Wednesday, 7 November 2012


What a Presidential race and ...Bravo - what physical stamina. Both candidates admirably worked ceaselessly round the clock, right up to the wire.
Congratulations to President Barak Obama, Democrat, who wins a second term of four years, with so far 62,088,207 (51%) of citizens’ votes, compared to 58,783, 137 (48%) who voted for Ex-Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, Republican. This “popular vote” count will change a little as late results come in – but not by much. There are 236 million eligible voters, 121 million (51%) voted; 51% of those for Obama - so he has a mandate from 26% of American voters.
The President is in law elected by The Electoral College, a group of 538 posts (calculated as 435 Representatives and 100 Senators plus 3 others) allocated unevenly across the 50 States. It is these collegiate “electors” that candidates gain in batches by winning each State’s popular vote; win the popular vote and all (e.g. say 8 electors) of that State’s electors are yours. From last night, the results counted so far are Obama 303 electors and Romney 206 electors; at which point Romney accepted defeat. Thereafter, the “electors” have no political role.
So, does Obama, President of the United States of America “The most powerful man in the World” now have unlimited power to dictate what happens next? No – “…it is not quite that simple, Mr President”.
The POTUS (President of the United States) is Chief Executive of America, he leads the Armed Forces, appoints top Judges, can Pardon criminals, install interns under his desk and appoint American foreign ambassadors in embassies around the world. He lives and works at The White House in Washington DC (Washington District of Columbia is NOT a State, so it does not have a Governor etc); and he has about 2,000 White House staff to help him.  
The President’s greatest power and duty is to sign new legislation - and he has the right to Propose and Veto legislation. In extreme circumstances, in theory, he can suspend government for a period. However, he does not have unlimited time or power to start, delay or stop the government functioning.
Presidential power is curbed by two democratic bodies, The Senate and The House of Representatives which together make up The Congress - hence "Congressional". They equate to the upper and lower houses found in many democracies such as in Britain, which has the House of Lords (Senate) and The House of Commons (Representatives). The Senate has 100 Senators, two from each of the 50 States, and is charged with debating and careful oversight of laws which emerge from the 435 member House of Representatives. The number of Representatives is based on population census.
Changes in law have to be approved by both Houses, Congress, and then be signed by the President.  HERE BE GRIDLOCK.
Example - The President and his 2,000 stalwarts at The White House want to keep Obama’s electioneering promises to the American people – so they frame legislation, say, the Democrats’ social health programme Obamacare; which is put to the House of Representatives, which is dominated by 240 Republicans to 190 Democrats, with a few rugged independents. The majority 240 Republicans block the proposal; The White House negotiates with them and change it. It is very much changed over many months, but is eventually drafted and approved by The House of Representatives; who send it on to the upper house, The Senate; which has 51 Democrat, 47 Republican and 2 Independent Senators. After more debate and changes, the legislation is approved – and the Bill is sent to The President for signature. President Obama signs it and it becomes Federal Law.
Praise the Lord and Halleluiah!
BUT – Each of the 50 States has a Governor, such as Former Governor Romney of Massachusetts, any one of whom might not agree with the new law.  There are 29 Republicans, 20 Democrats, 1 Independent and externally 6 Governors of United States Territories.
Governors have the power to apply Federal Laws or not in their own State as they think fit. If it becomes a major row between The President and a Governor, it will eventually be tried in The Supreme Court – whose Judges are appointed by The President – but are usually slowly replaced over years and so the incumbents might not be sympathetic to The White House.
So, The President has to play politics at all times with the two Houses, the Governors and the Supreme Court. And we haven’t even started to look at the awfully powerful lobbies from The Banking Industry, The Defence-Industrial Complex, The Health Industry, The Automobile Industry, The Energy Industries, etc, etc, etc.
It is little wonder that several experienced political commentators, looking at Barak Obama’s body language, asked during the past year “Does Obama really want another term in office?” The President's salary is $400,000 a year, plus Luncheon Vouchers and Bodyguards.
There are elections all the time and so the numbers change. But this is how I think it works. I am a foreigner to the US - all corrections gratefully received.
Here, for no charge, is how President Obama can fix the World:

Wikipedia - 2012 Election - Results:
Home state
Running mate
Electoral vote
States carried
26 + DC
Popular vote

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