Why are American politicians so old

Politics. Easy for everyone

A surprising event that interests the whole world

On November 8, 2016, the Americans
elected a new president.
Donald Trump became the 45th President
of the United States of America.
He rules from the White House.
The new president moved in there in January 2017.

The following happened when the US president was elected:
Another applicant received more votes
as Donald Trump.
More Americans voted for Hillary Clinton.
Still, Donald Trump won the election.

Why is that?
How does the US presidential election actually work?

Who had the chance to become US President?

Every four years the US becomes president
or the president elected.
Only then has an applicant (candidate) had a chance so far
To become President:
If one of the two big parties
suggested him.
The big parties are:
the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.

The elected US President Donald Trump during his speech on election night. (& copy picture-alliance / AP)
The supporters of the major parties vote
who should be a candidate.
These votes are called:
The primaries decide
who should be the candidate for the election of president.

In the primaries the following were elected:
As a candidate for the Republican Party: Donald Trump.
As Democratic Party candidate: Hillary Clinton.

The candidates advertised themselves in an election campaign.
For example by speaking in halls or on television.
The election campaign was tough:
There were accusations and insults.
In Europe, Donald Trump in particular was criticized for
what he said in the election campaign.

On November 8th the time had come:
The Americans voted.
President Barack Obama's successor will be:
Donald Trump.

The Republican candidate has a choice
Won with 62,212,752 votes.
Democrat Hillary Clinton had
won over two million more votes.
Still, she lost the election.
"How can that be?"
you may be wondering now.
The reason for this is the complicated electoral system in the USA.

How was the US President elected?

This is how the election for president works:
The USA consists of 50 states.
Every state has under the law
a certain number of "electors".
Big states have more than small ones.
The electors have only one task:
To elect the President of the USA.
This happens on the 2nd Wednesday in December.

Voter in the Ohio primary elections in 2012. (& copy picture-alliance / dpa)
Before, in November,
the citizens of the USA vote on
wen electors of their state
should vote for president.
The electors vote for the candidate,
that of the citizens of their state,
the most votes got.

In the state of California there is
for example 55 electors.
All 55 electors vote for one candidate.
You vote for the candidate,
that of the citizens of California
got the most votes.
It doesn't matter how many votes
the candidate got more.
It doesn't matter if he only has 10 votes
got more or
whether he has 1 million votes
got more.
His opponent doesn't get a single vote
of electors!
This is also the case in the other states
(with two exceptions).
If this happens in multiple states
may it be a candidate
got more votes in the country overall,
however, fewer electoral votes.
And only these decide
who will be US President!

In the election on November 8th
is exactly what happened:
Donald Trump won the election
although he has fewer votes than
Hillary Clinton got.
In the election of George W. Bush in 2000
has that happened before?

So Donald Trump is moving in January 2017
joins the White House as the new US President.

The election was watched with tension around the world.
What were the reasons for that?

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at their second TV debate (& copy picture-alliance / AP)
The USA is a world power.
What politics does the USA do?
what they say and do
is important for the countries of the world.
Because the US is economically and militarily strong.

Economic strength:
There are many companies in the USA
manufacture and sell the goods.
Large US companies operate all over the world.
For example Microsoft or Coca-Cola.
The US is also a big market.
There are many people and companies in the USA
who can buy something.
Also goods from companies in Germany.
Or from other countries.

The United States sell and buy a lot of goods.
If the US decide
that their buying and selling rules are changing,
other countries can become richer or poorer.
For example because they are more in the US
or sell less.

Military strength:
The US has a particularly large army.
You have about 1.4 million soldiers
and many and modern tanks, warships and planes.
There are US soldiers in many countries.
The USA therefore has more options
To send planes or soldiers there,
where there is conflict or war.

The President of the USA can determine a lot

Barack Obama, US President from 2009 - 2017 with Chancellor Angela Merkel at a press conference (& copy picture-alliance, Sven Simon)
The President of the USA can make a lot of decisions.
About what the US is saying and doing.
Therefore it is important
who becomes president.
Also for the other countries of the world.
In US politics, the President has
much to determine.
This shows a comparison between the
US President and the German Chancellor:
  • The people of the USA decide in their own election:
    Who should be the president of the USA?
    In Germany, the Bundestag elects the Chancellor.
    The parties represented in the Bundestag speak beforehand about
    who should be elected.
    The Bundestag can also vote out the Chancellor.
    And choose a new one.
    The parliaments in the USA cannot do that.

  • The US President is the Army Commander in Chief.
    He can determine where the military is deployed.
    In Germany, the Bundestag has to approve an operation.

  • When the parliaments pass a law
    the President can veto.
    Veto means: preventing or delaying a law.
    The Chancellor cannot do that.
    But this also happens a lot:
    The US President's proposals for a law
    are rejected by the parliaments.