The Run For the Presidency
As happens all over the world, Brazilian media are fascinated but bemused by the long, drawn out, bewildering series of hurdles candidates must negotiate to reach the White House. With the primary season in full swing, the Public Affairs section in Sao Paulo invited journalists to the first of a series of conversations and seminars to shed light on America’s participatory democracy in action. On February 14, Public Affairs Officer TJ Dowling, backed by a PowerPoint presentation developed at post, gave a brief talk to 30 journalists from 21 print, electronic and online media on the history and mechanics of U.S. elections. TJ noted that America is a federal republic which, in its Constitution and political practices, balances the rights of the states against the power of the federal government. Hence, elections -- primary, presidential and congressional -- are organized within the states, creating 50 state elections rather than one national election, and mirror the mandates of the Electoral College, which are at odds with direct popular voting for the presidency. In giving an overview of the democratic process from caucuses and primaries to conventions to voter issues to the balloting on November 6, TJ cited numerous historical and practical aspects of the run for the White House, stressing the decentralization and thereby democratization of the process.
The was the first in a series of American speakers post will host this year to explain topics associated with the elections : Issues of interest to the voters; campaign finance; the role of the media; and the evolving state of play as the Republican candidates vie to run against incumbent President Obama. Future programs will be accessible via the internet. Stay tuned for announcements on our website.