Understanding the US Elections


Hi. Welcome back to www.engvid.com. I’m Adam. Today we’re going to talk about
“The American Election”. Now, if you live anywhere in the world, it’s
very hard to escape hearing about what’s going on in America. The elections are coming up,
everybody’s talking about it. They’re using a lot of new words, a lot of
complicated words that you might not be familiar with, so we’re going
to talk about this. I’ll explain to you a
little bit how it works. I’ll explain to you some of the words
you’re going to hear commonly. And keep in mind that although it’s a bit
more for advanced students because I have a lot to say about all this, there’s a lot
of new information here, but even if you’re a beginner, lots of new words, lots of
good words that are everyday words. If you watch CNN ever, you’re going to hear
some of these words because CNN loves to talk about the election. Okay? So let’s get into some of this,
and we’ll see where we go. First of all we’re going to
start with the two parties. Okay? So, America is essentially
a two-party system. You have the Republicans and
you have the Democrats. Now, that doesn’t mean there
aren’t other parties. In fact, there are many parties in America,
but usually they don’t get many votes, and maybe even… Not even 1% of the total vote
for all the little parties. Now, you can also have a third-party candidate,
meaning somebody who wants to run by him or herself with his
or her own money. Okay? Because the Republicans and the Democrats give
money to their candidates to run a campaign. I’m going to go over all these
words, so not to worry. So, first let’s start
with the Republicans. Okay? They’re sometimes
called the GOP. You’re going to hear this often. This is just a nickname, it
means “Grand Old Party.” I should make this a
little bit bigger. Grand Old Party. It’s just a nickname given to
them a long, long time ago. In fact, both of these parties are over 150
years old, and they have won every election since way back when. And what they do is
they often switch. Sometimes they’ll go on a streak, like the
Democrats will win a bunch of elections, the Republicans will win a
bunch of elections. Sometimes they’ll switch back
and forth every election. It depends on the season, depends
on the mindset of Americans. Okay? So here we have the
two Democrats. Now, the campaign, the… The attempt to run for office… Okay? So, “running for office” means
trying to become president. So what happens is they
start their campaign. A “campaign” is an organized
effort to reach a goal. Okay? You have an advertisement campaign,
you have a sales campaign. It’s basically something organized with
a target to reach by the end of it. In this case, the target is the
presidency of the United States. So, this campaign usually starts well
over a year before the actual election. Before they can vote for a president,
each party must present a candidate. A “candidate” is the person that the American
people will vote for in November, Democrat or Republican. But before you have a candidate for
each party, each party has nominees. A “nominee” is the potential candidate, people
who are chosen to try to become the candidate. You could have three,
four, five, 15. It doesn’t matter. Whoever wants to try to
be president can try. Now, what they do, all these nominees, they go all
over the country and they try to win delegates. I’ll explain “delegates”
in a second. So what they’re trying to do is become the
candidate for their party, they go around, they have a campaign, they give speeches,
they put TV and radio advertisements, they do all kinds of things so the
people will vote for them. Okay? Now, what they do is they go to each state
and they have a primary or a caucus. Basically, this is like an
election, but it’s state by state. Each state votes for the nominees
of their choice for each party. So in one state the primary for Republicans
will be voted on only by Republicans, people who have joined the party, people
who have registered as Republicans. The other side is Democrats. Now, a “caucus” is a
little bit more confusing. A “primary” is just a straight vote:
“Here’s who I want”, check, vote, and the winner is the winner. “Caucus” is a little
bit confusing. Even Americans don’t really know what a caucus
is except in the states where they have a caucus, but basically a caucus
is more like a discussion. You don’t have a checkbox necessarily, you discuss
and you say who you want to be your candidate. But essentially,
it’s the same idea. Each state votes for the nominee of their choice,
and then the winner of this vote gets delegates. A “delegate” is a representative of that state,
and that delegate or delegates, depending… Each state has different numbers of delegates,
they will go to the convention in July for each party. So the Democratic convention
and the Republican convention. A “convention” is basically
a very big meeting. Another word for it
is “conference”. So it’s a huge meeting, and all the delegates
from all the states, all the representatives come to the convention and vote for the nominee
who got the most votes in the primaries. Okay? Now, once you have a winning
nominee, like you have a… Let’s say you had your 10 nominees and then
after the primaries, one person got enough votes. So there are a total number of delegates,
whoever has more than half of those delegates that they won in the primary
becomes the party’s candidate. And the candidates
then run for office. Then they… The candidates fight each other, and in November,
all the American people can choose one candidate to be president. Now, what happens is that they all
want to take out the incumbent. Now, “incumbent”
means in office now. It doesn’t have to
be the president. It could be anything, in any position of authority,
the person who has that position now is called the incumbent. So, the incumbent president of
America right now is Barack Obama. In January, there will be
a new president sworn in. That’s actually a good word. “Sworn in” means
become official. Put your hand on the Bible… I guess you would
raise your left hand. Or no, left hand on the Bible, right hand up: “I
swear to be the best president I can possibly be.” Now, the incumbent can serve a term of four
years, and then there’s another election. A president can only serve two terms, eight
years, and then he, in the future, possibly she, will have to move and let
the new president take over. So where are we? So right now we have candidates. We have the Republican candidate,
we have the Democratic candidate. And then after the primaries where they fight
the other nominees, they start fighting each other and they have a
presidential campaign. Now, you can have a negative campaign,
you can have a positive campaign. A “negative campaign” is when you’re
attacking the other candidate. A “positive campaign” is when you’re just
talking about what you’re going to do. What are you going to
do for this country? What is your platform? So your “platform”, basically is your
beliefs on how to run the country. What are you going to
do for the economy? What are you going to
do for foreign policy? What are you going
to do for security? All these things that you have in mind, all
these promises you’re going to make create your platform. So a positive campaign focuses on the platform, a
negative campaign attacks the other candidate. So some… Some candidates don’t try to
win because they’re good. They try to win by making the
other candidate look bad. That’s one way to do it. Now, the delegates. So, the delegates, they
represent each state. Now, there is something
called super delegates. “Super delegates” are basically representatives
of the party who can choose for any nominee that they want. Okay? So sometimes they help, sometimes
it doesn’t make a difference. Next, after the convention the campaign
begins and now you’re going to hear rhetoric. “Rhetoric” is technically
the art of persuasion. Okay? So, rhetoric is how you speak, how you try to
convince people to believe what you are saying. So, some candidates are very good with their
rhetoric, some are not; but some have good background, good
experience, some do not. Sometimes you only need to be a
good speaker to become president. You don’t have to be very smart, you
don’t have to be very qualified. You just need to have good rhetoric, you need
to know how to speak to the people and convince them to vote for you. Now, part of rhetoric
is called spin. So, “spin”, so every… Nobody’s perfect, let’s admit, there’s no
perfect candidate, no perfect human being, so sometimes some… The negative attack, the negative campaign
will say something bad about a candidate. A smart candidate or a very powerful candidate
will spin that story, they will take a bad story, spin it, and
make it look good. And the people, the professionals who know
how to do this are called “spin doctors”. So, every candidate has a bunch of people
working with him or her that know how to take every bad attack, spin it, and make it look
like a good thing about their candidate. Okay? It’s all part of rhetoric. Next, you’re going to hear a lot about
polls, p-o-l-l, pronounced: “pole”. A “poll” is basically,
like, a survey. It’s a collection of opinions. It can be a noun or a verb. “A poll” means the number or the
survey itself and what’s… This guy got 54%, this
guy got 46%, whatever. “To poll” means to actually
ask people what they think. “Who are you going to vote for?” Okay, 30% said this, 20%
said that, 50% said that. So there’s… Every day there’s a new poll. For some people polls are very important,
for some people they mean nothing because on the Election Day the polls… The only poll that matters is
the one at the ballot box. That’s the day that the
voters cast a ballot. “Cast a ballot” means vote. Go into the room,
check, box, done. You cast your ballot. You voted. Okay? But there are always
swing voters. “Swing”, you know like when you were a little
child, you sat down on a tree, and you go back and forth, and
back and forth. So swing voters. “Swing voters” are the people
who the polls don’t apply to. These are the people who
decide at the ballot box. Before… One week before they didn’t know who they’re
going to vote for, one day before maybe they didn’t know who they
were going to vote for. So they go in, that
day they decide. So the polls or the “pollsters”, the people
who conduct polls, they have no idea what these people think. And these people have a huge
influence on who becomes president. Okay? Because you don’t know what they’re going to
do, so the campaigns, they can’t even target advertising towards them, they can’t use rhetoric
because they don’t know what these people think. They’re not part of the polls. And then you watch CNN, ABC, NBC, you watch
all the news channels and every day, all day you hear the pundits. “Pundits” are experts in one… In whatever field they work for. So they come on TV, they say: “Oh,
I think this is going to happen. Oh, I think this is
good, this is bad. Why, why not”, etc. So, pundits are experts who are asked for
and who give their opinion, usually on TV, radio, etc. Then there’s always
the lobby groups. Lobby groups or
sometimes lobbyists. A “lobby group” is an organized group of people,
sometimes it’s a company, a whole company who try to influence
other people. So, a lot of these lobbies, they try
to give money to the candidates. They are donors. A “donor” is a person who
gives money for the campaign. And these lobbyists try
to influence politics. They go to the candidate and they say: “Okay,
if you vote for this bill, I will help you with that bill or I will give you
money, or I will do something for you.” There’s a lot of politics
involved in politics as it were. Next, now we come
to Election Day. Now, how does…? How do the elections
work in America? There’s something called an Electoral
College, as opposed to the popular vote. So, the “popular vote” means the most number,
the greatest number of people who vote for one candidate or the other. But to try to be fair, to try to be democratic,
the American system uses the Electoral College. Now, the “Electoral College” is a group of
people, I think there’s 538 people who basically represent the nation. Okay? So every state gets a certain number of these
electors, the people in that group of 538. Every state based on population size, based
on a few other things has a certain number of electors. So, a president or a candidate I should say
needs to win the most number of electors. I think 270. 270 electors, they have to win that many
number of electors to become the president. So, it is actually possible to lose the popular vote
and win the Electoral College, and become president. In fact, Bush, President Bush, the second
Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore, but still became president because
of the Electoral College. It’s meant to be fair. So, for example, California which has the
biggest population in the States has an equal share… Sorry. Has an equal share relative to, like,
Idaho, which has very few people in it. Okay, so that’s how it works. So then on Election Day, November something,
something, the American people go to vote. The Electoral College has a certain number of people,
they get all those people, they’re president. Come January they are sworn in and we have a
new president or America has a new president, which affects everybody, but
that’s another story altogether. So, one thing I want to say before
I finish off here, this is… This lesson was just meant to give you an
idea of what’s going on in America and how the election works. It is not necessarily an invitation
to have a political discussion. You can have those with
your friends and family. Everybody has their opinion, everybody’s entitled
to their opinion, but keep it to yourself, keep it with your… Within your group of
friends and family. Let’s not get too
serious about it. Unless you live in America, it doesn’t
necessarily affect you all that much. So I hope I’ve been
very helpful here. I hope that you like this lesson and that
you will subscribe to my YouTube channel. If you have any questions about
this, please go to www.engvid.com. There’s a forum there, you can ask all the questions
you have, I will be happy to answer them. There’s also a quiz to make sure you
understand the English of the system. And yeah, if you have anything else, let me
know and I’ll be happy to help you with that. I’ll see you again soon.
Bye-bye.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Good Lord, don't watch CNN. They are not a news outlet, they're a propaganda arm of the Democrat National Committee. Anyone with a brain calls them the Communist News Network. All propaganda, all the time. They are not objective and you will not learn anything, especially the truth.

  2. Adam! Can you please upload the full transcript for this video? Because, the transcript above is just for first 4.27 minutes. I need the full transcript, so I can learn the way native speaker talk or speak in real case. Thanks so much ))))

  3. Adam, Great! i Love you Opinion your Way of delivering lessons, i love you soo much. Thanks for all that videos. love From PAKISTAN

  4. I live in Asia and the US Election taught me what is a wall, email, a small loan of a million dollars, bengazi and rigging.

  5. Thank you very much. I just wanna clarify the electoral college issue. What I understand is that every state equals a certain number of electoral college or votes, depending on its population, so for example if Texas voted for certain candidate. This candidate will gain the 38 electoral votes of Texas. The forefathers were very wise to place this system, so tiny state like Maine of only 4 electoral votes will have a say in the election day. Not to deny any state from having a say in the election day.

  6. Vero good explanaion. I don't know if you already did explain the technique of the electoral college in an other video. I know the theory but i haven't quite grasped the Hands on workings. When the electoral colleges meet on 12-19-16 at the state capitals are they a mix of Rep. and dem Who vouchsafed for 'only' one regardless of party affiliatio ? ( i cannot explain my thought clearly at this point) Please explain ' winner takes all' Who are These 'all' Rep and dem electors toghether? Thank you.

  7. I did not think GOP would be that old(???), It looksmuch more like somoenes cheating.Of course chetaing s very easyon meas Im dumb ,I cant even digets my own gramma.Republican is Republican,it should not be called other names

  8. Hi Adam, This is Koya Mohd from India. I've watched almost all of your videos. 'Understanding the 2016 US Elections" was very useful. Can I talk to you sometime over Skype, if you don't mind? From the point of view of an Indian, I have some suggestions on your grammar and writing lessons.

  9. Hi Adam! I'm thinking of travelling to Canada. I would like to take classes with you to improve my speaking skills, and also to improve the "use of english" part of the exam. I'm gonna to take the CPE next June. Is it possible? Where citi do you live?

    Thanks,
    Florencia.

  10. I am a Taiwanese English teacher.
    (我是一個台灣的英文老師)

    The reason why my English is so good in comparsion with most of my fellow Taiwanese is that I have been constantly learning and practicing English.
    (我英文能力之所以比其他台灣大多數同胞來得強是因為我不間斷地學習與練習英文)

    Hopefully the average Emglish ability level for Taiwanese can improve a lot in the very near future.
    (希望台灣的平均英語實力能在不久的將來大大地進步)

    I have finished watching this video completely.
    (我已經完整地看完了這個影片)

    This video is awesome!!!!
    (這個影片棒呆了!!!)

    It is bloody useful!!
    (真是夭壽實用!!!)

    Big thanks to the teacher and all the fellow students around the world.
    (大大地感謝老師與所有其他國籍的學生)

  11. Technically in the primaries many candidates are running to become the nominee. You said many nominees are trying to become the candidate.

    Of course the nominees are still called candidates but there's only one nominee and that is the winner of the primary

  12. Hi adam I always watch yours lessons, they are wonderfuls.. people I'm Gildeon from Brazil if anybody wants talk with me on skype program contact me.here my skype = deon silva thanks..

  13. very clear informative and useful information! The only point I still do not understand is once each state elected its slate of delegates, how it works after that? I am still so confused about that and how the electoral college and the popular vote can differ in their results.

  14. Adam please explain in detail DNC primaries were okay or what what happenned to Bernie Sanders the plot against him like schedule debates passing questions to one of the candidates poor publicity by the Corporate Media bias

  15. I have a few questions and I hope you can answer them or help me find the answers to my questions. Using Trump and Clinton to make it easier to understand my questions. What would happen if the American Citizens Voters realized that Trump and Clinton (remember I am only using them as an example) that neither one would be able to do the job of a President right before we are to cast our vote? Could the American People still have a say or do we have to vote for who is listed on the docket and if that is the case then what would happen no one showed up to vote?

  16. Thank you a bunch for help with understanding a bit of the system and a lot with english words and meanings! We need more English teachers like you in HUngary 🙂 Cheers

  17. Thanks a lot for the great explanation Adam. Honestly you are an amazing person and a Successful Teacher. I enjoyed watching you every time ⌚. I have a small note. Why don't you use Technology to make your lessons easier and clearer. There is a problem with the handwriting on the board and the video quality itself. Best of regards.

  18. Nice work Teacher Adam!! You've gave us very hot updating lesson, that people like me should know about.. Thanks again for enlightening us whether it's about English, life or anything that might help us.. Thanks a lot!!

  19. I have a few things to add. 1) Gerrymandering-n the process of setting electoral districts, gerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries to create partisan-advantaged districts. The resulting district apportionment is known as a gerrymander; however, that word can also refer to the process. Basically, this is what the GOP /Republican party does to disenfranchise voters…..particularly voters of color

  20. 2) Voter Suppression= This is the next tactic that the Republican Party uses to slim margins, and erase the votes of independents or democrats. This systemic practice of fear mongering, inconclusive voter ID laws, poorly maintained polling places, and "throwing out absentee ballots…." is another way the GOP will 'FIX" elections, rigging them toward Republican votes

  21. 3) Russian interference = In 2016, Russia hacked into the DNC, RNC, Social media, and polling stations, to generate votes in favor of Donald Trump. This act was a direct command from Vladimir Putin….a close associate of Trump, whom had special interests in the 2016 election.

  22. 4) The primaries you speak of, are often 'rigged" by "super delegates…" example. Hillary had 1000 more superdelegates than Bernie Sanders, disenfranchising attempts for Mr. Sanders to compete effectively

  23. 5) We continue to see the resurgence of " Jim Crow Laws" , and voter tampering….as we have seen in the 2018 midterm elections. Florida and Georgia were perfect examples of that, where the candidates for Governor either counted" their own votes…and won, " or sought out "financial incentives from the President"…to be declared winner! Thank you adam:)

  24. Republicans(conservative) Social control and free market
    Democrats: Economic control, like the keynesianism
    Fascist: Social and indirect economic control
    Socialism: Social and direct economic control, even the private property of productive's way turn out
    Libertarianism: Any kind of control by state, individual is the most important. It lead the anarcho-capitalist, like me. That's the far-right.

    Hence, republicans and democrats think that the state (that only exist because take the property of the others, it calls tax and is theft) can control the others people's life, in a social intervention or economic, respectively.

    In those line, that horizontal talks about economic and vertical about social intervention by state, being right more freedom, it's like a:

    Socialism Fascist Conservative

    Keynesianism (democrats) Libertarianism

  25. Adam: CNN loves to talk about elections. 🤣. I think all media loves to talk elections. Elections for media is a juicy news. 🤣

  26. Hi Adam: Can you discuss the difference between Democratic and a Republican? I think both are almost the same but I want an elaboration on these two.

  27. Today's theme might be that how can we escape (from topics) that provided by US politics and blah blah..
    Seriously interesting it was..so..Thanks for all lessons by Adam.

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