The US will have its next presidential election to appoint a new President on November 3, 2020. The new President could be a Republican or a Democrat. While the campaigns have started and the presidential and vice-presidential debates go on, the opinion is divided and it is not clear who will win. But the result is, of course, being eagerly awaited by people across the globe since the matter is of equal importance at home and outside.

Democrats vs Republicans

The US political system is dominated by two parties and so the president always belongs to one of them. The Republicans are the conservative political party and their candidate in this year’s election is President Donald Trump, who is hoping to secure another four years in power. The Republican Party is also known as the GOP or the Grand Old Party. In recent years, it has stood for lower taxes, gun rights, and tighter restrictions on immigration. Support for the party tends to be stronger in more rural parts of America. Former Republican presidents include George W Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Richard Nixon.

The Democrats are the liberal political party and their candidate is Joe Biden, an experienced politician best-known for serving as former US President Barack Obama’s vice president for eight years. The Democratic Party is best defined by its liberal stances on issues like civil rights, immigration, and climate change. It believes that the government should play a bigger role in people’s lives, like providing health insurance. Support for the party tends to be stronger in urban parts of America. Former Democratic presidents include John F Kennedy and Barack Obama.

How is the winner decided?

Both candidates compete to win electoral college votes. Each US state gets a certain number of electoral college votes partly based on its population. There are a total of 538 electoral college votes to win, so the winner is the candidate that wins 270 votes or more.

Most states lean heavily towards one party or the other, so the focus is usually on a dozen or so states where voters are split relatively evenly between Democrats and Republicans. These are known as the battleground states. Traditional battleground states include Florida and Ohio. Other states that have been strongly Republican in the past, like Arizona and Texas, are considered battlegrounds in 2020 due to increasing support for the Democratic Party.

Along with the President, the voters will also be choosing new members of Congress when they fill in their ballots. Congress is the part of the US government that writes and passes laws. It’s made up of two chambers – the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The Countdown!

The first Presidential debate between Trump and Joe Biden took place on September 29 and the first and only vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris (Democratic vice-presidential candidate) took place on October 7. The final Trump-Biden debate is slated for October 22 before the Election day on November 3, when people finally vote.

Trump supporters are more likely to rate the government’s handling of the economy as important, whereas Biden supporters view health care, response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, race and ethnic inequality, climate change as being most relevant. That said, it is difficult to see how these priorities will play out, considering how little is known about how important all the factors are to Americans of all leanings. n

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