Wednesday 19 October 2016

How next U.S. president will emerge

Many democracies across the world are fashioned to reflect the United States (U.S.) presidential model. How many of those democracies have constitutional technicalities that almost made the U.S. presidential system a flawless model?

Presidents and Vice Presidents are elected by popular votes in a presidential system. But, the U.S. model is complex. According to the U.S. Constitution, America’s presidents and vice presidents are not elected by citizens’ votes alone. After the popular votes, the contenders for the U.S. presidency will need to go for another election at the Electoral College.

Electoral College, as the name may have implied, is not an institution, but a group of representatives (electorals) from all the federating states. America’s founding fathers ostensibly foresaw a situation where an unpopular candidate may find his way into the White House.
“American founding fathers feared the rule of the mob and feared about democracy,” John Zogby, a renowned pollster, said of the Electoral College.

Zogby, senior partner at John Zogby Strategies, said the purpose behind Electoral College as is to give every constituency an opportunity to have input in the selection of who becomes occupant of the White House. He said it is a form of check and balance in the electoral process to prevent election of a “dangerous candidate”.

In the U.S., there is a total 538 Electoral College votes. This number is determined according to constituencies represented in the Congress. The representatives of these constituencies may automatically become the electorals or each party may nominate loyal members as electorals.

Each state has two senators. Membership of the House of Representatives is varied, because it is based on population and size of a constituency.

For any candidate to be elected president or vice president, he must garner 270 majority out of 538 Electoral College vote.

Does that mean the popular vote is meaningless?

Winning popular votes during the presidential election is not enough to declare a candidate as winner, but it puts such candidate in a position to win the Electoral College votes of the state. For a candidate to win electoral votes in a state, he has to win the state during presidential election.

In his analysis, Zogby said: “New York State, for instance has 29 Electoral College votes. A candidate does not have to win the majority of the popular votes to win New York; if that person just wins the total votes cast, that person gets the full 29 electoral votes. It is the same way in almost every state. There are couples of states that are different, such as Nebraska and Maine. It is because they are very small states.”

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