On the morning of November 9, we the students of the MU program arrived at the American Center to participate in a mock American election. Decorated in red, white, and blue, the center was bustling with students learning how the US election works and others eagerly waiting for the result of the real election. We voted in the mock-election, discover interesting facts about the American presidency, and followed the real election on CNN!
What did we learn from this experience? Well, there are actually a lot of things.
First, we learned that the American election isn’t as simple as many people think. American citizens don’t cast their ballot to directly vote for the person they want as the president. Instead, they follow a system called the Electoral College, which allow them to vote for representatives (electors) from the party of the candidate they support. Each state has a different number of electors determined by the state’s population. In December, all 538 electors will gather in Washington DC and cast the official votes for the president. However, since electors are most likely to vote for their party, it’s safe to assume the winner based on the number of electors they get. So complicated right? But it has been that way since the first day the US was born.
Second, we learned that our choice isn’t limited to the two candidates for the Republican and Democratic party. On the mock-ballot, below the two choices Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, there is the third option to write in the name of whoever you want to be president. It was interesting to see the names people wrote into their mock-ballots, which included Putin, Harambe, and Kim Jong-Un. In real life, there are also candidates from less well-known party, such as the Green party or the Libertarian Party.
Third, we learned that it’s extremely difficult to predict the result of the election. After voting at the mock-election, we gathered together to watch the live streaming of the real election result on CNN. While most polls and news sources predicted that Mrs Clinton would win, the winner turned out to be Mr Trump! The news took everybody at the American center, even the people who work there, by surprise since the majority of us voted for Hillary Clinton in the mock-election. Nevertheless, congratulation to Mr Donald Trump! We hope that he will do a great job in the next four years.
Overall, our field trip to the American Center gave us a chance to experience how an American citizen would participate in their presidential election. We would like to thank the American Center and Wellspring school for providing us with this amazing opportunity and hope to join more fun activities in the future.
Minh Ngọc – 12D