On Friday, January 20, thousands of supporters gathered at the US Capitol in Washington D.C to witness the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. The 35-word oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” culminated Mr. Trump’s stunning trajectory from real-estate tycoon to holding the country’s highest office.
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The fact that Donald Trump was unlike other candidates has been apparent since he announced his bid for the US Presidency in January. The real-estate mogul and businessman promised to “Make America Great Again” with radical suggestions like building a wall to stop illegal immigrants and imposing tariffs to discourage imports. While many of his ideas were not ‘politically correct,’ and even bordered on being unconstitutional, they struck a chord with the American public. On November 8, much to the surprise of experts, it was not the politically astute Hillary Clinton, but the business savvy Trump who was elected the 45th President of the United States.
Though not mandatory, it has become customary for the US Presidential nominees of the two largest political parties — currently the Democratic and Republican parties — to face off against each other in a series of live debates. While the primary purpose is to convince undecided voters, hearing the candidate’s views on issues ranging from the US economy to foreign policy sometimes sways even staunch party supporters. Given that the nominees get just three chances to present their ideas, the discussions are often contentious. However, the arguments are usually restricted to differences in policies. But this time the rhetoric has been personal. Both candidates spent the first two debates talking more about each other’s character flaws, than discussing America’s future. Last night was no different.
As predicted, the first debate between US presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, that took place at New York’s Hofstra University on September 26, drew a record audience. According to initial estimates, between 70 – 80 million people tuned in to watch the first face off between the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees. The last time a US presidential debate generated this much interest was in 1980, when incumbent President Jimmy Carter was pitted against former California Governor Ronald Reagan.
March 1 was Super Tuesday, the day when a large number of US states held primary elections and caucuses. The all-important day that takes place in February or March is crucial for presidential hopefuls because it gives a clear indication of the opinions of people living in geographically and socially diverse regions. Super Tuesday front-runners frequently end up receiving their respective party's nomination.
On Monday, February 1, the residents of Iowa became the first in the nation to vote for the candidate they believe is most suited to be the nominee for the upcoming Presidential elections. The record 186,000 Republican voters were almost evenly split in their choice. Ted Cruz won by a slight margin garnering 27.6% of the votes with Donald Trump and Marco Rubio coming in at 24.3% and 23.1%, respectively. Ben Carson was a distant fourth with 9.3% and Rick Santorum and Jim Gilmore received no votes!
For all you middle-school presidents, secretaries and treasurers that aspire to lead the country some day, here is some encouraging news - Elise Stefanik, the youngest woman ever to be elected to the US Congress started the same way. The 30-year-old who defeated Democratic incumbent Aaron Woolf in New York's 21st Congressional District in the November 4th midterm elections, began her political career in sixth grade, as student council secretary.
While in most places a candidate has to be at least old enough to vote before he/she can stand for office, such is not the case in the tiny town of Dorset that lies 150 miles from the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. In this unincorporated community that boasts a population of 28 and calls itself 'The Restaurant Capital of the World', everyone, regardless of gender, qualification, residency or age, can vie to become the honorary mayor. This means that even a toddler can be elected!