Nomination and election process.
The American elections for the President will happen in November. The campaigns have already started where one might be hearing names such as Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Democrats, Republican and of course Donald Trump quite often on the television. There is long drill that goes around before the President of United States is finally elected. Let me briefly take you through the process.
The modern nomination process of the U.S. presidential elections consists of two major parts: first is the series of presidential primary elections and caucuses. Caucuses are meetings in which local members of a political party register their preference of candidates, running for the office, or select delegates to attend a convention. It is held in each state. Second is the presidential nominating conventions, held by each political party. This process was never included in the Constitution, and has thus evolved over a period of time by the political parties to clear the field for candidates.
The primary elections are run by state and local governments, while the caucuses are organized directly by the political parties. Some states hold only primary elections, some hold only caucuses, and others use a combination of both. These primaries and caucuses are staggered generally between January and June before the federal election, with I-owa and New Hampshire traditionally holding the first presidential state caucus and primary, respectively.
Like the general election, presidential caucuses or primaries are indirect elections. The major political parties, officially vote for their presidential candidates, at their respective nominating conventions, all of which are usually held in the summer before the federal election. Depending on each state’s law and that state’s, political party’s rules, when voters cast ballots for a candidate in a presidential caucus or primary, they may be voting to award delegates “bound” to vote for the presidential candidate at the presidential nominating conventions, or they may simply be expressing a negative opinion that the state party is not bound to follow in selecting delegates to their respective national convention.
Unlike the general election, voters in the U.S. territories can also elect delegates to the national conventions (US has a total of 14 US territories, five of which are permanently inhabited and nine of which are uninhabited or barely inhabited). Furthermore, each political party can determine how many delegates or elected members to allocate to each state and territory. In 2012 for example, the Democratic and Republican Party conventions each used two different formulas to allocate delegates. The Democrats-based theirs on two main factors: the proportion of votes each state gave to the Democratic candidate in the previous three presidential elections, and the number of electoral votes each state had in the Electoral College. In contrast, the Republicans assigned to each state 10 delegates, plus three delegates per congressional district. Both parties then gave a fixed number of delegates to each territory, and finally bonus delegates to states and territories that passed certain criteria.
Along with the delegates chosen during primaries and caucuses, the state and U.S. territory delegations pertaining to both the Democratic and Republican Party conventions, also include “unpledged” delegates, who have a vote. For Republicans, they consist of the three top party officials from each state and territory. Where, Democrats have a more expansive group of unpledged delegates called “super-delegates”, who are party leaders and elected officials.
Each party’s presidential candidate also chooses a vice presidential nominee to run with him or her on the same ticket, and this choice is rubber-stamped by the convention. In this context I would recommend an interesting novel titled ‘Going Rogue’ by Sarah Palin that describes America’s Election campaign in great vividity.
If no single candidate has secured a majority of delegates (including both pledged and unpledged), then a “brokered convention” results. All pledged delegates are then “released” and are able to switch their allegiance to a different candidate. Thereafter, the nomination is decided through a process of alternating political horse trading, and additional rounds of re-votes.
The election conventions have historically been held inside convention centres, but since the late 20th century both the Democratic and Republican parties have favoured sports arenas and domed stadiums to accommodate the increasing attendance.
To sum up. The election of the president and the vice president of the United States is an indirect election (An indirect election is an election in which voters do not choose between candidates for an office, but elect people who then choose. It is one of the oldest forms of elections, and is still used today for many presidents, cabinets, upper houses, and supranational legislatures) in which citizens of the United States who are registered to vote in one of the fifty U.S. states or in Washington, D.C., cast ballots not directly for those offices, but instead for members of the Electoral College. (An Electoral College is a body of electors established by the United States Constitution, which forms every four years for the sole purpose of electing the president and the vice president of the United States.
These electors (by electors I mean a person who has the right to vote in an election, especially one for members of a national parliament) then, in turn, cast direct votes, known as electoral votes, for the president, and for the vice president. The candidate who receives an absolute majority of electoral votes (at least 270 out of a total of 538, since the Twenty-Third Amendment granted voting rights to citizens of D.C.) is then elected to that office. If no candidate receives an absolute majority of the votes for president, the House of Representatives chooses the winner; if no one receives an absolute majority of the votes for vice president, then the Senate chooses the winner.
In nutshell. The election of the President and Vice President of the United States is an indirect vote in which citizens cast ballots for a set of members of the U.S. Electoral College. These electors then cast direct votes for the President and Vice President. If both votes result in an absolute majority, the election is over.
By Kamlesh Tripathi
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