U.S. Presidential Election 2016

Episode 103 – Sunday, November 6th, 2016 (7250)

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From left to right: Democrat Hillary Clinton, Republican Donald Trump, Libertarian Gary Johnson, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein running for the next president of the United States.

The anticipated presidential election in the United States is now coming.

The American people will decide this coming Tuesday to choose between Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump as the next president of the United States. This will be the 58th quadrennial presidential election in the U.S. which was started in 1789. As the incumbent president, Barack Obama will be illegible to re-elect for the third term in the accordance of the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Thus, either Clinton or Trump (or as well as other third-party candidates) will be the 45th U.S. President after the election.

This is such pretty interesting for this year’s U.S. presidential election between these presidential candidates. Hillary Clinton, former first lady (as wife of former U.S. President Bill Clinton), former U.S. senator (from New York) and former U.S. Secretary of State, made history as the first female presidential candidate to run for the White House. If she will be elected on Tuesday, she will become the first female U.S. president. In other hand, real estate executive and reality TV personality Donald Trump stormed the nation when he decided to run for the White House. But despite of their popularity and ambitions, they both have faced controversies, accusations, and issues during their respective campaigns.

The U.S. presidential election is determined the winner through the Electoral College. American citizens do not directly elect the president or the vice president, but instead they elect representatives called “electors” who usually pledge to vote for the presidential and vice presidential candidates. Electors are allocated to each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.). The number of electors in each state is equivalent to the number of members of the U.S. Congress – consisting of 435 Representatives and 100 Senators plus the three additional electors from the District of Columbia. Therefore, there are 538 electors. All 48 states* and D.C. have chosen electors on a statewide popular vote basis where a presidential candidate must win thru the highest number of votes in that state. (*Maine and Nebraska use the “congressional district method” where one elector is selected by the popular vote within each congressional district while the remaining two electors by a statewide popular vote.) A candidate who receives a majority of more than 270 electoral votes is determined as the winner for the office of president or of vice president. Even if he/she does not receive the most popular votes, he/she may still win for the electoral votes. This was happened in the U.S. election history four times – the most recently was the 2000 presidential election where George W. Bush defeated former Vice President Al Gore by the closest margin of electoral votes (271 for Bush over 266 for Gore) despite the former received only fewer popular votes.

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The electoral map for the 2016 elections

My Past Experiences during U.S. Elections

In my whole life, I don’t really participate for the U.S. elections because, first of all, I’m not an American citizen and of course, I’m not living in the United States so that I’m unable vote for the U.S. president (as well as other local officials). However, this may affect, not only to me, but to my beloved Filipino people because the Philippines is one of the strong allies of the U.S. regardless of the battle against terrorism. In the past, I started to be interested on what’s going on in the U.S. presidential elections.

In 2004, when I was in the U.S. for exchange program, I was aware about the presidential election between U.S. President George W. Bush and John Kerry. But because I had little bit idea about this, I didn’t witness the election night on TV where Pres. Bush narrowly won (I was at the dormitory during that night, and I couldn’t be able to watch the historic event due of the dorm rules where we must sleep after 10 pm).

Four years later, in 2008, the U.S. presidential election was historical when Barack Obama became the first African-American president after defeating Republican candidate John McCain. I was so interested on the election during that time (thanks on what I was watching on NBC Nightly News and Today Show on Philippine TV delayed). Although I didn’t catch the live election night (internet live streaming was limited or didn’t exist during the time), I was able to read news articles or to watch YouTube about the election.

In 2012, when I was working night shift in Mandaluyong, I was able to watch live TV news about the election where the voters were falling in line to vote for their favorites. That was the early morning of November 7th (Philippine time), and I was eating “early morning” meal at the canteen. I couldn’t be able to watch live reports about it when I was heading going home from work (I miss night shift, but I hate working at night). When I arrived home, I heard on the news that incumbent President Obama was reelected for the second term over Mitt Romney.

Election Night

This year, for the first time, I will watch the election night thru internet live streaming at the office on Wednesday morning of November 9th (Philippine time) to witness the results, the projections, and the winner for the next U.S. president in real time (although slightly delayed about a minute or two). The U.S. TV networks (as well as other media outlets) will reveal the presidential race thru the electoral votes of a U.S. state that were projected the winner and added to the total electoral votes of a presidential candidate. If the projection of a particular state is unsure or there’s a close margin hours after the precincts are closed, they will decide that it is “too close to call”. And the projected winner for the president will be determined within few hours (depending if a leading candidate receives more than 270 electoral votes earlier than the expected).

This will be what I have to compare between the U.S. and Philippine media outlets regardless of covering the live presidential election coverage. Last May, TV networks in the Philippines revealed the counting thru the popular votes (unofficial results from the Commission on Elections), and they will wait to reveal the winner within more than 24 hours after the precincts were closed and the votes were counted. And because the Philippine election is based on the plurality voting system, a leading candidate may be surpassed by the other candidates depending how close the margin of the former (look at what happened to the vice presidential race in 2010 and 2016). Unlike in the U.S., the presidential election is based on the Electoral College – needing 270 electoral votes to win the race, and the popular votes are barely focused.

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I hope the American voters there will choose the right candidate for the next president, as well as their local officials, this coming Tuesday (I’ll sleep at night here at the Philippines while they’re busy to vote at their precincts nationwide). If here at my home country where we have a new president to change the situation of our beloved nation, the people of the United States will experience the change, whether it will be good for them or even the worst. This change to the next administration will be reshaped the relations between the U.S. and the Philippines in foreign policy and diplomacy (even our president “hates” the “Yanks”). So, good luck to these presidential candidates, and I hope one of them will be deserved for the next president of this powerful nation.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_2016

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_College_(United_States)

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