US politics and campaigning for president are a big puzzle not only for foreigners but also for many citizens in US. People think about the money involved, how the president is elected and they wonder if their vote really matters.
A recent report from the New York Times stated that the presidential candidates have raised more than $186 million for their campaigns to date, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. Mitt Romney led among Republicans with $57,112.767 and Obama $139,526,311. These figures represent the moneys up to December 2011, so they will keep increasing as the campaigning continues.
Even though there are about 169 million registered voters in US, it is obvious that the money does not come from $10 contributions from the registered voters.
Instead the funds represent the big interests in play that want to control the life of the country.
The bankers, investors, health care related investors, pharmaceutical companies, oil and fossil companies, and all the lobbyists that circle the capitol always looking for ways to benefit the people that finance them. They do not care about the negative impact their negotiations have on the people.
One of the questions on the U.S. Citizenship Test is : “Who elects the president of the United States? A: The electoral college”. It is difficult to comprehend this since during the campaign there are all those ‘messages’ to the people. But in reality, when you vote for a presidential candidate you are really voting to instruct the electors from your state to cast their votes for the same candidate. Therefore, votes cast by the people of the United States — known as the “popular vote” — are used to choose the president and vice president “indirectly” through the Electoral College.
A candidate winning the popular vote may lose the election by the Electoral College. In fact if the candidate wins 11 of 12 most populous states. California, New York, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia, representing the 270 votes needed to win the election, he could lose the other 39 states and still be the elected winner.
Besides the confusion around the procedure and the money, there is also the matter of campaign content. After the nasty things said to each other, Republicans have showed a very dark side of their personalities, life, personal finances, etc., it is difficult to imagine electing an individual whose life and ethics lack the basic civility we expect even from children.
In school children are taught to not take advantage of others, run clean school elections, be loyal, honest and work for the good of the class or school. It appears that those positive character building blocks are supposed to be left aside in order to ‘progress’ and advance yourself above others.
Currently there is an increasing number of discontented people and the protests continue to appear throughout the country as they realize how the rich really are the ones running this country.
It is going to take a great deal of explaining and convincing to turn the tide around.
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