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A short guide to the american political system

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Ernesto Correa

on 6 October 2013

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Transcript of A short guide to the american political system

A short guide to the american political system
How much do you know about the american system? How does it work?

Here are some hints to understanding it...

The Constitution 1789
Is the shortest constitution in the world (7 articles and 27 amendments)

The 1st 10 amendments are known as the Bill of Rights and had been around also since 1789.

Separation of powers is stated (Executive, Legislature and Judiciary)
Those are called branches.
Members of those branches are granted different terms on office
The Presidency
Is both head of state, government, military commander-in-chief and chief diplomat.

He presides the executive branch of the federal government. He manages national affairs and has power to intervene in the federal government.

Elected for a maximum of two terms.
House of Representatives
Is the lower chamber in the bicameral legislature.

It served as the primary forum for political debate.

The House consists of 435 members.

It has non voting delegates from: American Samoa, Distric of Columbia, Guam, The Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico
The Senate
Is the upper chamber in the bicameral legislature. It´s the dominant chamber. It consists on 100 members.

Each of them represents a state and serves for 6 years. (1/3 stands for election every 2 years)

Each state has 2 Senators regardless of the population it has.

4 years
members 6 years
House of Representatives
members 2 years
For further information
How do they choose him/her?
States with largest number of votes
California (55)
Texas (38)
New York (29)
Florida (29)
Pennsylvania (20)
Illinois (20)
This gives us a total of 538 electors
What are "Battleground States"
Most states show a tradition of being either Democrat or Republican. There are some other which might go to either party
What about "Swing States"?
Those are the ones in which the candidates concentrate their appearances and resources
Some weird stuff... (at least for non americans)
A candidate can win the largest number of votes nationwide but fail to win the largest number of votes in the Electoral College and FAIL to become President...
He is not directly elected by the voters. He is chosen by an Electoral College. Each state has representatives on it.
So for a candidate to be elected he has to win at least 270 electoral votes
Some facts
The 1st President was George Washington
Barack Obama is the 44th President
Four sitting President were assassinated: Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley and JFK.
The Supreme Court
Consists of 9 Justices: The Chief Justice of the US and 8 Associate Justices. They have equal weight when voting a case.

The Justices are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. They serve for life.

They can be removed by resignation and impeachment with subsequent conviction.
Is the highest court in the US
It deals with matter of:
the Federal Government
disputes between states
interpretation of the Constitution

It can declare legislation or executive actions as unconstitutional, nullifying law and creating precedent.
It creates specific meaning to general phases in Constitution by the decision it makes.
Full transcript