The American Constitution clearly defines an individual who can run for an electoral office in the U.S. The presidency is known to be the greatest office in the land. Therefore, the holder must be well prepared and equipped for the same. This is probably the reason as to why the process of getting into the White House is so long and rigorous, right from the campaigns to the election. The paragraphs below explain, in detail, the campaigns and election process for the U.S presidency. It aims at shedding some light on the issue.
The nation is known for upholding the democratic right of the individuals. This is founded on the words of one of the founding fathers, President Washington who said that the definition of democracy is a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” This statement implies that the person intending to take over the office must win the favor of the people. The electorate must give their go-ahead for the person to be in the office through the electoral process. This implies that the person must win the favor of the people through the campaigning process. It is no wonder that the two processes are the pillars of the American democracy; the campaigns and the elections.
The Constitution has the provision that a person aspiring to take up the presidency must be a natural born citizen of the U.S aged 35 years and over, and must have resided in the U.S for at least 14 years prior to the launch of the presidential ambition (BBC 1). Once the individual has an interest in the office, the process of campaigning must start so that the person can be publicized and known to the people. The campaigning process in the country is quite complex, and has been so for quite some time. The process has become so expensive such that the government officials, the candidates as well as other agencies have called for a limit of the amount spent on the same. The main aim of this limit setting is to make sure that the power is taken to the hands of the electorate and taken from the hands of the interest groups. However, there are other people who are of the idea that having such limits curtails the first amendment which gives the individuals and the groups the right to declare or express their opinions on issues and candidates (Us History 5). Well, this just indicates how the campaigning process is taken seriously in the country. The candidates as well as other groups invest so much into the process.
The campaigning process is not done haphazardly. Rather, there is a process that is followed to make sure that it is open and fair. BBC observes that in the early stages of the campaign, the interested individual forms the exploratory committee to test the situation and also raise the money needed for the entire process (1). This can be done as early as two years before the actual election year. Most of the candidates have perfected this process. For instance, president Obama started the process in the later days of 2001, even before he openly declared that he would be running for the presidency in 2007. On the other hand, Mitt Romney could be said to have been on the campaign trail for the past five years. Since he failed to get the Republican nomination in 2008, he started a behind the scenes campaign to popularize himself. This just indicates how the campaigning process in the country is rigorous and well planned.
There is a reason as to why the candidates need to invest much into the campaigns. This is mainly because the road to the White House is two staged. First of all, the candidate has too campaign in order to get the nomination for the party ticket. In this stage, an individual fights against others of his party with the aim of edging them out, and, in so doing, win their backing in the later stage of the campaign. Once a candidate is elected to the flag-bearer of the party, whether the Republican or the Democratic Party, the final battle line is drawn. It is important to look at how the nominations are done. The primaries and the caucuses are held in the different states where the party voters choose their nominee. The parties then hold conventions which usually occur in the late summer, nearly two and a half months prior to the elections (BBC 5). At these conventions, the parties formally nominate the chosen candidate. The candidate has the right to choose his running mate. This can be done at the convention or prior to the convention. The main aim of the convention is to bring the party together and lay the agenda of the same. It is a preparation for the final and decisive leg of the journey to the White House.
Once the nominations are over, the next leg of the campaigns starts. The candidates campaign using the different avenues; the media, debates, and of late, the social sites as well. The candidates spend a lot of money campaigning in the media as well as the state to state campaigns. This culminates in the election process.
This leads to the next stage; the election. U.S History indicates that the elections in the U.S are held in November, the first Tuesday after the first Monday of the month (4). The general election is held every four years. The state as well as the local elections can also be held at the same time as the state elections. However, the rule is not the same for the local elections. As a matter of fact, they can be held at other times of the year.
The main objective of the electoral process in the U.S is to make sure that the citizens exercise their democratic right. This is where the candidate gets to win by having a majority of the votes. Well, there are some arguments that the democratic process is not always fair since the voice of the minority tends to be ignored. While this cannot be written off, it still holds that the voting process brings out the voice of the people where their vote determines who is to rule.
In the American system, most of the elected positions do not need 50% of the votes. However, a candidate must have a majority of the votes. The president is, however, more strict. The winning candidate must have a winning margin in most of the states besides gathering over 50% of the votes. This could be said to be a way of trying to make sure that the voice of everyone, including the minority, is considered.
In conclusion, this essay has looked at the campaigning and the election process in the U.S. it has focused on the presidential elections since these are the main concern for most of the citizens. In a well stipulated structure, the essay has looked at the campaigning process right from the preliminaries. It has also highlighted the process through which the names of the candidates get to be on the ballot paper through the party nominations. Lastly, it has looked at the presidential election process. In general, the essay has given a clear picture of what transpires during the election process in the U.S.
BBC News. US Election 2012: How to Run for President. BBC US and Canada, 13th Dec. 2012. Web, 23rd Aug. 2012, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-15824409
US History Organization. Campaigns and Elections. Independence Hall Association, 2012. Web, 23rd Aug. 2012, http://www.ushistory.org/gov/5b.asp