Can the US re-elect former presidents?
How do you become a US President?
What does an applicant have to bring with them?
The US has what is known as a two-party system. That means that the US president comes from either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. There are three key requirements to becoming president: You must be over 35 years of age and an official US citizen, and you must have lived in the US for at least 14 years. While there are two highest offices in Germany (Federal Chancellor and Federal President), the American President is both head of state and head of government. This gives him a lot of power.
The president is elected every four years and can only be re-elected once. To vote in the US, you must be at least 18 years old and a US citizen. In addition, one must have registered in advance to vote. If you don't do that, you can't vote.
The path to becoming a presidential candidate
Before the actual election of the president, each of the two major parties has to choose a candidate to send them into the race. This is quite a long and complicated process. It begins two years before the election with usually several politicians announcing that they would like to stand for election. You then have to form a team of helpers and sponsors. Because such an election campaign is quite complex and expensive. One year before the election, the election campaign really starts within the party.
To decide which applicant goes into the race for the party, there is Primaries. In each individual state, citizens can vote on the possible candidates. That always happens between January and June of the election year. The winners of the primary elections, i.e. the final presidential candidates, become the so-called Party conventions chosen. Such a party convention is like a big show where family members, celebrities and important politicians perform.
The election of the president
Only now does the actual election campaign begin, which will last until the election in November. The American president is elected in two steps. The first and decisive step is the choice of citizens. This takes place at the beginning of November. Each state holds its own small poll and determines a winner. This happens according to the principle "the winner gets everything". This means that the candidate with the most votes will be the sole winner of the state. But whoever has the most votes in the country is not automatically president.
In a second step, the president has to be officially elected. This election will take place one month later in Electoral collage instead of. This is a body that meets only once every four years to elect the president and his deputy. It is composed of a total of 538 people who electors to be named. They are sent by the individual states. However, you cannot decide for yourself who to choose. Your job is to choose the president who won in your state. Because you can calculate beforehand which candidate has collected the most electoral votes, this election is rather symbolic. Whoever gets 270 of the 538 votes will be the new US President. The term of office does not officially begin until the swearing-in in January.
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