Electing the President

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The United States Constitution specifies that a presidential election is to be held every four years. The Constitution also sets forth the requirements for the presidency of the United States: the candidate must be at least 35 years old, a natural born citizen of the U.S. and a resident for 14 years. Additionally, the 22nd amendment to the Constitution limits the number of full four years terms one person can serve to 2. Being elected to the presidency encompasses far more than just meeting the Constitutional requirements. Political parties, the media and the presidential campaigning process play huge roles in determining who gets the votes on Election Day. Political parties are broadly based coalitions that seek to gain control of the government by winning elections in order to exercise power and reward its members. They recruit candidates for office and offer a choice of rival candidates and programs. Through these efforts, they staff the government and help run it, and manage the transfer of power. Political parties actively participate in the campaign process, the national conventions and in determining the party's platform (a declaration of principles and policies adopted by the party). In order to represent a political party, a candidate must be nominated by that party. The process of being elected President begins long before Election Day. Candidates from the political parties and independent candidates begin to campaign and raise money at least two years in advance of the general presidential election. Money comes from a variety of sources including political action committees; direct solicitations and special events such as $100- or $1000-plate dinners; and contributions from individuals, labor unions and corporations. The nominating process officially begins with state primaries and caucuses, which usually occur in the Spring of the election year. At these local events voters have the first chance to participate in electing the nation's next President....
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