I don't get American politics

Ok, so I get that you have two parties that are essentially the same; one is just more conservative than the other.
I get that you have a President that pretty much has the final say in things and is the face of your government.
And I get that there is always a pre-vote for who will be running for president, before the actual presidency vote thing is held.

What I don't understand are:
Why is there a big deal about people dropping out of the race to become the guy who runs for president? Can't anyone run for president?
Why all the fuss about "this person won [insert name of state here]!" ? Do each state vote between presidential candidates and the guy who wins is the guy who runs for president?
Are all of these douchebags that are currently in the news all the time, all in the same party?
How DOES a bill actually get passed?

I'm just curious about all this crap because it baffles me. My Canadian politics can be silly at times, but it makes sense. Your American politics makes me think of a bunch of school kids fighting for rights of who gets to be on top of the jungle gym, yet when he gets up there, everyone throws food at them and mocks them.

...Understand? Dude, American politics have been batshit insane essentially since Reagan, but ESPECIALLY since Bush Jr. There's nothing TO understand. It's a load of insane baloney based on a broken political system of representation that shouldn't exist in the first place. Looking into it is like trying to understand an insane person.

Even Americans don't understand how their system works.. for the nomination of the republican candidate process I say just stop following, wait for the national convention and see who will be challenging Obama for the presidency.. by the way I'm betting on Mitt Romney to be the rep candidate..

As for other things, there's too many parts to the American political system, for example bills to be passed have to go through the House, the Senate, Presidential offices, committees and the relative govt. departments and private industries.. and don't even get started on changing the constitution..

Lord Kloo:
Even Americans don't understand how their system works.. for the nomination of the republican candidate process I say just stop following, wait for the national convention and see who will be challenging Obama for the presidency.. by the way I'm betting on Mitt Romney to be the rep candidate..

As for other things, there's too many parts to the American political system, for example bills to be passed have to go through the House, the Senate, Presidential offices, committees and the relative govt. departments and private industries.. and don't even get started on changing the constitution..

Ok, but am I right to assume that nothing can happen without the President expressly saying "I am ok with this" ?
Also, how do congressmen get elected?
In Canada, our equivalent (or at least I think so) to congressmen get elected during the country-wide election to see who rules the government. Parties run against each other for control over a certain district and if they get majority votes, they win their district and become elected officials. That gives the party they are a part of a +1, and the party that controls the most districts becomes the controlling party. Minority and Majority governments are a different thing.
I don't see how it would work in a 2 party system. Do people have voting sessions to see who should run for their congress position? Or do they just poof into existence?

1: Anyone can run for president, but you need to be backed by a fortune and a large group or the actual party to actually have a shot.
2: Each party has a vote in each state in order to determine a nominee for that particular party, and that person will actually be running for president.
3: Depends on where you get your news from, as different networks usually have different agendas in which they support.
4: A bill can be made in the house, sent to a committee, sent to the senate, and finally the presidents desk. In each one of these stages the bill can be killed, and can be edited in committees and the house.

Torrasque:
How DOES a bill actually get passed?

http://www.mikewirthart.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/howlawsmadeWIRTH2.jpg

O_O

Every time I try to follow this my eyes glaze over and my brain basically passes out. Maybe you'll have better luck.

It's been nuts for over a hundred years, with the two main parties having both the resources (money, manpower, network support) to get what they want, leaving everyone else in the dust.

I also agree both parties are one in the same, they just cater to different groups (the main reason I went from Democrat to independent).

The US is a two party system because they introduced laws that makes it next to impossible to be elected if you are outside of either of the two parties.

Since it is a two party system each party only wants 1 person to run for President. If you put multiple candidate up for President then they are just going to take votes away from each other and some other dude will win. To choose who is going to be the candidate they have an election, this is what we are currently seeing now.

The rules for choosing the candidate are fucked up beyond belief. Essentially each state has Delegates, each delegate votes for someone. To determine who they are going to vote for they run Primaries (what we are seeing now). The rules are different for each state. Some states have binding primaries, where the vote of the public must be upheld by the delegates, others are non-binding, where the delegates can vote for whoever they want regardless of the results of the primary and various other states have something in the middle. Another thing to remember is that who can vote also changes depending on the State. In some States only registered Republicans can vote, sometimes Independents can vote as well, sometimes anyone can vote, yes even Democrats.

Eventually someone is the Presidential Nominee. They then have to start campaigning all over again, this time for the real election. The entire process lasts around 15-18 months.

As for electing the President, this is different again. The way this works is each state has a number of "representatives" based on the population. The winner of the election in a given state is awarded all of those "representatives". The candidate who wins the most "representatives" wins the election. Since it is winner takes all in regards to the "representatives" it is entirely possible for a candidate to win an election with fewer votes then someone else. Bush won like this.

The other aspect of the US political scene is Congress. As you probably know Congress is split between the Senate and House of Reps. In the House of Reps you have 435 people who were elected by their district. Districts are essentially areas split up based on population. The House of Reps has a two year term, which means they campaign, get elected and then spend the short period of time before the next election campaigning for donations to fund their next election campaign.

The Senate is made up of representatives from each state. Each state has 2 representatives and they serve 6 year terms. 1/3rd of the Senate is up for election every 2 years. Since they serve 6 year terms these guys are pretty much the only people in US politics that are not constantly in election mode.

Well that sums up the basics of the US election system without going into to much details.

The president actually has less power than people generally think. Yes he can veto bills but congress can overwrite that with enough votes. Most of the power really lies in congress.

Torrasque:
Ok, so I get that you have two parties that are essentially the same; one is just more conservative than the other.
I get that you have a President that pretty much has the final say in things and is the face of your government.
And I get that there is always a pre-vote for who will be running for president, before the actual presidency vote thing is held.

What I don't understand are:
Why is there a big deal about people dropping out of the race to become the guy who runs for president? Can't anyone run for president?
Why all the fuss about "this person won [insert name of state here]!" ? Do each state vote between presidential candidates and the guy who wins is the guy who runs for president?
Are all of these douchebags that are currently in the news all the time, all in the same party?
How DOES a bill actually get passed?

I'm just curious about all this crap because it baffles me. My Canadian politics can be silly at times, but it makes sense. Your American politics makes me think of a bunch of school kids fighting for rights of who gets to be on top of the jungle gym, yet when he gets up there, everyone throws food at them and mocks them.

-The president's primary role is in terms of foreign relations, both in warfare, and slightly less violent situations. He has a say in any laws that get passed, but can only agree or disagree with something that has already been proposed, and can be overridden in the latter case.

-Nearly anyone can in theory run for president, that is true, but people that have the money to pay for the campaign AND are willing to have an incredibly stressful job (its managed to prematurely age pretty much everyone who has taken it), AND have the experience/skills to pull it off, AND enough popular support to have a chance in the actual election are quite rare. So yes, when dealing with less than a dozen possible candidates, one of them dropping out is an significant event. Not nearly as significant as our media would have you believe in my opinion, but regardless.

-The main way that the political parties choose a candidate is on the basis of how likely they are to win against the opposing parties candidate. (with few thoughts as to whether the candidate would actually do a good job, it makes a man weep...) Gauging not only how much popular support for a particular person comes up, but where it occurs, is important for that decision, in part thanks to the bullshit way we count votes in the main election.

-Most of the "douchebags" currently in the news are members of the Republican party. The Democrats already have their candidate, Obama is simply running for a second term, so the current fuss is about choosing his opponent. And since my unimaginative compatriots haven't elected anyone from outside those two parties in decades, no serious third party candidates have stepped forward this round.

-Concerning how bills are made, the details of the process are quite complex. The short version is that a bill can be initiated by many sources, including a popular civilian movement, but must then be ratified and agreed upon by both branches of congress. The president has a veto he can use on anything that's been passed, but if the bill gets a 2/3s majority instead of a simple majority that veto is overridden. The bill typically goes through many rewrites and amendments in the meantime, and can at times end up being unrecognizable from the original. The whole process was designed to make it difficult to pass laws that did not have the full support of the people. What we've currently got instead is a system that makes it difficult to pass laws that do not have the full support of whatever political party holds most of the seats in congress and/or the presidency.

All in all, your analogy of kids play fighting for supremacy is not an inaccurate one. Somewhere down the line, the focus of our political decisions shifted from that which a decently educated person thought was good for the country, to that which happened to be more popular with sheeple who generally don't care. Most people now make their decisions on the basis of party taglines rather than any independent thought. We have indeed suffered badly for that change.

Yeah, I've never managed to properly understand anything to do with politics, finance, law enforcement, military or culture from the US.

Everything else, I might have a chance with. Or maybe not.

Torrasque:
What I don't understand are:
Why is there a big deal about people dropping out of the race to become the guy who runs for president? Can't anyone run for president?
Why all the fuss about "this person won [insert name of state here]!" ? Do each state vote between presidential candidates and the guy who wins is the guy who runs for president?

The answer to all of these is: The US has several 24-hour news networks, but we don't actually have interesting news happening 24 hours a day. News networks have to pretend things like what you've listed above matter in order to drive up interest and get people watching. Political campaigns likewise have a vested interest in driving up the public's awareness of the campaign, as awareness can lead to donations. And now that we have Super Pacs, donations can be thrown into a deep, dark hole where no one has to account for what they get spent on. Basically, it's a way of tricking marks into giving you money.

And speaking of marks, the third leg that keeps this infernal stool standing is the people. Specifically a sub-culture of very insecure politics-watchers who treat deciding who will run the country the same way most people in Europe treat their local soccer team. The thing you have to understand about Americans is we are a very needy, insecure people. We've mythologized the founding of our country to the point we treat characters from our history like demigods. We pay people with no useful talent millions of dollars to send some sort of ball through some sort of hole. We have CEOs making billions even while the companies they run crumble. We have musicians who pay writers to write their lyrics and who pay producers to auto-tune them until they can carry a tune in a bucket and then they pay sexy people to dance in their music videos, and we declare them to be talented. And we spend all of our years in schooling being told how we can be any of those people above in America, because America is a magical place where your dreams come true. Then one day we realize we are sitting on the couch eating pork rinds and watching infotainment shows about how great the lives of these sports stars, CEOs, and musicians are, and we start to wonder if maybe we haven't lived up to our full potential.

But we're also a very proud people who are often never taught how to admit to our own mistakes. So we decide the fact that we are fat and bored and poor and haven't been discovered by amazing talent agencies strolling through our living room door is because someone has wronged us. For the politically-inclined, this leads to the conclusion that the people who are holding us back from achieving our full potential are whichever political party is full of people who least resemble the group we identify with. So then we cheerlead for the other party. Because if we help them get elected, then we are a part of something. And by the time whoever we get elected gets in office, fails to fulfill their promises, and rules exactly like the candidate who came before, there will be a whole new line-up of TV shows to watch, a new flavor of pork rinds will be out, and we will have totally forgotten why we were upset to begin with.

Are all of these douchebags that are currently in the news all the time, all in the same party?

Yes. Essentially the news is that our opposition party is trying to decide who should run for President.

How DOES a bill actually get passed?

Short answer: slowly, with much confusion and corruption.
Long answer: Best to let the experts explain it.

Torrasque:
Ok, so I get that you have two parties that are essentially the same; one is just more conservative than the other.
I get that you have a President that pretty much has the final say in things and is the face of your government.
And I get that there is always a pre-vote for who will be running for president, before the actual presidency vote thing is held.

What I don't understand are:
Why is there a big deal about people dropping out of the race to become the guy who runs for president? Can't anyone run for president?
Why all the fuss about "this person won [insert name of state here]!" ? Do each state vote between presidential candidates and the guy who wins is the guy who runs for president?

It's direct primaries where a bunch of the parties supporters go there and vote for which candidate they want to go running on the ticket. The one who wins the most direct primaries in each sate wins the candidacy.

Torrasque:

Are all of these douchebags that are currently in the news all the time, all in the same party?

Yes.

Torrasque:

How DOES a bill actually get passed?

It first goes to Congress, first in the House of Representatives who votes on it, passes it, then it goes to the Senate which then has to pass it (the number of repre's in the House is based on population, but each state has 2 senators regardless of population to make sure everyone has a fair say) then it goes to the President who either vetoes the law which then goes back to congress which needs a 2/3's majority to overule his veto or signs it , if it's passed then it goes to the Supreme court which then determines if it is constitutional or not.

Torrasque:

I'm just curious about all this crap because it baffles me. My Canadian politics can be silly at times, but it makes sense. Your American politics makes me think of a bunch of school kids fighting for rights of who gets to be on top of the jungle gym, yet when he gets up there, everyone throws food at them and mocks them.

Sounds like all politics really.

Katatori-kun:

Torrasque:
What I don't understand are:
Why is there a big deal about people dropping out of the race to become the guy who runs for president? Can't anyone run for president?
Why all the fuss about "this person won [insert name of state here]!" ? Do each state vote between presidential candidates and the guy who wins is the guy who runs for president?

The answer to all of these is: The US has several 24-hour news networks, but we don't actually have interesting news happening 24 hours a day. News networks have to pretend things like what you've listed above matter in order to drive up interest and get people watching. Political campaigns likewise have a vested interest in driving up the public's awareness of the campaign, as awareness can lead to donations. And now that we have Super Pacs, donations can be thrown into a deep, dark hole where no one has to account for what they get spent on. Basically, it's a way of tricking marks into giving you money.

And speaking of marks, the third leg that keeps this infernal stool standing is the people. Specifically a sub-culture of very insecure politics-watchers who treat deciding who will run the country the same way most people in Europe treat their local soccer team. The thing you have to understand about Americans is we are a very needy, insecure people. We've mythologized the founding of our country to the point we treat characters from our history like demigods. We pay people with no useful talent millions of dollars to send some sort of ball through some sort of hole. We have CEOs making billions even while the companies they run crumble. We have musicians who pay writers to write their lyrics and who pay producers to auto-tune them until they can carry a tune in a bucket and then they pay sexy people to dance in their music videos, and we declare them to be talented. And we spend all of our years in schooling being told how we can be any of those people above in America, because America is a magical place where your dreams come true. Then one day we realize we are sitting on the couch eating pork rinds and watching infotainment shows about how great the lives of these sports stars, CEOs, and musicians are, and we start to wonder if maybe we haven't lived up to our full potential.

But we're also a very proud people who are often never taught how to admit to our own mistakes. So we decide the fact that we are fat and bored and poor and haven't been discovered by amazing talent agencies strolling through our living room door is because someone has wronged us. For the politically-inclined, this leads to the conclusion that the people who are holding us back from achieving our full potential are whichever political party is full of people who least resemble the group we identify with. So then we cheerlead for the other party. Because if we help them get elected, then we are a part of something. And by the time whoever we get elected gets in office, fails to fulfill their promises, and rules exactly like the candidate who came before, there will be a whole new line-up of TV shows to watch, a new flavor of pork rinds will be out, and we will have totally forgotten why we were upset to begin with.

Are all of these douchebags that are currently in the news all the time, all in the same party?

Yes. Essentially the news is that our opposition party is trying to decide who should run for President.

How DOES a bill actually get passed?

Short answer: slowly, with much confusion and corruption.
Long answer: Best to let the experts explain it.

Reasonable post, but I'd like to point out that no third party candidate has /ever/ won a presidential election; a third party candidate is considered a major candidate if they get over 1% of the vote, because that's how unlikely it is for them to get anyone to vote for them. The last time we had a president who wasn't either a democrat or a republican would have been some time in the 18th or 19th century, back when we had a different pair of political parties. (the first two parties in the US were the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. We've gone through others over the years (notably the Whigs and a group called the "democratic republicans" that has no relation to the current Republican party), but it's never been more than two viable parties at a time.) In fact, we actually had a one party system for a brief period in the 19th century; one of the two collapsed, and it took a while for a replacement to form.

Warforger:

Torrasque:
Ok, so I get that you have two parties that are essentially the same; one is just more conservative than the other.
I get that you have a President that pretty much has the final say in things and is the face of your government.
And I get that there is always a pre-vote for who will be running for president, before the actual presidency vote thing is held.

What I don't understand are:
Why is there a big deal about people dropping out of the race to become the guy who runs for president? Can't anyone run for president?
Why all the fuss about "this person won [insert name of state here]!" ? Do each state vote between presidential candidates and the guy who wins is the guy who runs for president?

It's direct primaries where a bunch of the parties supporters go there and vote for which candidate they want to go running on the ticket. The one who wins the most direct primaries in each sate wins the candidacy.

Torrasque:

Are all of these douchebags that are currently in the news all the time, all in the same party?

Yes.

Torrasque:

How DOES a bill actually get passed?

It first goes to Congress, first in the House of Representatives who votes on it, passes it, then it goes to the Senate which then has to pass it (the number of repre's in the House is based on population, but each state has 2 senators regardless of population to make sure everyone has a fair say) then it goes to the President who either vetoes the law which then goes back to congress which needs a 2/3's majority to overule his veto or signs it , if it's passed then it goes to the Supreme court which then determines if it is constitutional or not.

Torrasque:

I'm just curious about all this crap because it baffles me. My Canadian politics can be silly at times, but it makes sense. Your American politics makes me think of a bunch of school kids fighting for rights of who gets to be on top of the jungle gym, yet when he gets up there, everyone throws food at them and mocks them.

Sounds like all politics really.

Whoah, major error on the Supreme Court there. Them saying whether or not a law is constitutional or not is not a normal part of the process. They only do that if someone brings a case to their court, arguing that the law in question is unconstitutional, which can take years to work its way up from the lower courts. The Supreme Court also hears very, very few cases a year, somewhere in the ballpark of 100, and very few of those actually deal with whether or not a law is constitutional; most of them are just the sort of disputes that get heard in any other court, but have been brought to the highest level because one side or the other in the case kept appealing the rulings.

Torrasque:
Ok, so I get that you have two parties that are essentially the same; one is just more conservative than the other.
I get that you have a President that pretty much has the final say in things and is the face of your government.

He doesn't exactly have the final say in things. He can pass or veto a bill, but he doesn't get to do much in forming it. And if enough of Congress supports it he may not even get the chance to veto it.

And I get that there is always a pre-vote for who will be running for president, before the actual presidency vote thing is held.

Ah, no. See the two parties have each decided that in the end it only makes sense for them to field one candidate and support one candidate so as not to end up dividing their supporters. So before the actual election the parties decide amongst themselves who will be running for them. So they have a kind of pre-vote. But you can still run for president anyway, you're just not gonna get the party's support.

What I don't understand are:
Why is there a big deal about people dropping out of the race to become the guy who runs for president? Can't anyone run for president?

They could, but they wouldn't get the substantial support of their party. And doing so would help the other party quite a bit since they'd split their own party's votes.

Why all the fuss about "this person won [insert name of state here]!" ? Do each state vote between presidential candidates and the guy who wins is the guy who runs for president?
Are all of these douchebags that are currently in the news all the time, all in the same party?

Well I think what I said before kinda answers this part. This is determining who will be the Republican candidate for President. Whoever wins this will have the support of the Republican party. They whittle it down so that we don't end up with 3 Republican candidates thereby splitting the Republican vote in the actual election between 3 people. They're all in the same party because the Republicans need to figure out who they're gonna put forward. The Democrats are going to go with Obama already because he's the incumbent President so they don't need to figure it out this year.

How DOES a bill actually get passed?

I um... I think someone else posted about this. I don't wanna have to look it all up to remember the exact process -__-

I'm just curious about all this crap because it baffles me. My Canadian politics can be silly at times, but it makes sense. Your American politics makes me think of a bunch of school kids fighting for rights of who gets to be on top of the jungle gym, yet when he gets up there, everyone throws food at them and mocks them.

Eh, considering your questions were mostly about the President I think you just didn't know enough about it. It makes sense if you know that the Republican party doesn't want to still be competing within itself by the time they're trying to beat Obama. Unifying behind one candidate makes their prospects better.

Torrasque:
What I don't understand are:
Why is there a big deal about people dropping out of the race to become the guy who runs for president? Can't anyone run for president?

Primaries are the big thing here. Instead of internal party politics choosing of which of their number will represent them in the election for president, they have the American people decide who runs for the big two parties, unless it is after a president's first election, and they will be the cannidate for one of the two parties. I will explain more about this in a minute.

When ever a cannidate drops out during the primary, what ever part of the voting public was voting for them, they now have to go with another canidate. When say... Bachman dropped out, the 4% of people voting for her now have to rethink to who their ballot will be going to. It just becomes a chance for anybody else still in the primaries to gain a bit more popularity.

Anyone over the age of 35 and is a born citizen (either you were born here or one of your parent's were born here and held citizenship). You better be with either the Democrats or Republicans though, no third party has won since the desolving of the Wig party.

Why all the fuss about "this person won [insert name of state here]!" ? Do each state vote between presidential candidates and the guy who wins is the guy who runs for president?

Sort of. Who ever wins the most "delliegates" (basically the Senator's and Representatives from each State). In theory the delegates (who are supposed to vote for the primary runner that won their State, but State laws vary on this) and a group of super delegates (retired party members who can vote for who ever they want) come to a large room where they all vote for who will run for president. However, most primaries are over by that point (with all but one dropping out of the race), and the big gathering just becomes big media event to promote the last man standing.

Are all of these douchebags that are currently in the news all the time, all in the same party?

Since Obama, as president, is automatically the cannidate for the Democrats, the Republicans are who you been seeing on the news all the time.

How DOES a bill actually get passed?

This is going to be a doozy.

First, a bill is written by and sent to Capital Hill. The bill gets processed by committees who read it to make sure it is consistent with current law, isn't proposing something idiotic, and other Beucratic Magic. Most bills "die in committee" as it is called.

Then the bill gets passed this, it is sent to the House of Representatives, who will argue, rewrite, and argue in the most boring way imaginable over the thing. If the House can make a form of the bill a majority of them agree on, it is sent to the Senate, who does the same thing. If the version the Senate passed is different then the one the House passed, it is sent back to the House and revoted on the new wording.

Then it is sent to the President, who can either sign it law, or veto it. If he Veto's it, it is sent back to the House and Senate, where it still can become law if 75% in both houses vote for the bill.

pyrate:
The US is a two party system because they introduced laws that makes it next to impossible to be elected if you are outside of either of the two parties.

Since it is a two party system each party only wants 1 person to run for President. If you put multiple candidate up for President then they are just going to take votes away from each other and some other dude will win. To choose who is going to be the candidate they have an election, this is what we are currently seeing now.

The rules for choosing the candidate are fucked up beyond belief. Essentially each state has Delegates, each delegate votes for someone. To determine who they are going to vote for they run Primaries (what we are seeing now). The rules are different for each state. Some states have binding primaries, where the vote of the public must be upheld by the delegates, others are non-binding, where the delegates can vote for whoever they want regardless of the results of the primary and various other states have something in the middle. Another thing to remember is that who can vote also changes depending on the State. In some States only registered Republicans can vote, sometimes Independents can vote as well, sometimes anyone can vote, yes even Democrats.

Eventually someone is the Presidential Nominee. They then have to start campaigning all over again, this time for the real election. The entire process lasts around 15-18 months.

As for electing the President, this is different again. The way this works is each state has a number of "representatives" based on the population. The winner of the election in a given state is awarded all of those "representatives". The candidate who wins the most "representatives" wins the election. Since it is winner takes all in regards to the "representatives" it is entirely possible for a candidate to win an election with fewer votes then someone else. Bush won like this.

The other aspect of the US political scene is Congress. As you probably know Congress is split between the Senate and House of Reps. In the House of Reps you have 435 people who were elected by their district. Districts are essentially areas split up based on population. The House of Reps has a two year term, which means they campaign, get elected and then spend the short period of time before the next election campaigning for donations to fund their next election campaign.

The Senate is made up of representatives from each state. Each state has 2 representatives and they serve 6 year terms. 1/3rd of the Senate is up for election every 2 years. Since they serve 6 year terms these guys are pretty much the only people in US politics that are not constantly in election mode.

Well that sums up the basics of the US election system without going into to much details.

That actually made a lot of sense, so thank you :)
I'd ask "why all the subdivisions of the government and the silly term periods?" but that is the "too much details" you mentioned.
All of what you said just backs up my opinion that the American government is completely silly.

Thank you all for your explanations.
I tried reading every post, but I found myself skipping parts when I saw a repeat in information.

You've all helped me learn that American politics is stranger than I thought...

Torrasque:

pyrate:
The US is a two party system because they introduced laws that makes it next to impossible to be elected if you are outside of either of the two parties.

Since it is a two party system each party only wants 1 person to run for President. If you put multiple candidate up for President then they are just going to take votes away from each other and some other dude will win. To choose who is going to be the candidate they have an election, this is what we are currently seeing now.

The rules for choosing the candidate are fucked up beyond belief. Essentially each state has Delegates, each delegate votes for someone. To determine who they are going to vote for they run Primaries (what we are seeing now). The rules are different for each state. Some states have binding primaries, where the vote of the public must be upheld by the delegates, others are non-binding, where the delegates can vote for whoever they want regardless of the results of the primary and various other states have something in the middle. Another thing to remember is that who can vote also changes depending on the State. In some States only registered Republicans can vote, sometimes Independents can vote as well, sometimes anyone can vote, yes even Democrats.

Eventually someone is the Presidential Nominee. They then have to start campaigning all over again, this time for the real election. The entire process lasts around 15-18 months.

As for electing the President, this is different again. The way this works is each state has a number of "representatives" based on the population. The winner of the election in a given state is awarded all of those "representatives". The candidate who wins the most "representatives" wins the election. Since it is winner takes all in regards to the "representatives" it is entirely possible for a candidate to win an election with fewer votes then someone else. Bush won like this.

The other aspect of the US political scene is Congress. As you probably know Congress is split between the Senate and House of Reps. In the House of Reps you have 435 people who were elected by their district. Districts are essentially areas split up based on population. The House of Reps has a two year term, which means they campaign, get elected and then spend the short period of time before the next election campaigning for donations to fund their next election campaign.

The Senate is made up of representatives from each state. Each state has 2 representatives and they serve 6 year terms. 1/3rd of the Senate is up for election every 2 years. Since they serve 6 year terms these guys are pretty much the only people in US politics that are not constantly in election mode.

Well that sums up the basics of the US election system without going into to much details.

That actually made a lot of sense, so thank you :)
I'd ask "why all the subdivisions of the government and the silly term periods?" but that is the "too much details" you mentioned.
All of what you said just backs up my opinion that the American government is completely silly.

Well if you're wondering about the division between the Senate and the House of Representatives, each state gets 2 Senators, while the amount of Representatives a state gets depends on its population. So there's the Senate so that the less populous states aren't drowned out, while the House of Representatives makes it so that population still does matter.

Don't get why you'd call the term period silly though. What's wrong with them?

Torrasque:
Why is there a big deal about people dropping out of the race to become the guy who runs for president?

I would argue this has to do with an entertainment centered culture.

Can't anyone run for president?

Theoretically yes. Winning on the other hand typically requires party support.

Why all the fuss about "this person won [insert name of state here]!" ? Do each state vote between presidential candidates and the guy who wins is the guy who runs for president?

It is more about gauging the mood of the country and thinning out the herd. We have already dropped several candidates so the vote will be easier. Also when the convention finally comes (theoretically) the winner will be the one who gets the most votes in the primary. In practice a few backroom deals usually decides who the candidate will be.

How DOES a bill actually get passed?

Ignoring all parliamentary procedures and miscellaneous bull this basically explains it- http://www.lexisnexis.com/help/CU/The_Legislative_Process/bill2law.gif

I'm just curious about all this crap because it baffles me. My Canadian politics can be silly at times, but it makes sense. Your American politics makes me think of a bunch of school kids fighting for rights of who gets to be on top of the jungle gym, yet when he gets up there, everyone throws food at them and mocks them.

I would argue that is because we make it seem that way. We are an entertainment centric society. In Rome they watched people kill each other and here we watch them (metaphorically) crucify each other. In reality there is not much difference between American politics and the politics of most of the world.

Torrasque:
What I don't understand are:
Why is there a big deal about people dropping out of the race to become the guy who runs for president? Can't anyone run for president?

People dropping out of a race opens up (former) supporters for competitors to swallow up. Which is why when Rick Perry dropped out, he put in support for Newt so Newt would (theoretically) get his supporters votes. And I'm not sure what you mean by "dropping out of the race to become the guy who runs for president", I think you're referring to those people who drop out and come back as a Vice President canidate? The whole idea with that is the canidate(say Perry again), has all these supporters who are now potentially lost. He's out of the competition, but how to get those voters back? Why by being another canidates subordinate, they can combine their supporters and create an image of a more "rounded" leadership. McCain tried to pull the experience card, but was too old looking, so he brought Palin in. It didn't work obviously, but that's the principle of the matter.

And theoretically yes, anyone who meets the requirements set in our constitution can run for president. Politicians end up on the spotlight because they've got the money and the fame to actually get the public's vote :/

Why all the fuss about "this person won [insert name of state here]!" ? Do each state vote between presidential candidates and the guy who wins is the guy who runs for president?

This is how it works for electing canidates. This is how it works for getting a President

Are all of these douchebags that are currently in the news all the time, all in the same party?

I assume you mean the Republicans. Well it's a competition between the Democrats and the Republicans usually(3rd parties almost never get a good enough support base to run). Since Obama is running again for another presidential term, he's the only one for the Democrats. So yeah, all those "douchebags" are the Republicans.

How DOES a bill actually get passed?

1. Bill gets introduced in either the House of Representatives or the Senate
2. Committee in the local house looks at it
3. If it's good enough, gets voted on in that house
4. If it passes, it goes to the other house
5. Gets debated, revised if necessary, voted on
6. If it passes with revisions, it's debated on in the original house on if the changes are acceptable. If it passes without revisions....
7. Once there's a consensus, it gets submitted to the President who can decide on if it's a good bill or not. If he likes it, it'll get signed into law. If not, he can veto it. Congress can still bypass this veto with a 2/3rds majority vote to make it law.
Secret Option 8: Once the bill is passed, it can be examined by the Supreme Court on if it's legal or not. If not, the entire bill is stripped away from law and all that time becomes a waste of everyone's time. So Congressmen make sure they can make it as legally spotless as possible(morally, that's a different issue)

Owyn_Merrilin:

Reasonable post, but I'd like to point out that no third party candidate has /ever/ won a presidential election; a third party candidate is considered a major candidate if they get over 1% of the vote, because that's how unlikely it is for them to get anyone to vote for them. The last time we had a president who wasn't either a democrat or a republican would have been some time in the 18th or 19th century, back when we had a different pair of political parties. (the first two parties in the US were the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. We've gone through others over the years (notably the Whigs and a group called the "democratic republicans" that has no relation to the current Republican party), but it's never been more than two viable parties at a time.) In fact, we actually had a one party system for a brief period in the 19th century; one of the two collapsed, and it took a while for a replacement to form.

It is worth pointing out that in the election of 1912 A 3rd party (the Bull Moose party) did get 2nd in the election with the Republicans getting an embarrassing 3rd place.

Also Anti-Federalists weren't really a political party, they were merely a faction, they weren't organized or grouped together.

Warforger:

Owyn_Merrilin:

Reasonable post, but I'd like to point out that no third party candidate has /ever/ won a presidential election; a third party candidate is considered a major candidate if they get over 1% of the vote, because that's how unlikely it is for them to get anyone to vote for them. The last time we had a president who wasn't either a democrat or a republican would have been some time in the 18th or 19th century, back when we had a different pair of political parties. (the first two parties in the US were the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. We've gone through others over the years (notably the Whigs and a group called the "democratic republicans" that has no relation to the current Republican party), but it's never been more than two viable parties at a time.) In fact, we actually had a one party system for a brief period in the 19th century; one of the two collapsed, and it took a while for a replacement to form.

It is worth pointing out that in the election of 1912 A 3rd party (the Bull Moose party) did get 2nd in the election with the Republicans getting an embarrassing 3rd place.

Also Anti-Federalists weren't really a political party, they were merely a faction, they weren't organized or grouped together.

Fair enough. However, the Bull Moose party was just Teddy Roosevelt running against his hand picked successor because he realized that no, actually, he didn't especially like Mr. Taft. In doing so, he split the vote; Roosevelt was the Ralph Nader of his day. If it had just been one or the other running, it would have been a clear win for the Republicans.

Torrasque:
Ok, so I get that you have two parties that are essentially the same; one is just more conservative than the other.

Wow, are you serious? No, that is not it. smh

Torrasque:
I get that you have a President that pretty much has the final say in things and is the face of your government.
And I get that there is always a pre-vote for who will be running for president, before the actual presidency vote thing is held.

What I don't understand are:
Why is there a big deal about people dropping out of the race to become the guy who runs for president? Can't anyone run for president?

Eh, its the media, they like to play up someone dropping out. No, not anybody can run for presidency, here are the requirements that a person must meet.[/url]

Torrasque:
Why all the fuss about "this person won [insert name of state here]!" ? Do each state vote between presidential candidates and the guy who wins is the guy who runs for president?
Are all of these douchebags that are currently in the news all the time, all in the same party?

If you are referring to Romney, Paul, Gingrich and Santorum, yes they are all part of the Republican party.

Torrasque:
How DOES a bill actually get passed?[/url] Here, this will tell you what you need to know.

[quote="Torrasque" post="528.339220.13727708"]I'm just curious about all this crap because it baffles me. My Canadian politics can be silly at times, but it makes sense. Your American politics makes me think of a bunch of school kids fighting for rights of who gets to be on top of the jungle gym, yet when he gets up there, everyone throws food at them and mocks them.

...have you seen English/UK politics? Just watch Prime Minister Questions on YouTube, I never knew politics could have so much theatrics and drama.

thaluikhain:
Yeah, I've never managed to properly understand anything to do with politics, finance, law enforcement, military or culture from the US.

Everything else, I might have a chance with. Or maybe not.

....so basically anything from the US that relates to humans?

Mortai Gravesend:

Torrasque:

pyrate:
The US is a two party system because they introduced laws that makes it next to impossible to be elected if you are outside of either of the two parties.

Since it is a two party system each party only wants 1 person to run for President. If you put multiple candidate up for President then they are just going to take votes away from each other and some other dude will win. To choose who is going to be the candidate they have an election, this is what we are currently seeing now.

The rules for choosing the candidate are fucked up beyond belief. Essentially each state has Delegates, each delegate votes for someone. To determine who they are going to vote for they run Primaries (what we are seeing now). The rules are different for each state. Some states have binding primaries, where the vote of the public must be upheld by the delegates, others are non-binding, where the delegates can vote for whoever they want regardless of the results of the primary and various other states have something in the middle. Another thing to remember is that who can vote also changes depending on the State. In some States only registered Republicans can vote, sometimes Independents can vote as well, sometimes anyone can vote, yes even Democrats.

Eventually someone is the Presidential Nominee. They then have to start campaigning all over again, this time for the real election. The entire process lasts around 15-18 months.

As for electing the President, this is different again. The way this works is each state has a number of "representatives" based on the population. The winner of the election in a given state is awarded all of those "representatives". The candidate who wins the most "representatives" wins the election. Since it is winner takes all in regards to the "representatives" it is entirely possible for a candidate to win an election with fewer votes then someone else. Bush won like this.

The other aspect of the US political scene is Congress. As you probably know Congress is split between the Senate and House of Reps. In the House of Reps you have 435 people who were elected by their district. Districts are essentially areas split up based on population. The House of Reps has a two year term, which means they campaign, get elected and then spend the short period of time before the next election campaigning for donations to fund their next election campaign.

The Senate is made up of representatives from each state. Each state has 2 representatives and they serve 6 year terms. 1/3rd of the Senate is up for election every 2 years. Since they serve 6 year terms these guys are pretty much the only people in US politics that are not constantly in election mode.

Well that sums up the basics of the US election system without going into to much details.

That actually made a lot of sense, so thank you :)
I'd ask "why all the subdivisions of the government and the silly term periods?" but that is the "too much details" you mentioned.
All of what you said just backs up my opinion that the American government is completely silly.

Well if you're wondering about the division between the Senate and the House of Representatives, each state gets 2 Senators, while the amount of Representatives a state gets depends on its population. So there's the Senate so that the less populous states aren't drowned out, while the House of Representatives makes it so that population still does matter.

Don't get why you'd call the term period silly though. What's wrong with them?

If it is 2 years, then they have enough time to get used to the position, actually do work, and then worry about getting re-elected.
I'd like to think that anyone in an important government position should have it for at least 4-5 years so they can get used to the job and have time to do the job before worrying about whether they'll still have it in 2 years.

Volf99:

Torrasque:
Ok, so I get that you have two parties that are essentially the same; one is just more conservative than the other.

Wow, are you serious? No, that is not it. smh

I meant that compared to my parties: Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Green, etc.
On the political spectrum, both American parties are both conservative; one is just more conservative than the other.

This is quite true^

Our country is ran a certain way because Congress and our Presidents are always capitalist. The only difference is the democratic party wants the country ran with a slightly more liberal edge than the other.

Katatori-kun:

Ouch! But well said, I think.

Volf99:

thaluikhain:
Yeah, I've never managed to properly understand anything to do with politics, finance, law enforcement, military or culture from the US.

Everything else, I might have a chance with. Or maybe not.

....so basically anything from the US that relates to humans?

Not exactly. I spend alot of time swearing that every new product has been designed to be more shiny and less user friendly than the last one, but I understand the point of the important ones.

Who builds the shiny toys for whom and who pays...that's a bit muddled. The US is organised very differently from my own country.

thaluikhain:

Katatori-kun:

Ouch! But well said, I think.

Volf99:

thaluikhain:
Yeah, I've never managed to properly understand anything to do with politics, finance, law enforcement, military or culture from the US.

Everything else, I might have a chance with. Or maybe not.

....so basically anything from the US that relates to humans?

Not exactly. I spend alot of time swearing that every new product has been designed to be more shiny and less user friendly than the last one, but I understand the point of the important ones.

Who builds the shiny toys for whom and who pays...that's a bit muddled. The US is organised very differently from my own country.

...um ok. So what about the US do you like then?

Volf99:
...um ok. So what about the US do you like then?

Do you want me to start making judgement calls on things I don't properly understand? Well, beyond "too complicated", which might apply to any number of things.

I wouldn't have thought that the US political system is that complicated compared to other countries.

The rhetoric and polarisation is balls-to-the-wall mentalism, but the actual system itself doesn't seem that uniquely crazy.

E.g. a substantial part of UK politics revolves around making bitchy remarks in a room where the sides are separated by the width of two swords. But America, they're just keraazy over there.....

Hey I know the primaries are crazy but its a lot better than how we used to select candidates. Basically party leaders and political bosses got together and picked who they thought was most electable and easiest to control (for the most part at least). As insane as the primaries can be they are a huge step over the old way of doing things.

Torrasque:

Volf99:

Torrasque:
Ok, so I get that you have two parties that are essentially the same; one is just more conservative than the other.

Wow, are you serious? No, that is not it. smh

I meant that compared to my parties: Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Green, etc.
On the political spectrum, both American parties are both conservative; one is just more conservative than the other.

Yes the American political spectrum as a whole is more Conservative than the political spectrum in most European countries. What we consider liberals, Europeans might consider to be center or center-right even. Its essentially the same concept as how in the Middle East their liberals (that is the people who think women should be allowed to vote in some local elections as opposed to not voting at all for example) would be considered far right (actually even in the American view that would be seen as extreme far right so maybe this is a bad example).

I remember a comment from Tony Blair's diary where he mentioned that he actually got along more with Clinton than Bush since Clinton's views were closer to his own (though he says Bush was a more honest man).

 

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