Come, let us talk about one of the most important elections in the world The presidential elections of America Although the main elections are slated for November 2020, when people would choose one out of the two main Presidential candidates and make him the US president But right now, another elections are ongoing in the US which is even more interesting than this The elections to choose the Presidential candidates These are conducted within the political parties This is interesting because the Indian political parties can learn a lot from this Come, let us see
The ones amongst you that have never heard of primaries before will be surprised to hear that because basically, this is an election where the common public vote to decide upon the candidate within the party as to who would become the presidential candidate to represent the party Comparing with India, it is akin to the common public in India voting and deciding on whether Rahul Gandhi should become the Congress President or not And should Rahul Gandhi become the PM face for the Congress or not? The common public would vote and decide whether Narendra Modi should become the PM face for the BJP or it should be someone else there would be elections for that too And these are called Primaries
US Primary Elections
This election began in the US in February and would go on until July- August They go on for a long period of time. I will explain to you how they work What are its benefits and drawbacks and whether it can be implemented in India? It sounds quite simple to hear but actually, the process of the US primary elections is quite complicated and controversial When are these elections conducted? who can vote in these elections? How are they conducted? Regarding this, in every US state…
There are a total of 50 states in the US Every state has its own rules Furthermore, each of the political parties has their own rules One of them is a democratic party, another one of them is a Republican Party They have all made separate rules I shall talk about the generalized rules that are normally seen in the primary elections generally
Who Can Vote?
The first thing is that the people do not vote directly for their favorite candidate They vote for a party member who is called a delegate The people vote for the delegate and the delegate pledges that he would vote for their favorite candidate The delegates pledge beforehand that if people vote for them they would vote for their favorite candidate Taking the example of the democratic party, there are a total of 3979 delegates in the entire USA that are voted for And for any candidate to become a presidential candidate one needs to pass the halfway majority mark amongst the delegates That is, more than 1991 delegates are required The elections are conducted state by state.
This process takes months Elections are conducted in the states one by one where delegates are voted for And in the end, all the delegates assembled to vote for the Presidential candidate and the meeting where all the delegates meet is called the National convention The national convention for the Democratic party will be held between July 13th and July 16th For example, if I tell you the current state of the ongoing primary elections then within the democratic party the candidate Joe Biden is currently at number 1 670 delegates have won until now In the second place is Bernie Sanders who has won a total of 574 delegates
In the third place is Elizabeth Warren who has won a total of 69 delegates The difference between the second place and the third place has become so huge that realistically, Elizabeth Warren has no chance of becoming a Presidential candidate So the next Presidential candidate from the democratic party would either be Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders, On the other hand, Donald Trump has no competition in the Republican Party Donald Trump enjoys majority completely He has already won by 833 delegates And the one in the second place is a man named Bill Weld who has won just one candidate until now
So basically looking at the current state we can say that the next US President would be one amongst the three-Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump Generally when any elections are conducted anyone above the age of 18 can vote but since the primary elections are elections that are conducted within the party, it does not make sense to allow everyone to vote So what some of the states have done is that only the registered party members If you want to vote in the elections then you need to get yourself registered as the member of that party and you can vote in the primary elections of that particular party Such elections are called closed primary elections But in some of the US states, it is kept open
If you are independent and are not registered with any party then too, you can vote in the primary elections These are called semi-closed primary elections There is also a third type- open primary elections, that is, even if a voter is registered for a particular political party he can come and vote in the primary elections of another party Some US states conduct closed primary elections Some conduct semi-closed elections and some conduct open elections This also differs from party to party, For example, California, a state in the US there are open primary elections for the democratic party but not for the Republican party You could ask what is the logic behind the different systems?
One reason is that there is a clear advantage of open primary elections over the closed primary elections and that advantage is that when the independent voters cast their votes in the primary elections then you have a rough guess about the neutral people, who are not registered members of the party and which candidate would they vote for in the Presidential elections- which candidate do they prefer within a party which would benefit the party in the November elections But then you could ask why does every state not conduct open primary elections? The reason behind this is that every state in the US is free to act according to its own will The states have been given quite a lot of power in the United States In comparison to India, the Indian states do not have the power to make different rules for every matter
Types of Elections
The system of conducting elections is also different in the different states of the US There are mainly two ways of conducting elections- One is primary and another is caucus The primary system is basically how the voting in the elections are generally conducted The people stand in queues They cast their votes in the ballot boxes or on the EVMs And this is private voting, in a way You can not see who is voting for whom But caucus is public voting People physically assemble in party offices and make groups The people supporting the same candidate congregate in one corner
The people supporting another candidate assemble in another corner of the room and then both the groups debate among themselves and if someone in the group gets convinced that the other group is debating better and if they find that they like the other candidate more then they switch sides And in the end, it is finally counted to find how many people are standing in which group and the candidate (who has more people supporting him) is considered the winner that is, the delegates are awarded (to the candidate) Do keep in mind that some states have a primary system, some states have caucus system and some States have both the primary as well as the caucus system
Types of Voting
How many delegates are awarded on what voting percentage This system too, differs in the different US states Some States have proportional representation A candidate would be awarded delegates in the proportion of the percentage of the votes received In some of the states, the winner takes all If you cross the majority mark then all the delegates would be awarded to you, For example, look at the California State regarding the democratic party Bernie Sanders won there with 34% of the vote share Joe Biden came second with 27% of the vote share Bernie Sanders was awarded 186 delegates while Joe Biden was awarded 150 delegates So all of it depends on the vote share as this is proportional representation A huge mistake and one of the big differences between you and me I never believed what Cheney and Bush said about Iraq Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?