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Electing an American President

Electoral College
Each state has a certain number of electors that elect the next President.
Senators + Representatives = Electors

The Constitution requires each state to send these Electors, and every state does so by popular vote.
The Candidate who gets the most votes from The People, wins all those electors. Most are winner take all, except Nebraska & Maine.

This is the number of Representatives + Senators from each state

How Fat Is Illinois?

Why an Electoral College?


Not intended to give people a say. Congress was designed for that, and the President was chosen to lead the government, not necessarily the people. Very controversial of late:
Al Gore lost in 2000, even though he won more people in the popular vote.

Designed to give us an executive that represents the will of 50 States, not the people. (The people are represented already through those states)

Problems with the Electoral College


Where Candidates Spend the Most Money Where Candidates Visit the Most

Candidates sometimes visit only the states with lots of Electoral Votes, or a swing state. Is that fair? Does the President truly represent the whole country, then?

The Alternative Could Be Worse

http://www.time.com/time/covers/20061030/where_we_live/

Comparing Parties
A very vague and sweeping generalization to help students understand the most basic differences between parties. They are taught not ALL people from each party match these descriptions.

Democrats Left on the Spectrum/Liberal High Taxes Government should help people as much as possible Morals thru being kind Promote Peace Scientific/fact based. Progressives new ideas Urban/Suburban

Republicans Right on the Spectrum/Conservative Lower Taxes Limited Government Interference/vention Moral, Faith-based Strong Defense Likes things the way they are/were; Old Fashioned Rural/Suburban

Things that influence voters for Prez:


Policies
Where does the Candidate stand on abortion, taxes, immigration, defense, education, etc.

Party Membership
Sometimes just being a Democrat or a Republican is enough to like or dislike a candidate

Personal Character
Is the person likeable? Are they intelligent, well spoken? Is he/she a strong leader? Does he/she understand Americans?

Current Events
War in Iraq, Recession, gay marriage, free trade, civil rights