The race for the White House has begun as the United States Presidential Election 2020 is scheduled to take place on November 3. It will be the 59th quadrennial presidential election. This year, President Donald Trump is seeking a re-election for a second term from the Republican ticket while the Democrats have announced Joe Biden as its Presidential candidate. The Presidential elections of the most powerful democracy are keenly observed across the world.
Here is a look at answers to some of the questions on the upcoming US Election 2020:
- How is a President elected in America:
The first step is to choose a nominee for the President's post. In order to pick the nominee, parties first hold primaries and caucuses in different states to pick 'delegates' who will then go on to support the Presidential nominee. While some states decide to hold a secret ballot (Primaries) to chose delegates others elect their delegates by a show of hands in an open meeting (caucuses).
The second step is the National Conventions. The National Convention is a large gathering, usually held at a stadium or a big open space, of all the delegates chosen by the states during the Primaries and Caucuses. At this gathering, the delegates vote and the party announces who is going run for the Presidential elections from their party.
- Who can become a US president:
Anyone who wants to run for President of the United States of America will need to meet three main criteria.
-They should be a natural-born citizen of the United States.
-A resident of the United States for 14 years.
-And at least 35 years old.
- How many times can one run for the White House:
A President is limited to serve two elected four-year terms in the White House. It can also serve two additional years if an individual becomes president through the order of succession — taking office after the death, resignation, or ousting of the previous president. So, 10 years is the longest any president could serve, but no one so far has been in the White House for that long since Congress passed an amendment on term limits. The 22nd Amendment to the US Constitution states "no person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice."
Before the 22nd Amendment, a President could serve an unlimited number of terms. Franklin Roosevelt is the only President to have served more than two terms. He was elected four times and served from 1932 to 1945.
- How many parties are there in American politics:
Unlike many other countries, in the US, there are only two parties considered by most voters - the Democrats (the liberal, left-of-centre party) and the Republicans (the conservative, right-of-centre party).
Other "third-party" candidates sometimes participate, with the Libertarian, Green and Independent parties occasionally putting forth a nominee.
- What are Red and Blue states:
'Red' states and 'Blue' states have referred to US states whose voters have predominantly elected either the Republican Party (Red) or Democratic Party (Blue) presidential candidates. The Republican bastions such as Idaho, Alaska, and many southern states are considered 'Red States', while Democrat-dominated states such as California, Illinois and much of the New England region of the northeast coast are called 'Blue States'.
Apart from Red and Blue states, there are also Swing states that can change hands depending on the candidate. Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are reportedly considered as swing states in the 2020 election.
What is the electoral college and how does it work:
Under the Electoral College system, each state is assigned a certain number of "votes". There are a total of 538 electoral votes.
Which state gets how many electoral votes depends on the size of its population. For example, California, the largest state of the US, has maximum number of electors at 55. Meanwhile, Alaska is the largest state of the US by area but due to low population, it has only three electors.
The six biggest states are California (55), Texas (38), New York (29), Florida (29), Illinois (20) and Pennsylvania (20).
The formula for determining the number of votes for each state is simple: each state gets two votes for its two US Senators, and then one more additional vote for each member it has in the House of Representatives. For California, this means that it gets 55 votes (2 senators and 53 members of the House of Representatives).
These electors vote in December and have to vote twice: for President and Vice President candidates. The candidate needs a simple majority of 270 in the electoral college to win the Presidential election.
Things get tricky during Electoral College as despite a party winning maximum states on the Voting Day might lose in Electoral College.
- Role of Indians in this election:
In terms of electoral and geopolitical influence, Indian Americans and India have become important over the last decade. The biggest talking point in this election is about Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris, who is half-Indian. She may go on to become the first Indian American vice-president in the history of the United States if Joe Biden wins. Biden even spoke about standing with India in confronting the emerging regional and border threats.
However, a recent survey has revealed that Indian Americans are closer towards Trump than his Democratic rival Biden. According to the survey, at least 50 per cent of the potential Indian American voters, the vast majority of whom have traditionally voted for Democrats in the previous presidential elections, will vote for Trump.
Both India and the US have seen huge fanfare around events like ‘Howdy Modi’ and ‘Namaste Trump’, where big deals between the nations were agreed upon. It said that Indian-Americans believe the Trump-Modi relationship will successfully counter China's influence at the global stage.
• Who is Kamala Harris:
Kamala Harris, born in 1964 to a Jamaican father and an Indian mother, spent much of her formative years in Berkeley, California. After her parents' divorce, Harris was raised primarily by her Hindu single mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, a cancer researcher and civil rights activist.
Harris ran for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2020 election, briefly becoming a frontrunner before ending her campaign on December 3, 2019, citing a lack of funds to continue.
In her presidential campaign last year, Kamala Harris pitched herself as a history-making candidate who could appeal to both progressives and moderates.
She became the district attorney - the top prosecutor - for San Francisco in 2003, before being elected the first woman and the first black person to serve as California's attorney general, the top lawyer and law enforcement official in America's most populous state.