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Do you understand the Election Process in the USA?

22 Oct
English: Seal of the President of the United S...

English: Seal of the President of the United States Español: Escudo del Presidente de los Estados Unidos Македонски: Печат на Претседателот на Соединетите Американски Држави. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U.S. Election seen through the eyes of Pascal Beltran del Rio

While the prediction is not made by the magazine The Economist and the International Monetary Fund, among others, predict that in the next decade China exceeds the United States as the largest economy in the world, American elections are likely to be the political process most foreigners in the rest of the world will watch!

The social network Twitter was abuzz last Tuesday night with comments in real time and in many languages ​​on the second debate between candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney .

It mattered little that the sayings of other nations were scarce in the collation, which, for me, I’ve seen all the debates of presidential candidates in the United States since the election between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan in 1980 – has been, by far, the better.

In the world there is an obvious interest in the outcome of the election next November 6, beyond which historically cannot be said that a change of party in power in Washington involving an abrupt turn in U.S. foreign policy.

True, the United States armed forces left Iraq, as promised by Obama in campaign in 2008, but remain in Afghanistan. And the Pentagon just seems to have changed its intervention strategy with the presence of soldiers on the ground by attacks from the air with the help of unmanned aircraft (drones ).

What is certain, again, is the worldwide interest in the American electoral process. So it is important to understand.

Unlike what happens in Mexico, Americans elect their president in an election by the popular vote of the nationwide, but in 51 separate elections: those held in each of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, federal district where the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. sits.

Each of them carries a number of “electoral votes” who commit their vote for the candidate who was victorious in the state, with the exception of Maine and Nebraska, who have other rules, and is exercised in his favor at the College Electoral, which meets “the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December.”

This system makes U.S. choice is, in addition to the sum of 51 polls separate indirect choice. The important thing is not to get the majority of the popular vote but at least 270 of the 538 electoral votes at stake.

Although the United States has a variety of political parties and allow the participation of independent candidates, in fact has been a two-party democracy during most of its existence. That makes the 538 electoral votes allocated among only two presidential candidates and those who win one, lose the other.

A portion of the 51 elections held to appoint the President of the United States has been quite predictable since 1976.

There is a growing list of states that vote for the same party, whether Democrat or Republican. For example, in Minnesota the Democratic candidate always wins, while in the Dakotas, north and south, neighboring one, always the Republican candidate who wins the victory.

Over time, it has been increasing the number of states that become electorally faithful.

For example, the central belt of the country, from the border with Mexico to the border with Canada, has been solidly Republican for many years.

The last time the Democratic Party won a presidential election in the state of Texas-rich in electoral votes, was in 1976.

Besides Texas, 21 other states have always voted overwhelmingly for the Republican candidate since 2000.

The problem for the party is that outside of Texas, with its 38 electoral votes (14% needed to win the presidency), the rest of which do not weigh much on their own. Then following it is Tennessee, with 11 electoral votes.

Democrats are less faithful states (19), but among them are California, with 55 electoral votes, New York with 29 and Illinois with 20.

In summary, one can say that in 41 of the 51 states of the country’s presidential election is almost resolved. The other ten are known in English as swing states because the electorate has swung from one party to another in recent elections.

Among the latter are the states of Florida and Ohio, with 29 electoral votes and 18 respectively.

The vote on these two entities has been critical in previous elections. In 2000, Florida was instrumental in the victory of George W. Bush over Al Gore, in an election that proved controversial, including allegations of fraud. And it is worth remembering that, since 1960, no candidate has been able to reach the White House without winning Ohio.

Thus, the U.S. presidential elections are fought really a handful of states which are known as the battleground states. Besides Florida and Ohio, it is very difficult to predict the outcome in Wisconsin, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa and New Hampshire. They are a tossup.

That leaves less than 100 electoral votes in dispute, of the total 538, according to the estimate made ​​yesterday The New York Times based on statewide surveys.

Since 1964, it has reached a total of 538 the number of votes in the Electoral College, there have been only five sweeps in the presidential election (75% or more of the disputed electoral votes). In the remaining seven elections, the loser has obtained at least 168 (31%) of the 538 electoral votes.

The closest election in recent history was 2000, when Bush won with 271 electoral votes (one more than the minimum).

A similar scenario is that many contemplated for the Nov. 6 election. He even outlined the possibility of a draw to 269 electoral votes between Obama and Romney, which would force Congress to choose the president and vice president (the House of Representatives and Senate the first to the second), something that has not happened in United States since 1824.

At that point the political polarization has reached the northern neighbor.

Is it important for Mexico who wins? I think not, although I’m sure that if Mexicans participate in the election, Obama would win.

Why say no? Immigration policy Obama has not been particularly good for Mexico. He has not kept his promise to push for comprehensive immigration reform and has deported 1.5 million illegal workers, more than George W. Bush and Bill Clinton together.

And even though the extraction Republican presidents have been more concerned about solving the immigration dilemma with Mexico, I have not heard anything in the speech Romney let me be optimistic, quite the contrary.

It is true that Mexico has been inadvertently interfered in the electoral process, as in the trade dispute over the tomato-but what really affects the relationship between Mexico and the United States is not the result at the polls on November 6 but the global economic environment.

Our country is on track to become the largest U.S. trading partner. The rising cost of labor in China, and the increase in international oil prices, and therefore transport-that Mexico will soon replace China as the preferred location for many multinational manufacturing, and wrote a few days ago columnist Edward Luce in the newspaper Financial Times .

That and the changes in American demographics-is estimated that in 40 years a third of the U.S. population is Latino-effects have more to Mexico than the name of the next resident of the White House.

Still, our level of integration we should become customary observers of American politics. For now, I will watch keenly, Monday morning, the third and final debate between Obama and Romney.

 

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