Written by Steven Spear, Jr.
In the last article, we looked at the details of the early stages in the current presidential election cycle (primary debates and the primaries, which includes primary elections and caucuses). Now, we are looking at what happens after the primaries. At the end of every primary season, one candidate has—usually—won more than enough delegates to secure the party’s nomination, and the party will hold a national convention to officially nominate the candidate as the party’s presidential nominee.
Other convention events:
- A person is chosen to be the vice presidential nominee (usually this person has already been announced)
- A party platform is assembled; this bundle of policy stances is ideological (as opposed to pragmatic) and mostly gives only general ideas of a party’s policy objectives
- Speeches given by the presidential candidate’s spouse and/or children, prominent politicians, and celebrities
On July 21, 2016, Donald Trump accepted the nomination to become President of the United States at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland with Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana, as his running mate.
On July 28, 2016, Hillary Clinton accepted the nomination to become President of the United States at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with Tim Kaine, a Virginia Senator, as her running mate.
Presidential debates are seen as the candidates’ last chance to establish themselves as competent in the issues. The winners of close elections often credit successful debate performances as what pushed them ahead. In 1960, F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon participates in the first presidential debates. Nixon was the better debater, but he did not have the looks, style of dress, or overall appearance of Kennedy. Nixon lost the 1960 election, and everyone learned that appearance and demeanor as just as important—if not more important—than policy knowledge.
The debates are sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). The commission set the following rule: in order to be on the debate stage, a candidate must be at 15% in the major polls and be on the ballots of enough states to mathematically win the Electoral College. According to RealClearPolitics, Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate, is currently polling around 12% while Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presidential candidate, is currently polling around 5%.
The CPD presidential debates are on the following days:
- September 26
- October 9
- October 19
The vice presidential debate is on October 4, and there are talks of a fourth presidential debate on October 26th that will include Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, regardless of poll numbers.
Since 1845, Election Day has been the Tuesday immediately following the first Monday in November. Congress chose this date-selecting method to ensure that state’s choose their electors within a thirty-four day period—states have thirty-four days to choose their electors due to federal election law passed in the early 1790s. This year, Election Day is on November 8th.
When—not if—you go to the polls, you are not deciding who will be President of the United States. You are actually deciding how your state’s electoral votes should be distributed in the Electoral College. For example: In Florida, there are twenty-nine electoral votes. If I vote for Gary Johnson, I am saying that Florida’s twenty-nine electoral votes should go to Gary Johnson. The presidential election is an indirect election as opposed to a direct election—where whoever receives the most votes wins. An article discussing this indirect election, officially called the Electoral College, in more detail will be published on October 17th.
The Constitution was ratified on March 4, 1789, and this date was seen as the official starting date for the terms of the President, Vice President, and members of Congress. The downside was that because elections were held at he beginning of November, there was a four-month gap before the winners of the elections took their seats. The 20th amendment was ratified in 1933 to change this. Members of Congress now take their seats on January 3rd, and the President and Vice President take their seats on January 20th—known as Inauguration Day.
Inauguration Day takes place at the West Front of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court administers the oath of office to the President-elect at noon.
And there is the presidential election process! Everything considered, running for President takes almost two years of facing the media and withstanding the pressure of public opinion. We only have a few more months in the current election cycle, and it shows no signs of becoming dull or boring. Pay attention, and make the best decision you can on who should become the 45th President of the United States.
Election 2016 Presidential Polls. RealClearPolitics. Retrieved from http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/latest_polls/president/