Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Iowa Caucus: Beginning Of Formal US Presidential Election

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The US Presidential election is almost a year long process where candidates of the two major political parties begin campaigning for getting nominated as the Presidential candidate of their respective parties. The Democratic Party and the Republican Party are the two major political parties in the US.

Since the incumbent President is Donald Trump, a Republican, it is almost certain that he will be the Presidential candidate of the Republican Party. Thus, for the November 2020 Presidential election, several Democratic Party members are vying for the nomination from the Party.

Nomination of the Presidential candidate is finally done in the National Convention of the Party, where party delegates elected in various primaries and caucuses assemble and decide who will be their party’s nominee.

In the American system of election, there are primaries and caucuses. In the primaries, the party members assemble in various states and select a certain number of delegates for the National Convention. Election takes place in secret voting. But in the caucuses, election of delegates takes place through head count or raised hands.

The first caucus in the presidential election always takes place in Iowa and the first primary election takes place in New Hampshire. Generally, candidates who perform well at these two elections finally make it in the National Convention.

The Democratic Party had its caucus in Iowa on 3 February 2020. Initially, there were 28 candidates in the fray campaigning for their candidature. By the time, the Iowa Caucus took place, the number had come down to 12. The caucus election in Iowa elected 41 delegates to the national convention of the Democratic Party.

The Iowa caucus was the subject of controversy due to a delay in reporting the results, which stemmed at least in part from the Iowa Democratic Party’s decision to use an untested and inexpensive mobile application for results reporting. While it was declared by the Democratic Party to be in order, its optics certainly damaged the image of the party at least partially.

The 2020 US Presidential election is eagerly and anxiously watched around the world. The main reason been American President, Donald Trump, is contesting for a second term. He is said to have immensely impacted American politics, society and even unsettled many of America’s friends abroad. Recently, there was an impeachment proceeding against him. The entire impeachment process became partisan, as the Democratic Party dominated House of Representatives impeached President Trump and the Republican Party dominated Senate acquitted him.

How Mr. Trump faces the American electorate when they go to elect their next president on 3 November 2020, remains to be seen.

Significantly, the American economy is doing relatively well in terms of growth rate as well employment generation. President Trump has also flexed American military muscle around the globe both against allies and adversaries. He had promised to the American people during the last election that he would make “America Great Again.” This time he has been claiming that he has done that and has been promising to keep it that way.

It is very difficult to say how the American voters are going to view their Senate’s decision to leave him scot free even after information was circulated in the print, audio-visual and social media about involvement in Ukraine’s election process. Significantly, 2016 US Presidential election process that made Mr. Trump victorious also was alleged to have been interfered by Russia.

The voting behavior of Americans is influenced by the state of the US economy and domestic social issues. Mr. Donald Trump can certainly feel comfortable about the current state of the US economy. He can also claim that he kept American military out foreign entanglements.

Another key issue is the personality of the Democratic Presidential candidate. Former Vice President Joe Biden has not done well in the Iowa Caucus. Senator Bernie Sanders is a good orator, but his socialist policies are not supported by many in capitalist America. Noting is clear yet about the Democratic candidate who would confront President Trump in November 2020 election.

India being the world’s largest democracy looks to working closely with the US, a strategic partner and also the world’s oldest democracy in the years ahead.


Script :Prof. Chintamani Mahapatra, Rector & Pro Vc, Jnu

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