tuesday of November; this date was established quite some time ago so people had time to actually get to the ballot box to cast a vote. Today millions of voters turn up on Election Day, although there has been a decline in voter turnout. Usually around twelve hours after the polls close a rough result is already known. Once all the votes have been tallied up they move on to the Electoral College. Every state can have a different number of electoral members which reflects that state’s representation in Congress. The candidate that receives the most votes in a state wins all of the Electoral College members in that state. In the following January electoral college votes are counted in front of Congress and on the 20th the President attends a ceremony inaugurating his/her term in office. With Obama running his second and last term as President and the Presidential Elections coming up in 2016 make sure to stay up-to-date with the caucuses and primaries and, even though you can’t cast a vote without being an American citizen, enjoy the glitz and glamour of the US Presidential Elections in the comfort of your own home!
IMAGE 1: http://carnegieendowment.org/2012/08/27/how-united-states-presidential-election-works
IMAGE 2: http://www.americansecurityproject.org/why-you-shouldnt-sleep-on-this-weekends-eu-elections/