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AIBU to not have a clue about the American elections?

(36 Posts)
KelperRose Fri 19-Oct-12 07:22:30

The American elections really confuse me

So, from what I can gather only one of two people can get elected?

I know Barrack Obama is one, and the other is Nick Romney?

Why do Americans only get two people to choose from?

LindyHemming Fri 19-Oct-12 07:28:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kim147 Fri 19-Oct-12 07:30:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kim147 Fri 19-Oct-12 07:32:54

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ZombTEE Fri 19-Oct-12 07:35:20

No, you're wrong. There are more than 2 people to vote for. But outside of those 2, no one ever hears of the others due to lack of money. They just show up on the election papers and pray.

I've already sent in my absentee ballot so I am not sure how many, but at least 2 others besides President Obama and Romney are standing for president.

You do indeed needs lots and lots of money. Hence how Ross Perot actually made a stand a few elections ago despite not being Democrat or Republican.

Oh and it's Mitt Romney.

And I really wouldn't fret. Until I moved to the UK I had no idea how your government worked. grin

theodorakis Fri 19-Oct-12 07:49:32

Not unreasonable but useful to know. Will probably mean the difference between going going into Iran or not which will affect the world over. I am living next door to Iran and having a very happy lifestyle and I will be absolutely furious if they mess it up.

KelperRose Fri 19-Oct-12 08:03:08

so money drives the american hopefuls?

kim147 Fri 19-Oct-12 08:04:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ZombTEE Fri 19-Oct-12 08:06:30

Money gives them the ad revenue they need to get their word out across the entire country.

US is too big to have one TV network. Each region has their own, although they will be affiliated with the larger networks, ABC, CBS, NBC etc. But the candidates have to pay each station/network for ad time. So it adds up quickly.

Also pollsters, campaign workers, buses, planes, trains automobiles all takes money.

They have a district that is about 5,000 by 2,000 miles wide to convince to vote for them.

That takes money and travel and lots and lots of time. Joe Blow who works for ASDA just can't cut it.

KelperRose Fri 19-Oct-12 08:09:10

basically the whole USA elections are a bit 'fixed' if it comes down to money?

What happens to all the money that American voters give to the loosing or winning party?

ZombTEE Fri 19-Oct-12 08:14:08

No, it's not fixed. But the person with the most money has a better advantage of winning.

It gets spent. On ad buys and salaries and travel and so on.

Some day, a very rich person with the right ideas and the right timings who isn't a loon (Ross Perot was a loon) will reject both parties and run for president and win.

But that day is many years in the future.

Teapot13 Fri 19-Oct-12 08:19:21

I think the reason there are always just two viable candidates is that there are only two major political parties. This was the case long before money played such a huge role in our elections. Now that the two parties have been so established for so long, a third party doesn't really have a chance. There was huge support for Ralph Nader in the 2000 (Bush-Gore election) but that effectively just took support away from Gore, assisting the Bush victory, so people are pretty wary of supporting third parties.

Given recent changes in campaign finance law money will play a much greater role in this election than ever before, sadly.

The electoral college (i.e., indirect election of the president) is antiquated, but it is enshrined in the Constitution so we'll probably never be rid of it. That's how we ended up with George W. Bush in the first place (well, that and Ralph Nader). It has a curious knock-on effect in that people that live in states that always vote a certain way see hardly any political campaigning. I don't even bother to vote in London -- I would vote for Obama, but NY always votes democrat, so it doesn't matter if I bother with an absentee ballot.

Some States have considered/adopted amendments to their state constitutions whereby the state's electoral votes would be applied proportionally, rather than in a block, as traditionally happens, but the amendments are drafted so that they would only come into force if other states adopt the same provision. This would, in effect, eliminate the electoral college but would require legislation in all 50 states.

Fishwife1949 Fri 19-Oct-12 08:35:17

All you need to know is everyone in the developed world is hoping mitt dose not win

ZombTEE Fri 19-Oct-12 08:42:52

The problem isn't Mitt winning. The problem is the state of the House and Senate.

I have every confidence that Obama will win. And every fear that he'll get blocked on everything again for the next 4 years.

KelperRose Fri 19-Oct-12 08:43:12

@ teapot13are you happy only one of two can win?

i'm Scottish and want barrack obama to get back in........this is for selfish reasons.. as I think he is the lesser of two evils

MeFour Fri 19-Oct-12 08:48:52

Thing that gets me is
Obama gets in saying he will do certain things
He tries to do them but the others block him.
Come voting time again they have their big debates and the others say 'well you said you would do all this stuff and you didn't you're a liar'
The system is a completely potty.

Just pray Romney doesn't get in. Otherwise we'll be having women seeking refugee status here from the US

Teapot13 Fri 19-Oct-12 09:19:19

Kelper, I am not particularly upset that we only have 2 major parties and therefore (in the final round) only 2 major presidential candidates. Voters have the chance to participate in the selection of the 2 candidates through the primaries, so it isn't as though the two just magically appear. I think candidates in other modern democracies need to ally themselves with existing parties to get elected as well. This is the least of my worries.

I am much more bothered by the role money plays in our elections, and the fact that, rather than achieving reform, the issue has gotten much more pronounced in the last four years.

I WISH I had the luxury of worrying about reproductive rights. With Romney I am much more concerned about other constitutional issues, such as the limits on power of the federal government (Commerce clause, for the Americans). A lot of regular people do not appreciate how fragile the basis of a lot of the

ZombTEE Fri 19-Oct-12 10:53:37

Exactly MeFour. The Republicans have said, flat out, that they will continue to block everything President Obama tries to do.

He needs to be tougher, IMHO, and tell them to sit down and shut up and everything they block something it should be front page news.

I am hoping he'll do that once he no longer has to fret about re-election.

Scholes34 Fri 19-Oct-12 12:02:54

Shame the media here doesn't pay the same amount of attention to any elections going on in Europe as they do to the US presidential elections.

GrendelsMum Fri 19-Oct-12 12:25:46

I thought there was some underlying difference between the UK and the US when it comes to electing a President v. electing a Prime Minister? I'm sure I heard someone say on a radio programme that the US is an X but the UK is a Y (something along the lines of the US is constitutionally a republic but the UK is constitutionally a democracy, so the President is not directly elected), but I can't for the life of me remember what it was. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

ZombTEE Fri 19-Oct-12 12:35:25

There are many differences between electing a President of the US and a Prime Minister of the UK.

In the US you elect a person. In the UK you elect a party.
In the US they have Congress and the Senate. In the UK they have Parliament.
In the US a President is elected to not more than two four year terms. In the UK you can have a Vote of No Confidence etc and change sooner or much later.

That's just off the top of my head!

GrendelsMum Fri 19-Oct-12 12:38:47

Thanks! IIRC, the radio programme was saying that there was an underlying philosophical difference in the concept of democracy in the countries which is one of the reasons why there are differences such as Congress and Senate v. Parliament, etc - does this ring a bell?

ZombTEE Fri 19-Oct-12 12:40:00

Well, yeah, when the Founding Father's of the US started the US, it was in direct reaction to how much they didn't like the English system, more or less.

So of course there are fundamental differences in the concepts!

I have no idea what they are called, though.

KelperRose Fri 19-Oct-12 19:08:48


Are the republicans tories and democrats labour?

kim147 Fri 19-Oct-12 19:11:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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