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How We Choose a President

February 12, 2016
Plain English Version
Donald Trump

Donald Trump


In a parliamentary system, the party that wins the most seats is the party that governs. The party selects one of its members to be the prime minister or premier. Great Britain is an example.

The United States has a different form of government. The U.S. Constitution calls for a separation of powers. That separation includes a president, a legislature and a judiciary.

The American people elect the president. The people vote separately for the legislature, which is the Senate and the House of Representatives. The legislators come from the 50 states. The president can be from one party and the legislators from another.

President Obama is a member of the Democratic Party. Most members of the legislature are Republicans. The different interests of the two parties mean that is it very hard to govern the country.

The president represents all of the people of the United States. He or she is the symbol of this nation.

Candidates for president propose themselves. It is up to the people to ratify the choice through their votes in elections. That is why a man like Donald Trump can announce he is running for president. He picks a party (the Republicans). He will then ask the people who are registered Republicans to choose him in their primary elections.

A dozen or so other people announced they wanted to be president. Does it matter that Mr. Trump has never held public office? Does it matter that he has no record for people to review and consider?

The answer is no. If a man can appeal to enough voters, he can win the nation’s highest office with no qualifications.

Shocking, but true. Mr. Trump is appealing to the basest instincts of American voters. He plays on their fears and prejudices. He promises solutions that are simply empty slogans. He is a demagogue.

He is not the first person to use the power of speech to appeal to the emotions and fears of people. Other figures who used such tactics and who come to mind include Mussolini, Hitler, Chavez, Castro, Franco and Peron.

It is like a bad movie.

What will the American people do?

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