The world has gone through a lot in the year 2020. From Covid-19 halting lives throughout to Australian bushfires, from Beirut explosion to West Coast wildfires, stock market crashes to Black Lives Matter protests; the year has seen several world-changing events. The next big thing we are going to witness is US Presidential Election 2020. Within a few weeks, people of America will elect new US president, the most powerful person in the world for the next four years. Who is the choice of American people: Democratic candidate or the Republican one? There is time to get the answer of this burning question.
Two candidates, Donald Trump and Joe Biden are leaving no stone unturned to win US Presidential elections 2020. Before the final call of the electoral college, it is hard to tell who will win the elections. The voting for the final election will be held on 3 November 2020. Every country has its separate way of electing their leaders. It depends on what form of government does a country has. In India we all know, we have a democratic form of government. But, the United States of America has a federal form of government.
Usually, the result of US Presidential election has a direct or indirect effect on several other countries including India. This year as well, eyes are set on this battle. Before starting the talk about the upcoming USA election 2020 and its impact on India, first, we understand about the election process of the United States.
The history of Presidents in the US:
The US shares a great history of presidents as it has a different way of conducting an election. The first President George Washington was an American political leader, military general, statesman, and founding father. He won a unanimous vote of the Electoral College. He made several changes in the US constitution. Grover Cleveland became the only President to serve two non-consecutive terms (22nd and 24th). In 2000, George W Bush became the 4th President who won the elections with majority votes of the Electoral College. In 2009, Barack Obama was the first Afro-American who became the President of the USA. He went on to become the president twice by winning the next election. The current and 45th President is Donald Trump from January 2017. Now people are eagerly waiting to know the next presidential status of the USA.
The federal government of the United States:
The federal government of the United States is a body of national government of USA. United States is a federal republic nation of North America and consists of 50 states, a federal district, and five self-governing territories with some island groups. The country America is a union of different self-governing states. That is why it is known as the United States of America. All the states have their ways to govern their states. But, all these states share common principles and thoughts, and thus, this forms the federal government. Federal district (Washington DC) is the capital of America.
This federal government comprises three special branches namely legislative, executive, and judicial (just like India). The powers restes within the hands of US Congress, the President and the federal courts respectively. The US Congress has a US constitution and two chambers called Houses. These two Houses are – House of Representatives (Lower House) and Senate (Upper House).
What is an Electoral College?
US Constitution established a body of some electors called the Electoral College. The members of this college belong to the federal states of the US. This body is established after every four years for the solitary purpose of electing the President and Vice President of US.
The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. From these electors, the nominated candidates requires an absolute majority of 270 or more electoral votes to win the election. Every state has different numbers of electors who cast their votes in the electoral college. The number of electors for each state is equal to the total number of representatives in the House of Representatives and the two Senators from the upper house of a particular state.
For example, California has 53 representatives in the House of Representatives and two Senators in the US Congress. This gives it a total of 55 electoral votes in Electoral College.
How does the US election work?
In America, the supreme power rests in the hands of the President as he is the head of the states as well as the government. The President manages the branch of executive. He serves the post of military commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. To become a President of the USA, a candidate has to go through the process of elections.
In this process, the Republic and Democratic candidates compete with each other. They tour and run promotional campaigns in different states for making people vote in their favor. Both candidates also schedule the debates on renowned news channels to prove their worth. Then the people of states cast their votes. The candidates with the maximum number of votes (electoral college votes) win the election.
Need for an Electoral College for US Presidential Election 2020:
In India, the party with the maximum number of votes wins the election. Unlike India, the US does not follow this procedure of election. In the US, candidates after receiving the majority of popular votes couldn’t win the election. The Electoral College votes and then the candidate having the maximum number of Electoral College votes wins the election. Thus, the electoral college decides who would be the President of America.
During the last election of 2016, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton secured a majority of popular votes against Republican candidate Donald Trump. But in the Electoral College, Trump had received 304 votes and Hillary only secured 227 votes. So, this declared Trump as the President of America.
Why US Presidential Election 2020 are in news?
US elections are centered on two groups- democratic group and republican group. Therefore, both the candidates are fighting tooth and nail to win the election. There are several reasons for which US Presidential Elections 2020 remain in news on every channel. First USA is the biggest power of the world and most of the countries want to strengthen their ties with US. So, it is obvious to have interest on this election. In addition, United states is the biggest centre of business and economic activities so many industries have their focus on this election to interpret its impact on the businesses.
Who is ahead in the race?
The 2020 US presidential election is a few days away. According to the latest update, opinion polls indicate that Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, is ahead in the race with a lead of seven points over US Republican candidate and current President Donald Trump. However, this survey only reflects the popular vote. Hence, it does not give a clear picture that who will win the final elections. This is so because the ultimate decision is only taken by the electoral college.
Role of debate in US Presidential Election 2020:
Another reason for which this year US elections are in headlines is debate. Debates play a significant role in US presidential elections. These debates provide the platform where both the candidates can prove their points. A proper face off is conducted in the debate in which opposite candidate can intervene the other candidate in their speech. But because of the pandemic, this year debates take a different turn in the US presidential election 2020.
A debate was scheduled to happen between the current US President Donald Trump and former Vice-president Joe Biden on 15th October. This debate was officially canceled because of Trump getting infected by COVID-19. The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) tried to shift the debate to a remote format but Trump also refuses to do so. Trump despite his health issues started his rallies and attended the TV debate.
A Presidential debate or a disaster?
Many people criticized the first debate between Trump and Biden. They claimed that the whole debate was on irrelevant issues and matter of policy. Some experts even called this debate ‘the worst presidential debate in history’. CNN also declared this debate ‘horrendous’. In the debate neither of the candidates (Trump nor Biden) discusses anything informative to educate the public about the future course of action of respective candidates.
Effect of US Presidential Election 2020:
The US is a country that has secured the first position in many sectors among the other countries of the world. With the supreme military services, highest GDP and the number one medical infrastructure, the US has gained the veto power. Every other country is dealing with the USA directly or indirectly whether it involves exports or imports, stock markets, funding policies, etc. So, this is obvious that present elections in the US will affect the other countries in many ways.
Effect of US Presidential Elections on the World Market:
The economy of the US is the world’s largest economy with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of approximately $18 trillion annually. Worldwide nine out of 10 currency transactions involves the US dollar. Considering the country’s economic, military and medical importance, the US presidential election seems to be the most important political event. However, uncertainty of this election and its impact is not beneficial for the investors of the global market. Before the electoral elections, nothing can be speculated. In this situation, it is difficult to tell which party will win and what investment portfolios will be made for the global markets.
Effect of US Presidential Election 2020 on other countries:
Since the America enjoys the unipolar status, most of the countries are collaborating with the country for many advantages. After the failure in controlling the infections of coronavirus and rising job unemployment, the number of protesters of Trump has increased. In this situation intervention of China created the biggest challenge for US presidential elections. China started to convert his motto of ‘Middle kingdom’ (center of the world) into reality with its various strategic moves.
During this outbreak, most of the countries have faced an economic crisis. But, China on the other hand had started his mission with its Belt-Road Initiative (BRI) project. In this project, China will be investing trillions of dollars in over 70 countries. This investment will be done for constructing buildings, roads, railways, waterways, improving healthcare and basic infrastructure among the countries. China has projected a threat to USA’s policy of remaining the number one superpower. But, because of Trump’s anti-China notion some countries are supporting Trump in his US presidential election. So, this US presidential election 2020 seem to be an interesting one for the US as well as for other countries.
Effect of US Presidential Election 2020 on India:
Global alliances are not a new concept. Every country makes alliances for its own country’s development. Similarly, India shares a strong bond with the US. The Indian supporters of Trump even started a slogan ‘Abki Baar Trump Sarkar’ because of the strong bonding between Narendra Modi (Indian Prime Minister) and Trump (US President). India supports Trump’s anti-China rhetoric because the collaboration of China with Pakistan does not prove beneficial for India. Amid the ongoing India-China border tussle, India wants US to be on its side.
This year US presidential election will strategically impact India. The victory of Biden may or may not be turned to be in favor of India. Whether the Biden team will continue the US-China policy or not; and what effect India will face in the stock market are the key questions in front of India. We will get to know about this after the US presidential election which will be held on 3rd November 2020.