Millions of Americans will head to the polls to vote in the primaries this season and the marathon of televised fanfare has begun. Deciphering truth vs. fiction, reality vs. unreality and envisioning the future relationship between new President and new Congress is quite a challenge!
State primary elections and party caucuses are a key part of the process to select the next President. They provide a crucial opportunity for voters to take control and to influence the process by selecting their top candidate. Voter turnout historically has been quite low, but there is now the thought, as evidenced already, that turnout for the 2016 primaries may change that dismal voter turnout history.
The League has its job to do with questions to answer and guidance to provide!
The most frequently asked question we hear is “How Do I Learn About the Candidates”? That is not a simple question to answer. We strongly encourage people to listen to speeches, interviews, commercials and ads. Research the candidates. Observe their behaviors, actions, reactions and interactions as they parade their campaigns through the various states.
Candidate debates and forums are a core feature of U.S. politics that help voters learn more about a candidate and his or her stance on key issues. Both the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates have been participating in a range of debates and forums since 2015. Additional debates and forums will occur throughout the primary and caucus season.
In addition to debates and forums, voters can learn about candidates through VOTE411.org, which includes upcoming events and other information provided directly from the candidates regarding where they stand on a variety of public policy issues. Now, by the way, what about those delegates? And even better, those “Super Delegates”! Are you confused about the number, identity and impact of these influential participants in the nomination of a Presidential candidate? Take a look at the following explanation and see if it provides you with clarity:
“In some presidential elections, superdelegates can play a major role in determining the Democratic nominee. Unlike delegates, superdelegates are not bound to represent the popular vote of a region at the Democratic National Convention; they are free to support any candidate for the nomination. The Republican Party does not have superdelegates.
Superdelegates are not selected on the basis of party primaries and caucuses in each state. Instead, superdelegate standing is based on the status of current or former officeholders and party officials, including all Democratic members of Congress. Superdelegate is a term that arose in the 1970s.
In order for a candidate to win the party nomination for president, he or she must gain the majority of delegate votes. The purpose of superdelegates is for high-ranking Democrats to maintain some control over the nominating process. Superdelegates make up one-fifth of the delegates at the Democratic National Convention. So, 747 of the 5,083 delegates attending the 2016 Democratic National Convention can choose whichever candidate they prefer.
Out of 2,470 total delegates at the Republican National Convention in 2016, 437 are unpledged delegates who play the same role as superdelegates. Of the 437, 168 are members of the Republican National Committee.”
Are you clear yet? I have to admit, I surely am not! But we can say for certain, the stage has been set and the show has begun. Participate and deliberate. And then, cast your vote!