Background Information about U.S. Election – Part II


This article is written by Molly Heidemann, Associate Director of International Student and Scholars. 


If you did not have chance to read the first part, we urge you to read it.

5. Is it kind of by default that the two parties take turns to lead the country?

Well, yes, sort of. There is no rule that says a certain party can only rule for specific number of years. But since the US is relatively split between the two parties, usually after one party has been in power for a while, public opinion will start to shift back to the other party. In general, we’re never completely satisfied with our government or the policies they put in place, so we tend to blame whichever party is power for everything that is going wrong. This isn’t necessarily fair or logical, but it means that power tends to shift back and forth between the two parties. During the past century, the longest stretch that one party held power was 20 years (Democrats, 1933-1953). The only time since then that one party held power for more than 8 years was 1981-1993 (two terms for Reagan, followed by one term for Bush).

6. What do you think of the general campaign being so costly – would it be worthwhile to put the money which is used for campaign in other areas?

It appears from my research that between 2 to 2.5 billion dollars has been spent on the 2016 US presidential election (and other 4 billion on congressional races). However, it’s important to note where the money comes from. About a third or so comes from fundraising (people donating money to the campaigns), anywhere from one to two thirds from the candidate’s party itself, and then maybe 10% from super PACs (political action committees). To the best of my understanding, the government doesn’t use taxpayer money to fund elections. In other words, while it’s a lot of money (a sickeningly large amount of money, in fact), it’s not necessarily money that would be put toward some other good cause if it weren’t used on the election. Of course I wish that elections didn’t cost so much – it seems outrageous – and that people would use the money for better causes, but it’s not that simple。

7. What kind of policies will Hillary and Trump have for international students who want to find a job in the U.S or gain a Green Card?

It appears that Hillary has not said much about H-1Bs, which may imply that she wouldn’t make any big changes to the program. However, she apparently made a statement that she would like to “staple” green cards to the diplomas of foreign nationals who complete degrees in STEM fields (in other words, automatically grant permanent residency). I’m sure it wouldn’t be that simple is reality, but she seems to support a pathway to permanent residency for those in STEM fields.

Trump, on the other hand, has said that he wants to increase wages for H-1B recipients. This might sound like a good thing, but what it means that that companies would be incentivized to hire Americans over foreign nationals because they would have to pay the foreign nationals more. He has apparently also talked about requiring companies to seek American workers before recruiting foreign workers. Another article stated that he “has called for an indefinite ‘pause’ on issuing new green cards for workers, in which businesses would have to prove they were unable to fill jobs with American employees.”

8. If Trump fails in this election, what kind of influence will this have on his business and daily life?

Your guess is as good as mine, my friends. Seriously, who knows? Personally, I would like to see him fade into oblivion, but that is probably wishful thinking. It seems that the campaign would have a negative effect on his reputation (assuming he loses), but perhaps he will attempt to use his increased fame, whether positive or negative, to launch some sort of new reality TV show or to fundraise for future candidates. My guess is that we’ll hear his name for a while. I just hope I don’t have to see his face or hear his voice every time I turn on the news. That would at least be a nice start.

Come to our workshop this evening to learn a lot more about the election! Hope to see you there!

Resources and further reading: