Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentElections · 1 decade ago

Can you briefly explain the American Presidential system?

Hi All

I don't live in the USA but we get plenty of news coverage here of the presidential elections but I don't really understand how it works. Please could someone explain briefly how it works? There are a number of candidates from different parties. When people vote do they vote for the party or the candidate? Is it a case of whoever is the last one standing wins? What happens when they win? Do they go up against George Bush for a shot at the presidency? If so, when is this likely to be?

Thanks for any help. Sorry to admit I don't know too much about the way it works but I am interested and would like to know.

11 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Alright, so there are two parties, the Democrats, and the Republicans. The primary elections that we are holding right now are being held to decide which person from each party will get to run for president in the general election. So you go to the polls and vote for the candidate from whichever party you are affiliated with that you like best. Whoever wins and becomes the party nominee then gets to start their campaign to be the next president instead of campaigning to become the nominee of their party. George Bush has served the maximum of two terms, so the next president will be elected in November, and will begin his or her term on January 20th 2009.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    This answer got me a best answer the other day.

    Okay Melissa you need a better answer that what you have so far;

    We basically have a two party system in the United States. There are others such as the Libertarians and the Greens but most people don't pay them any mind.

    What you see know is the final candidates getting ready for the final battle.

    Look at it like a football playoff. You start out with many teams in two different leagues. In this case the democrats had eight and the republicans had eight. Each state choses delegates that will go to a nominating convention later this year.

    Some states choose delegates by elections and others chose by a caucus. A primary is a straight up election. A caucus is a strange thing. On a given night people show up at a school, a house, a library, wherever. They literally stand in a spot that shows which candidate they support. If a candidate fails to get 15% of the vote then their section is eliminated. Those people have an option to go stand with another candidate or to sit it out. After the second round you will end up with three or four candidates that have the votes. These numbers are phoned into the state capital for tabulation.

    Here it gets a little tricky; many of the democratic caucuses are proportional. Get 40% of the votes, get 40% of the delegates. Most republicans are winner take all. Get the most votes and you get all the delegates. This gives the appearance of front runner to the winner and finishes the primaries earlier for republicans.

    Okay, now it gets weirder for democrats. Nearly 20% of the delegates are called super delegates and they are not voted for. Instead they are chosen by the democratic party leaders.

    As the candidates fall further and further behind they begin to drop out. So that leaves us with Obama, Hillary, and Gravell for the democrats and McCain, Huckabee, and Paul for the republicans. Gravell and Paul don't have the proverbial snowballs chance but as long as they want to spend the money they can run. Huckabee is a long shot but he spends his money very wisely and can last. Obama and Hillary are almost tied in delegates. If no one in either party can get a majority then the convention will have to decide who the nominee is. The first round of voting has to go by the primary results and thereafter the delegates can make deals and vote for whomever they want to. There hasn't been a brokered convention since 1952. It should be exciting.

    Okay, now you have two candidates that survive the nominating process. There is no constitutional right to vote for president in this country. In the early days the state legislatures would chose electors that would represent the state. Other states used the popular vote to chose electors. Today all states use the popular vote to chose electors. There are two slates of electors in each state; one republican and one democrat. The winner of the vote advances their electors. Our election is the first Tuesday in November, the electors vote the first Tuesday of December, and the first thing the new congress does in January is count the votes. Because each state is a separate contest it is possible for a president to lose the popular vote and win the electoral vote. It is the electoral vote is what counts. So any other questions?

  • Erika
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    American Presidential System

  • 1 decade ago

    The candidates for the Presidency are chosen through a series of of state by state primary elections.Voters registered Democrat vote in Democrat primaries and the same for Republicans.However,in some states voters can cross party lines and vote for the opposing party's candidate.Each state is assigned a certain number of "delegate votes" based on population size.At the end of the primaries the candidate who has won a majority of delegates becomes the party's nominee for the Presidency.

    Presidents are not chosen by direct election.In the general election each state is assigned a certain number of "electoral" votes,also based on population.When a candidate wins the most votes in any given state he or she is awarded all those electoral votes.The candidate who wins the most electoral votes is declared the winner.Therefore it is possible for a presidential candidate to win a majority of votes nationwide but lose the election if the opponant won the states that gave him a majority of electoral votes The final stage is a formality.Each state designates "electors" who are required to go before congress and actually cast electoral votes.It is only a formality and electors always vote for the candidate who won their state.At that point the new president is declared by congress and takes office on january 27th.

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  • in a sense you vote for candidate as well as party. we are a represenatitve democracy so we elect people to stand for our beliefs. A US Presidential term is 4 years a term but also limited to 2 terms, so a US president can only be in office a max of 8 years. Bush is done, regardless of who takes his spot, he can not legally hold office any longer. During elections delegates and electoral college rules over popular vote, so much so that if a candidate wins 51% of the popular vote that in no way means that he or she will be the elected rep. Very confusing stuff! Just a quick rundown at 3am, I'm sure you'll hear more.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    We have a two party system.

    Democrats are the robin hoods. They like to tax the working class to give to the poor. This is the party that believes in the killing of the unborn. Tax and spend, big government, "free" health care. Take away arms from the people.

    Republicans are the common sense party. The believe in freedom and individual responsibility. Arrange for your own health care. Adopt out the unplanned unborn. They support the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Lower taxes, less welfare, small government.

    Every 4 years we get to elect one. Two terms is a limit so Mr. Bush will not run again. We use a method called the electoral college, and that is a complete lesson in its own right. So watch the news and enjoy the fireworks

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It would take quite awhile to explain it really, but in a nutshell, no, George Bush cannot run again by law. They will not go up against him. In the primaries, you are registered with a party and you vote for the candidate you want to be the presidential nominee for your party (just for example -- Republicans/McCain and Democrats/Clinton). When the parties get their nominees, registered voters can vote for whoever they want for president in November of this year.

  • 1 decade ago

    In the US anyone can run for president. 12-18 months before the election that will decide the president, people declare their candidacy. There may be several people from the same or different parties.

    In the U.S. there are several parties... but two dominate Republicans and Democrats. Others usually don't have the structure and financial support to truly compete.

    Next comes primary season for the two main parties. Each state holds its own form of election to choose its candidate. Every state may do it differently. Some allow everyone to vote for anyone regardless of party(open primary). Others only allow people registered as members of particular party to vote for their party candidates.(closed primary)

    The votes in each state determines how many delegates that state sends to the national conventions for each candidate.

    Some states send all of their delegates to vote for one candidate in each party. Other states may split up the number of delegates depending on the number of votes each cadidate recieved.

    Each party has a national convention (big meeting late summer/early fall)

    The goal of the primaries is for each state to send delegates to the convention to represent their states vote for president. The hope is that the primary elections will choose a candidate from each party before the conventions. That usually happens. This year may be an exception with Hillary and Obama for the Democratic party.

    By the end of each convention, that party has selected its nominee for president. Usually a sitting president automatically becomes the nominee if he/she chooses to run again. Our presidents are limited to 2 four year terms. After that they can't run any more. George Bush's two terms are up.

    The nominees that are elected at the convention face each other in the general election.

    In the general election anyone can vote for anyone regardless of party.

    The US also has what is called the electoral college which complicates who wins a little. In the general election each state has a cerain number (based on population) of electoral votes. The candidat with the most votes in that state from the general election wins the electoral votes for that state. The one with the most electoral overall votes wins the presidency.

    This process will be completed by the first week in November of this year. Although the new president won't take office until January 20th of 2009.

    Some people decide who to vote for by party others vote for a particular candidate. You can vote for any reason you choose.

    That is it in a nutshell. Easy huh?

  • Sami V
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Current election process called primary is for choosing the party candidates which will culminate in the national conventions of the respective parties after which the chosen candidates representing their parties will compete in the general elections in November 2008 to be the next President!

  • Mike
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Two parts

    1st many people in each part run in a Primary election. This is just to see who will win their parties nomination for the presidency. The voting for the primary election happens state by state.

    2nd General election where the people vote for the person who is best in their opinion. And we vote for people not parties. But in order to run you have to pick a party to belong to.

    the general election we can vote for anybody, there is almost always just 2 candidates. In the general election your voting not only for president, but also VP called a ticket

    here you have to read for yourself

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