1. Running for office is a major production in the U. S. Explain how our system of
nominations and primary elections works (for either a Congressional or a Presidential candidate), including information about how candidates are chosen and how they run their campaigns, and about the role of the Electoral College.
The United States Government is a democratically appointed government and therefore there is set procedures to guide the process of presidential nominations to the final elections. While there is no exact prevision for the nomination process in the United States of America Constitution, the National Convention system has been the preferred method of selecting the presidential candidate. Before the national convention is held, each party holds presidential primaries according to the bylaws of the specific party (Campbell, 2008).
In the primaries, Party members elect or choose delegates who will subsequently vote for a specific candidate in the national convention. Such a primary that bind the chosen delegates to a specific candidate is referred to as a binding primary and is common in nearly all states. Such a delegate is only allowed to vote for a specific candidate unless the candidate has allowed the delegate to vote otherwise. The second kind of primary is referred to as the non-binding primary. Here, delegates are chosen to attend a state convention that then selects the delegate to the national convention.
Each party then holds a national convention that official nominates a national presidential candidate. Both the Republican and Democratic Party hold national convention with the similar rules for presidential candidate nomination. Both parties work with two kinds of delegate, that is, the pledged delegates and unpledged delegates.
Unpledged delegates are members of the party who either hold offices at the party or are former office holders. Rules of parties direct that this group of delegates is allowed to vote as they wish in nominating a presidential candidate. On the other hand, pledged delegates are those selected through the primaries and will only vote as directed by their state party committees. For instance, the Democratic Party has about 4, 339 delegates in total. The pledged delegates are about 3, 537 while the unpledged make the rest of about 802 delegates. Similarly, the Republican Party has exactly 2, 066 comprised of 1, 907 pledged delegates and 157 unpledged candidates (Schmidt, 2011).
Presidential campaigns in the US often take much longer time as compared to other democracies in the world. Lobby groups, investors, political parties and like-minded political always look for possible candidates and look at the options for running for presidency. Once a candidate has made a decision, they look to make it public and begin to campaign for the nominations in the party.
Once a candidate has been nominated, the hurdle for major national campaign awaits. The biggest challenge that faces presidential candidates is their ability to raise funds. Donor groups and political lobbyist always funds candidate whom they feel have the best chance of clinching the presidency. Additionally, the ability to raise funds has been assumed to be a general acceptance of the candidate by the elite class. This improves political ratings of the candidate and chances for winning the presidency.
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The Electoral College
The Electoral College is an indirect means of presidential election in which representatives from each state elect the president. Each state is apportioned a number of representative equal to the number of its US Senators and the Representatives. There are 535 electors, the numbers of the Congress and an additional three members from District of Columbia as provided in the 23rd Amendment. Presidential elections define how each representative will vote. Electors will vote as per the majority of the votes from the citizens.
2. Describe the process of how a bill becomes a law. Make sure to include information about the role of political parties and interest groups, as well as where the bill starts and what steps it goes through along the way.
The process through which a bill is made into has been enshrined the country’s constitution. into law has been defined in the constitution. Nonetheless, several aspects have been left out by the constitution and these are catered for by the prevailing political situations. Ordinarily, several bills are discussed at the congress but only a few of such bills will end being assented to or vetoed by the president (Havel, 1996).
The first step where the bill begins the long process is the introduction of the bill. Primarily, a member of the Congress, that is either the House or Senate, can introduce a bill. Any such a member who introduces the bill to the Congress becomes the sponsor of the bill. Other members in support of the bill become co-sponsors of the bill. Introduction of bills in the house of representative is done by merely dropping it at the President’s desk. Any bill can be brought to the house but with only one exception. Bills regarding raising revenue can only be introduced at the House of Representatives but not in the senate.
There are committees present in the Congress and also the senate in which members of the each chambers are members. Large committees that look into important matters of the nation such the military, finance, health care, education, etc are constituted and have the responsibility of handling matters pertain such matters. Therefore each bill introduced to either chamber is forwarded to the relevant committee. In common practice, each committee is further subdivided into subcommittee to reduce workload on the congressmen.
The committee members evaluate the aspects of the bill and vote of whether the bill should proceed to the next step or not. If such a bill is allowed to proceed it passes to the House Procedure.
At the House, the bill is passed to what is to a committee known as the Committee of the Whole. In essence, this is the entire House of Representatives although the quorum required for it to carry out its activities is lower. At the committee, there is a reading of the bill which is then put to debate in which time is allocated to the different parties in the House (Egan, 2004).
Once the first debate is done, the second reading is done and any amendments that can be done to the bill are put forward. It is at this stage of debate that lobbyist and other interested parties of the bill introduce their influence. In general, lobbyist represent interested of parties in the bill and that the result of either passing or failing the bill will affect such persons considerably. Lobbyists sometime write to or meet legislators to explain the matters in the bill that may not be very direct. Advocacy groups, trade associations and other nongovernmental organizations may also lobby for cases that affect them.
Once the bill has been amended and fully debated, voting is carried out. If the bill passes the House, it proceeds to the senate procedure. At the senate procedure, the bill can take two possible directions. If the bill is found to be of emergency situation or a non-controversial matter, a simple voice vote would determine if it will be voted to pass. If the voice vote does not provide a sufficient outcome, it will be schedule for debate at a later time.
In cases where there are controversial views on the bill, senators employ the ‘ filibuster’ tactic to stall the process of passing the bill and therefore call for compromise on the bill provisions. After which it will be voted upon and forwarded to the Conference.
At the conference, the version from the senate and that from the House is compared and any differences are reconciled. After here, the bill is taken to the president who either goes ahead to assent or veto. If the President accents, it passed into law.
3 The population of the United States is very diverse. Explain how our political system adapts to the needs of this diverse population. Please include historical political events as well as information about the upcoming challenges of meeting the needs of our citizens.
The United States is probably the most diverse country in the world. The demography of United States is composed of six known different races, these are, White, Asian, African Americans, American Indian, Native Alaskan and Native Hawaiian. In general, the American community is divided into three constituent groups. That is, the Latinos or Hispanic, the Non-Latinos (white and Asians) and the Blacks.
White Americans (all non-Latinos) make up the majority of the population in the US. Latinos and the Black make up most of the minority group. However, the dynamics of American population has been under constant shift.
The problem of immigration began as far back as the 1800s. In fact, in 1882, Congress passed a bill that barred the immigration Chinese laborers into the United States. A further legislation called the Immigration Act was passed in 1924. This new law required that southern and eastern European nations be allocated quotas of immigrants, while East Asians and Indians were totally barred from immigrating into the US (Schmidt et al, 2011).
Since 1943, immigration rules and naturalization restrictions have virtually been lifted. In the 1965 Nationality Act, national origin quotas for immigrants were abolished and instead reference was pegged on visa cap leading to the surge in immigration. However, even as minority groups make a third of the population, this demography is not equally distributed in the country.
The case of ethnic and racial diversity was evident in the civil rights movements of the 1950s and 1960s. Minority groups, especially black rose in numbers to oppose the consistent societal and political discrimination of the time. (Campbell, 2008). The wave of civil movements was so influential that new legislation allowed the participation of the minorities in the political decision of the country.
With this realization, political systems have taken stance to adjust to these changes in the society. Political parties began to instill cultural diversity in their party structures as well as coalitions and party leadership structures. Culturally diverse party membership has become an additional advantage for political mileage. Cross-cultural advocacy has now taken priority in some government legislation. Nothing proves this better than the election of a black citizen into presidency
As we go towards the future, a multicultural society is inevitable. Thus, congress has the responsibility of ensuring that minority rights are enshrined in the laws of the land and in other institutional aspects. It is now encouraging to see more candidates from the minority races running for the presidency and other electoral positions.
As a society, it will also be necessary to encourage an equitable representation in the public offices. Emphasizing on the advantages of a multiethnic community will help encourage minority of the society to participate in the political system.
Campbell, J. E. (2008). The American campaign: U. S. presidential campaigns and the national vote. Houston: Texas A&M University Press.
Egan, T. (2004). How a Bill Becomes a Law. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group,.
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Havel, J. T. (1996). U. S. Presidential Candidates and the Elections: The elections, 1789-1992. Boston: Macmillan Library Reference USA,.
Schmidt, S. W., Bardes, B. A., & Shelley, M. C. (2011). American Government and Politics Today: The Essentials. New York: Cengage Learning.