There are two main political parties in the United States: the Republicans and the Democrats.
Right now, the Republicans have to choose someone to run for president against Democrat Barack Obama, in time for the presidential election on Nov. 6.
To pick a Republican candidate, every state in the U.S. holds an early election called a primary.
The front-runner in the Republican race is Mitt Romney, who was the Governor of Massachusetts and is now in business.
He won the first two primaries – in Iowa and New Hampshire.* (See update, below)
The South Carolina primary is next; it may be more difficult for Romney to win. People in South Carolina tend to have very traditional views on religion, crime, and schooling. Some people think Romney is too soft on these kinds of issues to appeal to the people there.
How people are elected
In a U.S. election, people vote directly for the president. They vote separately for members of the Senate and the House of Representatives. These two parts make up the Congress. If President Barack Obama wants to pass a law, he has to get both parts to agree with him.
In Canada, the government also has two parts; the Senate which is appointed by the Governor General and the House of Commons, made up of people who have been voted in.
But in Canada, people don’t vote directly for the prime minister. They vote for one person in the area they live in. These people represent a political party and the party with the most votes wins. The leader of that party becomes prime minister.
Update (Jan. 23, 2012): When we published this article on Jan. 18, the votes showed Mitt Romney as the winner of the primary in Iowa. However, there was a subsequent recount of the ballots and Rick Santorum was declared the winner by 34 votes.
By Kathleen Tilly
What do you think it means to have “traditional views on religion, crime, and schooling?” Can you think of any examples of traditional/non-traditional ideas related to religion, crime and schooling?
Read the article carefully and use a T-Chart to identify the similarities and differences between the American and Canadian political structures.
Make judgements and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their view (OME, Reading: 1.8).
Evaluate the effectiveness of both simple and complex texts based on evidence from the texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).
Grammar Feature: Common and Proper Nouns
Nouns are people, places and things. Some examples of nouns are: cat, boy, Mike, glue, home, Sanjay and Washington. Notice that some of these nouns are capitalized and some aren’t. The nouns that aren’t capitalized are called “common nouns,” and the nouns that are capitalized are called “proper nouns.” Common nouns don’t refer to specific people, places or things, but proper nouns do.
Find all of the nouns in the article and identify whether they are common or proper nouns.
Challenge: In the following paragraph, the noun ‘president’ is written once with a capital and once without. Can you explain why is this the case?
“In a U.S. election, people vote directly for the president. They vote separately for members of the Senate and the House of Representatives. These two parts make up the Congress. If President Barack Obama wants to pass a law, he has to get both parts to agree with him.”
Note: This grammar feature (and the accompanying entry in the article itself) have been changed to fix – and clarify – the capitalization of president.