A real headache: the American elections

in Mood of the Day

Next night for the French, millions of Americans will be riveted to their screens to know the name of their next president. The electoral system in the United States remains a real headache for me as the units of measure. Remember that the American motto could be summed up in this sentence: “Why do it simply when we can make it complicated!” The easiest to retain, two opposing forces unleasten every four years to obtain the supreme post. The vote takes place in November and takes office in January of the following year. For months, American life was punctuated by the pre-election frenzy, also known as the primary ones. They aim to design the representative of each party in the final race. Between meetings, debates and reports, you cannot escape this rise in political life.

But, where you could make it simple with a single day of voting, Americans prefer to make things worse. Election polls depend on each State and party and may not be held on the same day. It’s amazing!

Moreover, unlike the French, the Americans do not choose their president directly, but superdelegates who have clearly committed themselves to one of the candidates for the supreme office. In fact, Americans put in the polls the name of the candidate they want to support, and often they don’t even know the name of the representative they designate. For Democrats and Republicans, the official nomination takes place during the national convention, a grand mass where all superdelegates vote until the majority prevails. It can therefore take days and many rounds of balloting.

In primary elections, elections can be proportional or on the principle of “Winner takes all” (the candidate who obtains the majority of votes wins all of the state’s superdelegates). I feel like I lost you, but the worst thing is that it is not over, because in some states we do not vote directly for delegates, but in the caucus. This method of voting consists of gathering sympathizers at the same time in certain predefined places for each constituency (these places are obviously specific to each political party) in order to select, sometimes by show of hands, the local representative. The latter will elect those from the county and so on up to the state level. This archaic system still exists in a dozen American states.

But the worst thing, in my view, is voting by assembly. All party activists are grouped in a hall divided into several zones, each assigned to a candidate. People put themselves there to show their support. At the end of the session, the number of people for each competitor is counted. If I understand the explanations of my future father-in-law, there are two rounds in this voting system. In the second round, only the two candidates who won the most sympathizers are maintained, so the fans of the eliminated contenders will have to postpone their vote on a new challenger. We see the setting up of candlelight bargaining on the part of each supporter of the two camps to attract as many lost souls as possible. All the arguments can be used, except to pay people. A nameless brothel!

If at least all the constituencies voted the same way, but not, we like to make things more complicated in this country. Thus, within a state, both parties choose their own electoral method. For example, in Iowa, Republicans do it by ballot, whereas Democrats prefer caucuses. As I told you, how to make it simple when you can do complicated! And again, I have described you as the main lines of the primary, because there are a multitude of small exceptions in this country.

Then, at the beginning of November, the election takes place, where you choose the Great Voters who will nominate the president. At the same time, you vote for your congressman, your sheriff…

It’s to avoid the knots in my brain that I haven’t been interested in politics since I arrived on American soil. But, asking for American nationality, I’m going to have to look more seriously at the issue.

Have a nice day and Vote


La Puce

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