Post # 1
since all the bees are from the US pretty much and the Presidential election just happened thought id quickly check i have a vague idea of whats going on
so you have:
President, House of representatives and Senate (i think?)
all elected at different times? And Obama won the electoral college votes by a lot BUT (as i understand it) there wasnt a huge difference in the popular vote. And now hes in power for one more term (6 yrs?)
And to get all the electoral college votes, you have to have the majority in the state?
and now one of them (HOR?) is dominated by democrats and the other is dominated by republicans? and this makes it hard to pass laws as they need to pass both houses? was that the problem in the last term?
Sorry thats a lot of questions, but half the info out there is really dense. i need ‘politics for idiots’ ie me
Post # 3
The presidential term is only four years. 🙂
Post # 4
There is also a judicial branch, the US Supreme Court. However they are not chosen by the public but chosen by the president and then ratified. they serve life terms to prevent political manuevering each term.
Its another reason this term could be very important because there could be 2 appointments to this branch of government having long lasting effects on laws, etc.
Post # 5
We have 3 branches of government:
- Executive Branch: Headed by the president. The president carries out federal laws and recommends new ones, directs national defense and foreign policy, and performs ceremonial duties. Powers include directing government, commanding the Armed Forces, dealing with international powers, acting as chief law enforcement officer, and vetoing laws.
- Legislative Branch: Headed by Congress, which includes the House of Representatives and the Senate. The main task of these two bodies is to make the laws. Its powers include passing laws, originating spending bills (House), impeaching officials (Senate), and approving treaties (Senate).
- Judicial Branch: Headed by the Supreme Court. Its powers include interpreting the Constitution, reviewing laws, and deciding cases involving states’ rights.
(Descriptions taken from http://www.congressforkids.net/Constitution_threebranches.htm )
Presidential term is 4 years. A President can serve a max of 2 terms (8 years).
Most states, whoever wins the state gets all the electorial votes. Maine and Nebraska are the exceptions, they can cast electorial votes proporionally with what the popular vote was in their state.
Here’s a good image describing how a bill passes through the system to become federal a law:
Post # 6
Here are a couple of US political oddities that I’m aware of:
- The president isn’t actually appointed by the people but by electors (the electoral college) on behalf of the people based on the outcome of the popular vote in their state, although they are not always bound to do so by law.
You can also register for a party when you register to vote, which allows you to vote in presidential primaries.
- I did a bit of reading up yesterday and the electoral college seems to be a historical relic that has never been repealed, unless I misunderstood.
One curiosity I have is does the US have a permanent civil service?
Post # 7
@SpecialSundae: I’m not registered with any party, but I still vote in presidential elections.
But yes, the President is elected based on the number of votes he receives in the electoral college, which is based on the popular vote. Obama won both the electoral vote (with 303 of 270 needed to win), and the popular vote (by ~2 million votes). We have “swing states,” basically states that go back and forth in terms of their electoral votes going either Democrat or Republican. These are very important to win in order to win the election–Obama won all of them except one.
The electoral college is both good and bad. We are a republic, not a democracy, because of the EC. However, if we didn’t have the EC, and the President was elected by popular vote, the candidates would only have to pander to urban centers where large numbers of voters are, rather than pandering to everyone (and/or focusing on the swing states).
I have no idea what permanent civil service is, but Google tells me that some states have it? No idea.
Post # 8
@vorpalette: I didn’t mean the elections, which I know you don’t have to be registered to a party for, just the primaries.
A permanent civil service is where governmental departments have apolitical staff who must work with whoever is in power at the time.
Post # 9
Thanks for all the info. Id forgotten the Supreme court¬!
Post # 10
@vorpalette: Primaries aren’t the actual election.
The senate is now dominated by democrats and the house of representatives is dominated by republicans.
While this is going to suck for some law passing, there is one good thing about it. @ThreeMeers: mentioned that this election was important because of the possible appointment (which is lifetime for the US supreme court) of not one, but TWO supreme court justices!
Supreme court justices MUST be confirmed by the SENATE (president and senate are both democratic now!). The senate will interview (if they like the appointed person) and then vote on whether to let that person become a US Supreme Court Justice.
(And before people go telling me Obama is terrible, the House and Senate have to agree on federal budget and the president approves it. Sure, he can not-approve it, but then the HOR and the Senate just rewrite it. The power of the veto is strong, but not all encompassing. I hate when people think only the president can change anything, and I hope that people out there did their research when they were electing their congress-people!)
Post # 11
@Cornmuffin09: Right, but I didn’t realize that she was talking about the primaries. I’ve never voted in a primary because either we don’t have them here (not sure why we wouldn’t?) or they’re not advertised at all.
Post # 12
- Wedding: March 2012 - Father's Vineyard Church/ A Touch of Class Banquet Center
@vorpalette: Some states do not hold them. I’m not sure if Michigan is one of those states or not.
@newname_99: Our HOR is based on population, so the minimum each state can get is 2 (no matter what the population is), and then it goes up from there (I’m not sure the exact formula for how they figure this out, but California and Texa have the most representatives for this reason.) The Senate is made up of two Senators from each state.
Post # 13
@doily: I had to go Google, but we hold a Republican primary in March and a Democratic caucus in May.