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The United States of America (USA) has many parties. Each party can name a candidate to run for whichever government function they please. However, it is common knowledge that only two parties have an actual chance of filling significant mandates in government: the Republican Party (RP) and the Democratic Party (DP). "Ipso facto", then, the US system is a dual alternation between the republicans and the democrats.

The politician that aspires to run the presidency must first gather a scout comitte which will study the chances of victory and raise funds for the campaign, sometimes even a couple of years before of the election. When all that is achieved, a formal note is delivered to the party and the campaigning starts in crucial states.

The campaign in all the 50 states result in a Caucus - electors assembly- or in a Primary - direct voting on ballots.

Democrats and Republicans have different caucuses. The DP gathers it's members in buildings such as churches, schools and theaters. Each room of the building represents a candidate and the voters go to the rooms of the candidates they support. The candidates with less than 15% of approval are considerable inviable, thus being eliminated. Its suporters then have to go their second choice candidate. The one with the most support wins the caucus. The RP caucus is decided upon informal voting such as a show of hands.

The Caucuses and the Primaries don't decide directly which candidate will run for office, but which candidate's delegates will vote in the party convention in august. Each state has a certain number of delegates based on the famous "rep by pop" (representation by population). The winning candidate in certain state will take the most delegates from there to the late summer party conference, thus yielding him/her more considerable chances of being appointed the official party candidate that will run in the actual election. The DP convention occurs in Denver, Colorado, from August 25th to the 28th. The RP convention takes place in Minneapolis, Minnesota, between the 1st and 4th of September.

Iowa and New Hampshire have state laws that they must be the first to hold these political meetings. They then agreed that Iowa would hold the first Caucus, while New Hampshire would hold the first Primaries. The importance of being the first ones is that they receive an attention that they would normally don't get due to their population size (Iowa - 3mi; New Hampshire - 1.3mi/in 2006), thus having their regional problems in evidence. Also, the answer to whom is going to run is pretty much known by the end of the process, make the last caucuses and primaries insignificant, making the media pay no interest to the final states.

Once the delegates of each of the 50 states are chosen, the RP and the DP both hold conventions, where the final voting, those of the delegates choosing the party candidate, will take place. The candidate that wins the most delegate votes is chosen to run for government.

This initial stage of the political process is as competitive as the elections itself.

When the actual campaigning starts, the process runs reasonaby the same way. On the voting day, always the first Tuesday of November, the winner in each state will take all of the delegates thear state is entitled too. Those delegates will vote for their party candidate in the electoral college. Summarizing: Basen on the rep by pop, each state has a certain number of votes. The winner in a state takes them all. The one with the largest number of electoral votes wins.

In extreme cases, though, the winner might be less voted by the population and still have more electoral votes. Examples:

1876 Elections:

Rutherford B. Hayes (RP) x Samuel J. Tilden Party (DP)

Electoral vote: 185 x184

Popular vote: 4,034,311 x 4,288,546

Percentage: 47.9% x 51.0%

1888 Elections:

Benjamin Harrison (RP) x Grover Cleveland (DP)

Electoral vote: 233 x 168

Popular vote: 5,443,892 x 5,534,488

Percentage: 47.8% x 48.6%

2000 Elections:

George W. Bush (RP) x Albert A. Gore (DP)

Electoral vote: 271 x 266 States

Popular vote: 50,460,110 x 51,003,926

Percentage: 47.9% x 48.4%

Electoral votes per state:

1-Alabama: 9

2-Alaska: 3

3-Arizona: 10

4-Arkansas: 6

5-California: 55


7-Connecticut: 7

8-Delaware: 3

9-Florida: 27

10-Georgia: 15

11-Hawaii: 4

12-Idaho: 4

13-Illinois: 21

14-Indiana: 11

15-Iowa: 7

16-Kansas: 6


18-Louisiana: 9

19-Maine: 4

20-Maryland: 10


22-Michigan: 17

23-Minnesota: 10

24-Mississippi: 6

25-Missouri: 11

26-Montana: 3

27-Nebraska: 5

28-Nevada: 5

29-New Hampshire:4

30-New Jersey: 15

31-New Mexico: 5

32-New York: 31

33-North Carolina: 15

34-North Dakota:3

35-Ohio: 20

36-Oklahoma: 7

37-Oregon: 7

38- Pennsylvania:21

39-Rhode Island: 4

40-South Carolina: 8

41-South Dakota

42-Tennessee: 11

43-Texas: 34

44-Utah: 5

45-Vermont: 3

46-Virginia: 13

47-Washington: 11

48-West Virgina: 5

49-Wisconsin: 10

50-Wyoming: 3

DC: 3

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Q: How does American election system work?
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