US Presidential Elections 2016

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By Dayrius Tay

When America heads to the polls this November, it marks the 58th US Presidential Election since the inaugural election in 1788.

The modern nominating process of U.S. presidential elections currently consists of two major parts: a series of presidential primary elections and caucuses held in each state, and the presidential nominating conventions held by each political party in which the running mate is also named. The United States uses an Electoral College System which was a compromise between allowing Congress to choose the President and a popular vote system. Each state gets a certain number of electors. Voters vote for an elector who will then vote for a candidate. The candidate who earns the majority of a state’s votes will receive all of the state’s electoral votes.

Currently, there are two major political parties in the United States. The centre-right Republican Party and its rival the centre-left Democratic Party. Republicans focus on economic liberalism, fiscal conservatism and social conservatism. The Republican Party’s platform involves support for free market capitalism, a strong national defence, deregulation, social-conservative policies and traditional values. The Democrats believe in modern liberalism, progressivism and social liberalism. The party’s philosophy of modern liberalism advocates social and economic equality, along with the welfare state. It seeks to provide government intervention and regulation in the economy. These interventions, such as the introduction of social programs, equal opportunity, consumer protection, and environmental protection form the core of the party’s economic policy.

The 2016 Presidential Election has been attracting international interest following the candidacy of the controversial Donald Trump and his recent Republican nomination. The bombastic and boisterous billionaire has been a target of criticism for his unconventional remarks about various subjects. He challenges the notion of political correctness with his contentious proposals and comments that have been branded by critics as discriminatory. In an incident that marred the Republican convention, fellow Republican Ted Cruz refused to endorse Mr Trump, in a bold move that has been labelled as political suicide by skeptics. Many analysts find his numerous revolutionary proposals simplistic and impractical. Trump promised to combat illegal immigration by building a wall along the U.S.–Mexico border, reform healthcare by repealing and replacing Obamacare, rebuild the U.S. military while improving veterans’ care, veto trade agreements that are unfavourable to American workers, and tackle Islamic terrorism by defeating ISIS and suspending immigration from countries that have been compromised by terrorism until the government has perfected its ability to screen out potential terrorists.

Facing Trump in the elections is the Democrat Hillary Clinton, wife of former President Bill Clinton. She served as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013 under incumbent Barack Obama, who gave a strong endorsement for her. Her campaign includes raising middle class incomes, establishing universal preschool and making college more affordable, and improving the Affordable Care Act. However, she has been denounced for her close ties to Wall Street and recently plagued with scandals. She was accused of mishandling sensitive data by using a private email server that may have compromised national security and recently a leak widely believed to have links with Russia showed how party officials favoured her over Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who also ran for the Democrat nomination.

Trump and Clinton have been exchanging blows and insults ever since being declared their party’s nominee. Trump rarely misses a chance to include the “Crooked” prefix before his adversary’s name and Clinton never ceases rallying her allies to blast Trump and his policies. This is not unexpected given that, according to numerous sources, they are the most disliked candidates in US history. It seems that no matter which direction the election moves towards, many will be left disappointed.

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