Studying the institutions of the American government is minimal in high school generally focusing on American History and constitutionalism rather than the system at large. Because of this, few high school graduates retain what little information is taught to them. Even fewer individuals over the age of 25 (33.4%) seek higher education and choose to enroll in introductory political science courses that primarily focus on the basics of our nation's political system. Often, those who do enroll in such courses are taught by professors who negligently assume their students possess a fundamental knowledge of the system rather than a mere interest in the subject with the intentions of fulfilling a general education requirement. With this, it comes as no surprise that nearly 46.9% of citizens over the age of eighteen failed to participate in the 2016 election. That is a total of approximately 116,994,132 people out of a population of 249,454,440 adults. This is not to assume that 2016's voter turnout was solely dependent on political understanding. However, this is one of the most influential factors contributing to a significant lack of eligible voters. To those wishing to end their political confusion or quench their thirst for additional basic political knowledge, you may begin here.
Many tend to view the Electoral College with unease as they question it's central purpose. It was originally ordained in 1787 to act as a bridge between a congressional vote and the national popular vote for presidential elections. A committee of 583 electors foregather every four years in anticipation of an upcoming election in order to nominate favorable candidates who are fit to serve in office. Each state is granted electors equal to the sum of its Congressional delegation. In other words, for every Senator a state has, two electors are issued while only one elector is given for each member of their House of Representatives.
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A total of 270 electoral votes are needed to elect a presidential candidate. Citizens aid in validating their state's electors by voting in an election. With the exception of Maine and Nebraska, all states act to grant their electoral votes in its entirety to the candidate who won the popular vote of the people. In contrast, Maine and Nebraska have adopted a system of proportional representation. In utilizing the Electoral College, states with lower populations are better balanced amongst those with the highest number of eligible voters. However, it's greatest shortcoming is represented in times when the electoral vote outweighs the popular vote.
The Democratic Party, commonly referred to as the left wing or liberal party, makes up approximately 31% of the national population.
The Republican Party, widely known as the right wring or conservative party, consists of roughly 24% of the national population.
Independent & Other Parties
Independents and those identifying with other parties including: Libertarian, Green, Constitution, and Communist are comprised of relatively 42% of the national population. Those in these parties may agree on issues supported by either the Democrat Party of the Republican Party while some identify themselves with the right left or right. The majority of members within these parties aim to prevent political polarization through limited political ideology thus exclusively voting for candidates based on where they stand on national issues.