An Insight into the American Election of 2016

By: Isabella S

        In November of 2016, the new president of the United States of America will be officially chosen and consequently so will the future of international affairs. Although there are still many months before the actual casting of ballots the campaigning is already in full power. The American electoral system is quite different from the one here in Italy or the United Kingdom, for example, so for those who want to know more about the 2016 elections, here is some insight.

        There are only two political parties in the United States, the Republican and the Democrat parties. In the 2016 elections, the main candidates for the Republican Party are Donald “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese” Trump, currently leading the Party with over 43% support currently, followed by Ted Cruz, 27% support, and Marco Rubio at 14%. The leading candidates for the Democrat party are Hillary Clinton, with over 53% support, followed by Bernie Sanders at 38%. Such individuals from each Party compete for votes in the “primary elections” through heated debates across the country in an attempt to win popularity and spread their views on on key ideological issues such as immigration, taxes, the education system, foreign affairs, unemployment, environmental issues and many others.

        After the debates comes the time for the primary election and caucuses, like primary elections except with public voting instead of secret ballots. There, elections to decide which Republican and which Democrat candidate will compete against each other in the presidential campaign. The way the primaries and caucuses run vary from state to state as well as who gets to vote in them and the day it will be held. The process as a whole is a bit indirect, since the voters do not actually vote for a candidate, but for “delegates” who “bound to” a candidate, the candidate who wins the primaries is the one who obtains more than half of the delegates vote. After which the delegates vote for their candidates at the Parties’ National Convention.

        Following the Parties’ National Convention, the representing candidate from each Party is official. This is followed once again by intense campaigning until Election Day( in November), in which all American citizens over 18 can vote for “electors” who are pledged to vote for one of the candidates, the number of electors of each state depends on their population. “The winner takes it all” principle applies to the elections, basically if by the end of the elections there are more electors in favour of the Democrat party in one State, then the Democrat Party has won in that State and gets the vote of all, including Republican, electors in that State and vice-versa. This explains why the election campaign is fought harder in more populous States than the less populated ones.

        Altogether, there are 538 electors in total and the candidate who has more than half of all the electors on his side has won the elections. This means that after the electors have been chosen it is clear which candidate will win the elections, but officially, the president is elected later by the Electoral College. This is when all the electors cast their votes in their states at December, the votes are then counted in January by the US Congress and then it is official who will be the new president of The United States of America.

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