NewsMobile Explainer: US Primaries and Presidential electoral process

Former US Vice-President Joe Biden Joe Biden has trudged ahead of his fellow Democrat and rival Bernie Sanders on Tuesday in the Democrat party primaries. 14 states and US held territories voted in an event termed the “Super Tuesday”.

The United States of America (USA) will be electing their new President in November 2020. In this regard, let us look at some of the points to remember regarding this process:

 The main parties are the Democrats and the Republicans. There are other parties such as the Green party and Libertarian party etc.

 Candidates first fight other candidates within their party, secure a nomination and then compete against other candidates.

 The incumbent President Donald Trump belongs to the Republican Party and so does George W Bush (the former President).

 The Democrats, on the other hand will be hoping to capture the White House this coming November. Former US President Barrack Hussain Obama is a democrat and so is Bill Clinton, also a former President.

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Let us look at the stages of the US Presidential elections,

1. Primaries and caucuses

Individuals interested in contest the Presidential elections can sign up at this state by registering with the party of their choice.

The Primaries take place from February- June in 50 states that constitute the US, five US held territories and those abroad (US Expatriates).
The first stage is that of Primaries, once the candidates have registered, an electoral college is formed.

Bernie Sanders

Those nominated to the electoral college during the Primaries converge at the Party conventions in the month of June and elect the choice of their candidate who will then secure a nomination and become the face of their respective parties.

The Party can also nominate certain elected members to the electoral college.

Individuals vote for the members of the electoral college based on their support to candidates who are contesting.

Primaries can be both open and closed. In the former category, anyone, irrespective of their party affiliation can vote. However, in the latter, only registered party members can vote.

These are conducted by the respective state governments.

What is the difference between a primary and a caucus?

Primaries are just the process wherein votes take place, whereas in Caucuses, candidates participate in discussions and party workers throw their weight behind candidates.

What is the current state of Primaries and the difference between how the two major parties operate?

Republicans will not be having any Primaries and caucuses. President Donald Trump is all set to secure a nomination for the second term.

The Primaries for the Democrats began on February 3rd. March 3rd is termed as the Super Primaries as 14 states of the US vote.

The fate of the candidates is decided on this date mostly.

Who are the democrats who are contesting?

Some of the candidates who are attempting to secure a democratic party nomination are Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Vice-President Joe Biden and Businessman Michael Bloomberg.

Joe Biden

Bernie Sanders is expected to do well in the Caucuses, but is not expected to get the support of the candidates during the Primaries.

After June, once the parties have decided their candidates, they participate in the various debates and actively canvass around the country side seeking votes.

2. Actual elections

These elections take place sometime in November. The citizens of the US, once again elect an electoral college, consisting of individuals who support candidates preferred by the people.

Once this takes place, the electoral college elects the candidate and the person securing the most number of votes is declared the winner and becomes the US President.

The winning candidate is sworn in as the US President in the month of February.

US President Donald Trump

3. US Presidential elections 2020

As of March 2020, the incumbent President Donald Trump has a popularity rating of a little over 50%. The actual numbers will be clear soon after the Democratic National Convention concludes in June. President Trump will be up against some tough democrats who have a grand standing. What he can bank on, is the fact that the US economy is on the path to recovery and his zero tolerance on various national security issues have strengthened the US.

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