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Barbara Giudice(Photo: Tony Cross/RFI)
The United States presidential campaign is in full swing. But  foreign observers may have difficulty following all the twists and turns of the campaign. What are the rules of the game leading to the nomination? How do the primaries and caucuses work? Who are the superdelegates?  What happens at the party conventions? Why don't Americans elect their president in a direct vote? How does the Electoral College decide who will be the one who takes the oath of office at the White House in January? In US elections 2008 Barbara Giudice explains.

US elections 2008

The White House (Photo: Wikimedia)

The whole world is watching - but do they understand?

The US presidential campaign has generated interest and passion throughout the world. If you don’t understand that United States politics functions in a federal system, with often competing interests from the individual states and central government, you will not understand American politics.

2008-06-16 14:43 TU

US elections 2008

Supporters following Super Tuesday primaries(Photo: Reuters)

Primaries and caucuses

The political parties in the United States go through a complicated process to choose their presidential candidates. What is a primary? What is a caucus? What is an open vote; a closed vote?

2008-06-16 14:44 TU

US elections 2008

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.(Photo: Reuters)

Democratic Party nomination - how does it work?

After a long and dramatic primary and caucus season, Barack Obama has obtained enough delegates and superdelegates to win the Democratic Party nomination at the convention in Denver, Colorado, in August.  How does the Democratic Party nomination process work? 

2008-06-13 14:09 TU

US elections 2008

Obama supporters at a Chicago rally(Photo: Reuters)

What is a superdelegate?

The primaries and caucuses do not always lead to a clear-cut win by either candidate in the Democratic race for the nomination. The superdelegates' vote then becomes decisive. In this race they have been solicited by both sides, hoping to shore up the nomination before the convention in August.

2008-06-16 15:04 TU

US elections 2008

US Constitution (Photo: archives)

What is the Electoral College?

Even after the last vote is counted in the US presidential election on 4 November, the process will continue until the Electoral College makes its decision. What is the Electoral College? Why did the writers of the US Constitution think it necessary? Why hasn't the constitution been revised so that Americans can elect their president directly?

2008-06-16 15:11 TU

US elections 2008

Why did the framers of the constitution opt for electors?

The constitution is the product of a compromise between those who wanted a centralised government and those who wanted more independence for individual states.

2008-06-16 15:22 TU

US elections 2008

How does the Electoral College affect political strategy today?

Presidential candidates have to take the Electoral College into consideration when mapping out campaign strategy.

2008-08-26 08:11 TU