The US presidential elections 2016, perhaps the most awaited, talked about and televised event waiting to see its closure come November 8, 2016. Two principal candidates from the two principal parties that is the Republican and the Democrat nominates each candidate to fight for the race to the White House. This year the candidates are American real estate developer and business tycoon Donald Trump who has businesses spread across the world and on the other hand we have former first lady and secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The two candidates have their own share of appreciation, fan following and criticisms by the political pundits and the general electorate of America. November 8 will decide the fate of each candidate and thereafter will follow a new set of policies that will be framed and implemented which will not only set the discourse in the United States (US) but will also have impact in countries that are both friendly and not so friendly with the US.
Under such circumstances it is important to understand the nuances and stakes involved surrounding the election. Presidential Elections in the US are not executed in the manner that we see in other functioning democracies, for example India where the voters are the ultimate stakeholders. Rather the system in the US is broken down into two parts, the Primary and the General Election.
During the primary phase elections are held in each of the 50 states to select the party’s primary candidates. Off course when we are talking about US Presidential elections it has to be unique in nature. Each of the US states (California, the largest state has 55 electoral votes) are alloted a certain number of “electoral votes” and for a candidate to be the president it is important to win the majority vote which happens to be 270.
Which are the swing states?
States that have no particular history of leaning to a specific political party are considered as swing states. That means they can “swing” between the two parties depending on the cycle. The nature of the swing is a changing phenomena which depends upon changes in population and voting pattern. A striking example can be drawn of Barack Obama who won North Carolina in 2008 but lost the same to Mitt Romney in 2012 which inadvertently places North Carolina as a highly opportunistic battleground since both camps in 2016 sees a chance to win there.
This election cycle the battleground states include: Florida, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.
Why is Ohio considered the most important state in a US election?
Call it a perennial bellwether or the queen bee, the tagline that goes, “As Ohio goes, so goes the Nation.” Records ssuggest that no republican candidates has ever won the White House without Ohio. The last democrat to win without Ohio was John F. Kennedy in 1960. This makes Ohio the high priority state where candidates invest a lot of time, energy and advertising money throughout their campaign.