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US Elections - A Concept Refresher

In the last US election, Hillary Clinton received almost 3 million more votes than Donald Trump. Yet, we all know, who got be President.

The US electoral system isn’t all that simple. So today we thought we’d demystify that for you.

Basics first.

Elections in the US are on two-party system (The Democrats and The Republicans), unlike India where multiple parties exist.

The Modern Democratic Party emphasizes egalitarianism, social equity, environmental conservation, and by liberalism strengthening of the social security system. They advocate citizenship and civil rights, including LGBTQIA+ rights, multiculturalism, and secularism in faith.

The Republican Party today supports a pro-business platform, with foundations in economic libertarianism, and fiscal and social conservatism.

So, the front runner from the Republican side is none other than Donald Trump, while holding the Democrat flag high, stands Joe Biden.

Now as we initially mentioned, although Clinton had the popular vote, she didn’t win.

Why did this happen? Here the electoral college comes into the picture.

Each state gets a certain number of votes allotted to it, in proportion to its population and there are a total of 538 electoral college votes across the USA. Big states like California, Texas, Florida have a chunk of these votes. To be accurate, it is 55,38 and 29 respectively in the three states. So three states alone make for almost 30% of the vote share. But this is not it, adding to this is the winner takes all rule. That is even is Candidate A wins by a slight margin, all the electoral college votes of that state, fall into his kitty.

But most states have an inclination. At some places, Republicans always win, in others, Democrats. It is kind of like Congress and Amethi (Not anymore, I guess).

Yet in some states, people are never able to make one fixed decision. Sometimes they wave the red flag, other times it is blue. These states are the Battleground or Swing States.

Election analytics website FiveThirtyEight identifies the states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin as "perennial" swing states that have regularly seen close contests over the last few presidential campaigns.

Biden vs Trump is not the end of the story though. On this day, voters also choose new members of the Congress. In some ways, this is more important for the locals than the President.

The elections for the President are scheduled on 3rd November this time. (There’s a small rule where the election always falls on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November)

I hope this little information bite will help you gain a better understanding when reading the ongoing election updates!

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