How the Economy Affects US Presidential Elections
A well established body of research shows that the economy is a strong factor in presidential elections. When the economy deteriorates, people’s expectations deteriorate and this can lead to a loss of confidence in the incumbent administration.
Following the general election, presidential electors meet in their states on the first Tuesday after the second Wednesday in December to vote for President and Vice President.
The nomination process
The nomination process starts with voters in state primaries and caucuses selecting candidate delegates, who then vote for the party’s presidential nominee at the national convention. Some delegates are “pledged” to support a particular candidate, and others are unpledged. The candidate who gets the most pledged delegates is declared the winner of the nomination.
Candidates go on a nationwide campaign to win the support of voters in a wide range of states. They hold rallies, debates, and other events. They often focus on so-called “battleground states” which are expected to lean one way or the other.
The Electoral College casts votes for President and Vice President in December following the general election. The elected Electoral College members then meet in their respective States and announce the results. NARA maintains the official records of these meetings. If there is a tie, Congress votes to break the deadlock.
The general election
During the general election, citizens make their final choice for President and Vice President among the top vote getters from their respective parties. Nonpartisan candidates and statewide measures also appear on the ballot.
Voting is held on Election Day in November. During campaign season, candidates travel throughout the country to meet with voters and supporters. They often give speeches and debate each other. Advertisements, direct mail, and telephone campaigns are used to inform voters about the candidates and their positions. Volunteers set up voter registration booths.
In most states, the election is determined by a popular vote. The candidate who receives the most votes wins all of a state’s electoral votes. Each state’s electors meet in December to officially cast their votes for President and Vice President. These votes are then counted by Congress and reported to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Inauguration Day is January 2021. Since 1860, all winners have represented one of two major political parties.
The Electoral College
The Constitution stipulates that the winner of a presidential election must receive the majority of electoral votes in order to become president. This explains why the process of choosing a president takes almost two years, including primaries and caucuses, political parties’ national conventions and, finally, Election Day on the first Tuesday after November 1.
While state and U.S. territory delegates choose candidates for their presidential tickets during primaries and caucuses, the conventions of each party also include unpledged “delegates,” which are party leaders and elected officials. Those delegates vote for the party’s presidential candidate, who selects a vice presidential nominee.
Although states can designate their electors using any method they choose, over time most have adopted the popular vote. Under the Constitution, a state can penalize or replace faithless electors, who fail to vote for the candidates to which they pledged their support. In the past, some voters have expressed their dissatisfaction with the listed candidates by writing in a third-party candidate on their ballot.
Since the 12th Amendment created separate votes for President and Vice President, winning the Presidency has meant being a member of one of the two major political parties. In fact, sixteen of the last twenty-one Presidents were members of the Senate before becoming President.
When Americans go to the polls on Election Day they are actually voting for electors who will vote for candidates in the Electoral College in mid-December. The candidate who receives 270 electoral votes is the winner.
Once a candidate has officially announced their candidacy, they start campaigning nationwide. They attend rallies, hold debates, and explain their plans to the country. They also try to win over voters by making promises and threatening opponents.