2. Major elections

The US presidential election

• Holding the election

• The US president is elected every 4 year => 4-year term. He/She can stand for re-election only once => 2 consecutive terms maximum.
• Presidential elections are held in early November on Election Day (always a Tuesday). The winner becomes the president-elect and will officially become president on Inauguration Day in January, around the 20th.
!! The president of the USA is both the head of state and the head of government, which means there is no PM in the USA, the president forms and leads his/her government.

• Winning the party nomination

• In 2020, the Democratic primaries opposed many contenders in a bitter fight. Joe Biden won the primaries and became the Democratic official presidential candidate. He chose Kamala Harris to be his vice-presidential candidate, thus forming the Democratic ticket.
In the Republican party there was no race for the nomination as Donald Trump and Mike Pence already were in power and running for re-election, so they automatically became the Republican party ticket.
• To become the official party candidate, the contenders first have to win their party primaries taking place in each US state from January to June, then to win the party nomination in the summer party conventions where they will form the party official presidential tickets (president + vice-president -VP).

• Winning the presidential election

• To become president, a candidate has to win a simple majority of the 538 electors of the electoral college. It’s an indirect election : American voters elect the electors of each state (the popular vote) forming the electoral college who then turn elect the president (electoral vote).
• What was unusual in Donald Trump’s 2016 victory is that he lost the popular vote with 47% of the votes to Hillary Clinton's 48%. It shows that the popular vote is only symbolical and doesn't count because it's an indirect election.
What was unusual in Donald Trump’s 2020 defeat was that he didn’t accept it, pretending the election was rigged, that his victory was stolen (conspiracy theories). Moreover, he incited his voters to riot on the 6th January 2020 when they assaulted Congress to prevent Joe Biden’s official certification - and halt the democratic process.

Notions & vocabulary

MP: member of Parliament - in fact member of the House of Commons.
PM: prime minister.
a simple majority: majorité absolue.
a simple plurality: majorité relative.
a general election: une élection législative (GE).
a snap election: une élection anticipée.
to rig an election: organiser une fraude electorale.
to nominate: nominer.
to appoint: nommer.
to resign: démissionner.
a voter: un électeur.
an elector: un grand électeur dans un suffrage indirect.
Brexit: the UK leaving the EU in January 2020 after the June 2016 referendum.