By Don Rajael CCNN Writer
The 2016 Presidential election between Democrats and Republicans is heating up, as candidates compete for voters. Voters weighed in on the party primary race, to determine which candidates will compete for the general election.
Top contenders in the Republican race included billionaire Donald Trump, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and Ohio governor John Kasich. Cruz and Kasich dropped out, however, after Trump’s victory in the Indiana primary on May 3rd, making him the presumptive nominee. The Democratic field was down to ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, but Clinton clinched the number of delegates needed. This makes her the first-ever woman to become the nominee for a major party in the presidential race. Sanders, however, will continue fighting until the Democratic party convention from July 25th-28th.
See, each state in the USA is worth a certain number of delegates. A republican candidate needs 1,237 out of 1,762 delegates to represent the party in the general election, while the democratic primary winner will need 2,383 out of 3,276 delegates. Clinton and Trump both passed the required mark.
Now that we’ve taken a look at party politics, let’s explore the history behind the USA’s election process.
After America’s Founding Fathers broke free from British rule with the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and won the American Revolution in 1783, George Washington became the first president. He served two terms, and decided not to run for a third term due to age. Presidents followed this two-term tradition in the decades thereafter, with the exception of a few third-term attempts by the likes of Ulysses S. Grant and Grover Cleveland. In fact, the only president to win more than two terms was Franklin D. Roosevelt, who served an unprecedented four terms from 1933 to 1945. In 1951, the Twenty-second Amendment to the Constitution (the highest law of the land) officially set term limits on the presidency, and Obama’s second four-year term ends next year. On November 8, 2016, American citizens vote for a new President!
Once the party primaries are over, the top Republican and Democrat will face off for the presidency. What you may not know, is that voters don’t pick them directly. Presidents are instead picked by the Electoral College, whose 538 members represent states proportionally like Congress. That means a big state like California has 55, because it has a much bigger population than a state like Nevada, which only gets 6 currently. In most states, when a presidential candidate wins the majority vote from ordinary citizens, they basically get all of the electoral votes from that state in a “winner-take-all” system. After a candidate rakes in an absolute majority of electoral votes (currently 270), they become the President of the United States!
If Clinton wins, she’ll be the first female president ever!
Featured image courtesy of CNBC. Image of Clinton courtesy of Hillary Clinton Facebook (left) and image of Rubio courtesy of Marco Rubio Facebook (right).