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The US Presidential Election '24

Linguapress Advanced English

American society

The 2024 American Presidential Election will be like none before.

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Changing times - This article will be updated in the event of any major change during the runup to November's election.

Biden    The United States Presidential Election is an event that takes place every four years, and each time it happens, it dominates the media not just in the USA but worldwide. In 2024, the Presidential Election – predicted to be a re-run of the 2020 contest that pitted Donald Trump, the outgoing president, against Joe Biden, formerly vice president under Barack Obama – is liable to attract even more worldwide attention than usual.... And it is not just because the choice is between the two oldest candidates ever, one of whom faces charges in a criminal court.

    Until the end of the twentieth century, American Presidential Elections tended to oppose two men representing two parties with platforms that were not terribly different. Even so, they attracted interest worldwide, for the main reason that the US President was seen to be the most powerful man in the world – which in many respects he was and still is.

   Trump American Presidential Elections were predictable, and seen as model examples of democracy in action. Americans do not vote directly for a president, but for electors who will choose the president; but even if the process of choosing an American President is not "direct democracy", it is a clearly defined democratic process about which, until the start of the twenty-first century, there was little argument. 

Every four years, a Presidential Election would oppose two main candidates, one a Republican  and the other a Democrat, plus a few outsiders who rarely achieved any significant result, and never got elected.

The Republican Party was seen more as the party of big business, and as more socially conservative. The Republicans have long had a reputation for being strong on national defense and the aggressive pursuit of U.S. interests, yet significantly it was Democratic Presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, not Republicans, who took the USA into its most important conflicts in recent times, the Second World War and the Vietnam War.

As for the Democrats, they are seen as being a more socially tolerant party, with a more progressive liberal ideology; they are also seen as the party that believes more strongly in the role of the federal government in managing economic and social issues. Democrats have typically favored policies such as social welfare programs, environmental protection, and civil rights protections.

Yet for many years there was no massive ideological difference between the two. Both parties stood for accepted "American values", including hard work, traditional moralities, and the belief that the USA was a country in which anyone should be able to succeed.  Both believed in capitalism, and still do. Yet within each party, different people would attach different meanings to those values, to the extent that for many American voters, it was not always easy to  establish a clear distinction between the Democrats and the Republicans. It is still not always clear, given that there are plenty of conservative-minded Democratic representatives, notably in the central part of the USA, and there are also some quite socially liberal moderate Republicans.

It was in 2016 that divisions between the two main parties became more visible. The eruption into center stage of the Republican Party of a former businessman turned reality TV presenter, called Donald Trump, set the cat among the pigeons. Trump's neo-conservative brand of personality politics caused havoc in the party, led to the resignation of many of the party's more  moderate members, and defined the nature of Republicanism for the coming years. Trump's populism and personality appalled many in the Republican party, but it appealed to lots of voters, specially in predominantly white rural areas. And the rest, as they say, is history. In spite of calling for his Democratic rival in the 2016 elections, Hillary Clinton, to be locked up – the kind of personal attack that presidential candidates would never have used in the past – Trump won. It is worth noting that he won thanks to the electoral college system, despite losing by over 2% in the popular vote.

During his term in office, Trump showed himself to be dogmatic, erratic, but determined. He prided himself on a tough stance on immigration, both legal and illegal, on rolling back environmental legislation, and on questioning America's international alliances. He even had two meetings with North Korea's dictator Kim Jong Un. One of his legacies was to appoint three very conservatives judges to the Supreme Court, ensuring that the Court will have a conservative majority for some years to come; the most significant consequence of this came in 2022, when the Supreme Court overturned the historic 1973 "Roe vs. Wade" ruling, thus removing an American woman's automatic right to have an abortion.

So it was no surprise that in 2020, the world's eyes were on the USA as Trump tried to get reelected; they remained even more concentrated on Washington in the weeks and months that followed, when Trump refused to recognize that he had lost to Joe Biden. The ex-president remained headline news worldwide for weeks, most notably on 6th-7th January 2021 when he defiantly encouraged his empassioned supporters to march on the Capitol. 

Outside of the USA, most people imagined that that would be the end of Donald Trump. It was not, far from it. And so, as  the 2024 US Presidential Election looms ever closer, worldwide attention once again focuses on the battle for the White House. This time the differences between the Republicans and the Democrats are as stark as the different personalities of the two presumed candidates, Trump and Biden. The 2024 election will be about the very nature of American society and democracy for the years to come - divisive or consensual,  inward-looking or outward-looking,  exclusive or inclusive. The age when a Presidential Election in the USA was essentially a choice between two varying visions of the American Dream, is now well in the past.

No wonder the world is looking on.

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Difficult words:
a re-run: a repeat -   platforms: programs - in many respects : in many ways - progressive, liberal - socially liberal, tolerant of differences - welfare: medical and social services - conservative-minded: with conservative opinions - havoc: chaos - erratic: unpredictable - prided himself on: was proud that - legacy - something that affects the future - to loom forward: to come slowly into view -
For other words and expressions, see the exercise below.

The word "liberal".
This can be a very confusing word as it has two very different meanings. In US politics, liberal is mostly  used as the opposite of conservative, i.e. "progressive" or even "socialist".  However it can also mean economically liberal, i.e. against state intervention in the economy, so the opposite of "socialist".

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Interactive student worksheet

US Presidential election 2024


1. Words, expressions and meaning. Choose the nearest equivalent of each of the following expressions: click the down arrow and select the correct answer.

Written expression: Rephrasing

Rewrite these sentences from the original article in your own words, connecting the words given in the order given. The spaces available will expand to take your text

1. The eruption into center stage of the Republican Party of a former businessman turned reality TV presenter, called Donald Trump, set the cat among the pigeons.

The cat  Trump, who  TV shows Republican Party.

2.  worldwide attention once again focuses on the battle for the White House.

The battle  world.

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Advanced level English resource

Level - Plain English .
IELTS band :  6.5 - 8
Flesch-Kincaid  scores
Reading ease : 58
Grade level: 10.6

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