Election Day is Here! (image: myJon)
by: Grayson Leverenz
On November 4, 2008 the people of the United States of America will elect a new President. Millions of people will stand in line to cast their vote for the leader they believe best represents their vision of the brightest future for the country, and the 44th President will emerge victorious.
History of US Presidential Elections
The United States is a constitution-based federal republic with a strong democratic tradition. In 1787, the founding fathers believed the average American was not informed enough to elect the President outright; so they created the Electoral College, a set of people empowered to elect a candidate into office. To this day, the people vote, but the Electoral College decides the election. It is possible to win the Popular vote and not become the President. This has happened four times in US history, most recently in 2000 when Al Gore won the Popular vote, but George W. Bush won the Electoral vote and became the 43rd President.
It takes 270 Electoral College votes to win the Presidency. If neither candidate surpasses that number, the House of Representatives chooses the President. A President serves a term of 4 years, and is limited to two terms in office.
Two main parties compete in US elections: Democrats and Republicans. Some people, both international and domestic, believe the differences between the two parties are few, but many people in the US remain strongly dedicated to one party or the other.
In 2008, Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden represent the Democratic ticket for President and Vice President respectively. The Republican ticket offers Senator John McCain for President and Governor Sarah Palin for Vice President.
Issues for Business
Democrats and Republicans differ on issues around corporate taxes, international trade and other interests that affect business in this country and around the world. To review the candidates’ policies, click here for John McCain and here for Barack Obama.
Marketing a President
For the marketers in the crowd, it is fascinating to apply the principles you’re learning in your MBA classes to a person. Presidential campaigns develop a candidate’s positioning, and create 360 degree surround sound marketing programs to reinforce their message. The programs include: speeches, advertising, direct mail, online and telephone communication. Each side spends millions of dollars campaigning. Supporters of each campaign even get involved by developing user generated content to share via the internet. Click here to see some of the most influential Presidential ads.
To learn more about US Presidents and historical elections, click here.