People, politics, USA

10 Terms to help you Understand The US Elections!

There’s a lot of talk over the US elections which are less than a month away, this article will give you a list of terms that will help you navigate the Election Season! 

<<Democrats and Republicans>>

Democrats are the center-left political party and their symbol is a Donkey. They stand for socially liberal positions. Famous politicians who were Democrats include John F Kennedy, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Joe Biden, who is their nominee this year. 

Republicans are the center-right political party and they are normally termed as the GOP. The Elephant serves as their symbol and they  generally take  conservative positions. Famous politicians from this party include Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, John McCain and Donald Trump, who is the current President. 

The US is more or less a 2 party system. Although many other smaller parties exist, they only play a very nominal role in the National Level.


‘Ticket’ refers to the official Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees of a party. Voters chose between the ‘tickets’ of various parties. The Democratic ticket includes Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and the Republican ticket includes Donald Trump and Mike Pence. 

<<Running Mate >>

The Vice Presidential Nominee is called the Running Mate. Normally candidates would pick a Running Mate who would offer geographical or demographic diversity to the ticket, in order to win a larger mandate. Famous Running Mates include Sarah Palin (2008) Paul Ryan (2012)  Al Gore (1992 & 1996) Joe Biden (2008 and 2012) Joe Lieberman (2000). 

 <<Swing States>>

States where both Republicans and Democrats have an equal chance of winning. States like Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin are considered swing states. Blue states are states where Democrats have a high chance of winning and Red states are states where Republicans have a high chance of winning. 

<<Early Voting>>

Voting before the actual voting day either via mail or in person 

<<Down Ballot races>>

Electoral contests apart from the Presidential Election. Elections to the Senate, House of Representatives, State Houses and Governorships are counted as Down Ballot races. 

<<Popular Vote>>

The Candidate who wins the maximum number of votes. 

<<Electoral College>>

Each State is given a certain number of Electoral College votes in the Electoral College , a candidate needs 270 Electoral College votes in order to win the Presidency. For example California has 55 electoral college votes. The votes are given based on the number of seats the state has in the House of Representatives + The Senate. 

So for California it is 55 because they have 2 Senate seats + 53 seats in the House of Representatives. A candidate can win a maximum of 538 Electoral Votes. 

<<President Elect>>

The Candidate who wins the election and is not the sitting President would be called as  the President Elect until the swearing in ceremony happens in January. 


A formal ceremony held in January where the candidate who has won the election takes the oath of office. 

When is the Election? – November 3rd 2020- Tuesday




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