The American political system is considered a two-party system, because we essentially have only two political parties, the Republicans and Democrats. There are independents within the system and politicians from minor political parties, like the Green Party, but when it comes to electing a president there are almost always only two candidates, a Republican and Democrat. The one major exception to this was in the 1992 presidential election when a man named Ross Perot successfully ran a campaign as a third party option for president. It is very rare for a third party candidate to be elected in any major election in the United States.
So, who are the two presidential candidates, from the two political parties, who are running this year for the most important job in the United States? Below are brief and simplified outlines of the two current American presidential candidates. I hope this information helps you better understand more about these two men. I am sure you hear about this campaign, at least from time to time, where you are. So, hopefully this information will help contextualize some of the information you hear. We here in America are hearing about this campaign every day, but even so many American’s don’t know a whole lot about these candidates.
The incumbent*, Barack Obama, is a democrat. He was born in 1961 in the state of Hawaii. Before attending college he spent a number of years in his youth living in Indonesia with his mother and stepfather. After high school, Obama went to Occidental College, Columbia University, and Harvard University. After graduating from Harvard, Obama worked as a civil rights attorney and law school professor while serving in the state of Illinois Senate from 1997-2004. He was then elected to represent the state of Illinois in the United States Senate in 2004. Obama was elected to be the 44th American president in 2008 and currently serves in this role. Obama is married and the father of two children.
The challenger, Mitt Romney, is a republican. He was born in 1947 in the state of Michigan. Before attending college he spent thirty months living in France as a Mormon missionary. After this time Romney then went to college at Brigham Young University and then Harvard University. After graduating from Harvard he went into business. He is known for being a successful businessman who has worked in the area of business that helps companies in financial crisis. Romney was also in charge of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Romney was the Governor of the state of Massachusetts from 2003-2007. Romney is married, the father of five children and has 16 grandchildren.
*incumbent = the existing holder of a political office