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                A Road Map to Becoming President of the United States of America

Welcome to this website.  If you are here something has spurred your interest in finding out more about the United States political system, and this is a great place to do exactly that. Many people early on in life find themselves envisioning the possibility of running for president.  It is an alluring possibility; however, as many reach adulthood the reality of becoming president is definitely put on the back burner.  The average citizen finds that getting a job and paying the bills is pretty much priority before exerting extra energy towards such a monumental task; this is especially true since the media glamorizes the presidential campaign here in the States as a campaign of who can raise the most money, or who is in line for a party nomination. Indeed, those are values that have taken fore front to winning the presidential election.  Furthermore, the United States is primarily a two party system, and much of the presidential campaign process is described from the viewpoints of the Democratic and Republican candidates. Not to say this is right or wrong, it is just what is valued by the current populous of the United States.  However, values are different than principles.  The principles of who can run for president is guided by the United States Constitution, not a political party.  And this is were we start.  The beginning process for running for president starts by addressing the United States Constitution.  There are three statements made in the constitution (Article II, Section 1) that define the criteria to be a candidate for president.  The criteria is as follows:

- Must be a native born citizen (born on U.S. soil, or born to U.S citizens while abroad).

- Must be at least 35 years old by the time you are sworn into office. 

- Must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years.

Now that is very simple.  It seems you don't have any criteria other than those three simple rules in order to run for president.  If you have met  all three of those demands, all you have to do is get out there and start campaigning, right?  Well, yes and no. There is a difference between running for president and running to win the presidency. In order to run to win, you must campaign.  It is the campaigning part that gets a little tricky.  Running for president is kinda like getting a license to drive.  Ever body knows that when you turn 16 you can drive a car, but you must fulfill certain requirements to actually start driving legally. Simply put, in order to run for president, you have to file with the FEC (Federal Election Commission). This is only required if you plan on spending and raising a lot of money for your campaign.  We will get into the details of all the money issues further down the road. Right now, we just want to know what are the basics of running for president.  

Another issue that has to be resolved about running for president is the election process described via the constitution in (Article I, Section 4). This section of the constitution describes the designated power of individual states to authorize the time, the place, and the manner of federal elections. These powers given to the states allows each state to design ballot access laws that restrict access to candidates appearing on the state ballots.  This is definitely a tricky issue, and is becoming an increasingly disputed topic. However, if one is seriously focusing on winning votes, then he or she must have access to the ballots. Thus, another criteria needed to run for president with intention to win is the ability to get on each of the state electoral ballots. Each state has its own criteria that each candidate must meet in order to get on the state's ballot. Additionally, each state has its own election committees that set these regulations.  We will get to to each state's regulations further down the road.  

Down the road.  That seems to be a perfection analogy for the whole process.  Kinda like the driver's license analogy.  If you don't have your license you can't get too far down the road.  Indeed, you can run for president, but you most likely won't get out of the driveway if you don't know all the regulations. Despite all the regulations that seem to hinder the average citizen from getting a real chance at the presidency, the times are changing to allow for the odds to increase towards the so called small candidates. The biggest advantage that the so called outsiders have these days is the great advancements in technology and communication means.  Technology will be the final criteria that we will talk about, along with a candidates appeal factor and organizational skills. 

In summary, the minimum criterion needed to run for presidency is comply with three  guidances in the constitution: 

                            - Be a native born citizen

                            - Be at least 35 years old

                            - Must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years. 

If you plan on campaigning and getting on state electoral ballots you must file with the FEC, and meet the requirements set by each state's election committees. 

Now let's learn more about the campaigning process and what it takes to get on each state's ballots.  If you fell like all this is not too much work, navigate to the outline section of this website to learn how to become President of the United States.  If you are interested in learning how to become more active in the political process go to the resources section and learn about organizations or media that can help you to become more educated and empowered on the United States political process.

Info: Double click on the navigation icons with arrows in order access drop down pages (e.g Resources -> Forms, Organizations, Media and Videos)


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