Voting and Elections: The End of the Obama Era
The United States of America has one of the world’s most peculiar political and electoral systems. Put in place by the country’s Founding Fathers with slight amendments over the years by legislators, the systems were conceived with the primary goal of safeguarding the country’s democracy while also ensuring that the best interests of the nation are put first before individual greed and desires. The systems are reflective of the significant emphasis laid by the Founding Fathers, the political class, and the general public on the leadership capabilities of the candidates and the president-elect. Moreover, it reflects on the country’s position as one of the premier democracies in the world. From the party primaries, caucuses to public presidential debates, popular votes, and Electoral College the U.S. boasts of a unique political process that ensures that the candidates are properly sieved and only the best sits in the highest political office in the land.
One of the most interesting thing about Chapter 15 is America’s general election process. Choosing a president in the U.S. is an intricate process marked by a complex voting system that sets it apart from the rest of the world. The standard practice in many democracies around the world is that a president or prime minister is the winner of popular vote. In some countries, the winner must win at least fifty percent of votes cast. Failure by any candidate the required bare minimum calls for runoffs between the two leading candidates where a simple majority is usually used to declare the winner. The nomination process for presidential candidates in most democracies is also simple and straightforward where party delegates decides who carries the party ticket during a delegates’ conference.
However, the electoral system in the U.S. takes a different approach right from party nominations. Leading parties hold nominations where caucuses and presidential primary elections where electorates vote for delegates. To further set the country’s political system apart from the rest of other democracies and cement its position as one of the leading democracies in the world, the U.S. party primaries are characterized by intense campaigning, lobbying and debates including town hall meetings and live television debates. The party presidential candidates have to go an extra mile to win their party tickets. Like in the case of President Obama’s campaign in 2008, candidates must develop strong grass root networks and source for campaign finances. In many countries, campaign financing is not a big issue and rarely determines who wins the presidency or the party ticket.
The common practice in most countries and democracies is that the winner is determined by the candidate who garners the highest popular vote. Interestingly, the U.S. counts the popular but determines the winner of the presidency by the number of Electoral College votes won. While the Founding Fathers came up with this system to prevent the election of an unsuitable person to the presidency through manipulation of popular votes, I disagree with its effectiveness. The Electoral College is composed of individuals who the Founding Fathers believed could not be influenced. Yet the same constitution that safeguards the Electoral College system does not safeguard against the punishment of renegade or faithless electors.
In conclusion, one of the primary factors that sets the United States of America as one of the leading democracies in the world is its extraordinary electoral and political system. The system uses a complex process for selecting party candidates and the final winner of general elections. This is unlike many democracies where the process is rather simple and devoid of these sieves. However, despite the good intentions of the Founding Fathers who conceived the Electoral College, the system is not safeguarded against manipulation as they envisioned.