How US President Is Elected?
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Currently, the Unites States (US) is the most powerful country of the world economically as well as militarily and its head is considered as most powerful man on the earth. Hence all countries across the globe observe the US Presidential elections with great interest. On November 8, 2016, the US public surprised everyone and elected Republican nominee Donald Trump as their 45th President for a four year term.
In order to become the US president, one must have following qualifications:
- One must be natural-borne citizen of the US.
- Should be at least 35 years old.
- Must be resident of the US for 14 years.
In February 1951, the US constitution was amended through which, any person who has elected to the office of President twice cannot be elected again.
The process for the election of the most powerful man on globe starts almost a year before through state primaries and caucuses. The motive of the state primaries and caucuses is to allow the states to choose the nominees of political parties for the general elections. The state primaries are conducted by local or state governments through secret ballot while caucuses are the private meetings organized by political parties to choose nominees.
In caucuses, participants divide themselves into the groups in accordance with the candidate they support. There is also a group of participants who have not decided for any candidate. Then each group delivers a speech supporting its candidate and persuades others to join its group. In the end of caucuses, party organizers count the voters in each candidate's group and calculate how many delegates each candidate has won.
Each state primary of caucuses consist of certain number of delegates. After the end of all state primaries and caucuses, the candidate who receives the support of majority of delegates wins the respective party nomination. In the year 2016, a Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton had to receive 2,383 of the estimated 4,765 delegates to become the party’s nominee while a Republican candidate Donald Trump had to receive 1,237 of the estimated 2,472 delegates. The difference in number of delegates in both the parties exists due to complex rules and practices.
In order to elect the President, the people votes to choose Electors and these Electors form an Electoral College. Separate election takes place in all 50 states and District of Columbia where people elect the Electoral College. Each state has separate number of electors depending upon the number sent by a respective state to the Congress.
California, the most populous state, has 55 electors, Texas has 38, and New York and Florida have 29 each. On the other hand, lightly populated Alaska, Delaware, Vermont and Wyoming have only three electors each.
There are total 538 Electors and in order to win, a candidate needs the votes of at least 270 electors. In 48 states and Washington DC, the winner gets all the votes in the state but in Maine and Nebraska, a proportional system is followed.
Anomaly Of Winning Popular Vote, Losing Elections
In the US elections, though uncommon but it is possible to win the popular votes but lose the presidential elections. In other words, it is possible that a candidate may win the popular votes but fails to win the Electoral College. In has happened in the most recent elections of 2016 when Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton was ahead of Republican candidate Donald Trump with more than two million votes but could not reach the magical figure of 270 in Electoral College. In other words, Hillary was able to win the majority of votes but failed to win the majority of states and that’s why, despite losing on popular vote, Donald Trump became the President Elect. He will become the President of the US on January 20, 2016 when he will take oath.
However, when polling occurred on November 8, 2016, public voted for the Electoral College and after the counting of popular votes and formation of Electoral College, it become clear who is going to be the President Elect. In fact the actual voting by the Electoral College to elect the President will be held on December 19, 2016.
The Constitution doesn’t require electors to vote according to the popular vote of the people they represent. But it’s rare for an elector against the choice of their people and party. When actual voting will take place on December 19, 2016, if Electors vote against their pledge, the elections result might be reversed but usually it doesn’t happens. Recently, when the protests erupted across the US against the election of Donald Trump, the protesters were hoping for the reversal of polling results during the voting by Electoral College. However, it is even rarer than the election of Donald Trump.
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