Why and how is the Vice President elected in U.S?

    1. Why is the Vice President elected in the US? Why isn't he chosen by the President like any other secretary? Is there any important reason why the writers of the Constitution made that choice?

    2. How is the Vice President elected in the actual bi-party system? Is possible to have a VP from party B even if the President is from party A?

  • The original conception of the US presidency was very different than it is today. Originally, there was a pool of potential candidates selected, out of whom the electoral college members would vote for their two favorite candidates. The one with the most votes would be the most qualified, thus he would be the president, and the one with the second most votes the second most qualified, and thus the Vice President.

    The second president, John Adams, was elected, and his arch rival (at least, politically speaking), Thomas Jefferson, was the vice president. This didn't work very well, and in fact, in later days, the president asked the electors to vote for a second candidate alongside him, such that the two had similar views. Well, that also didn't work, leading to the 12th amendment.

    So, what does this all mean? For all practical purposes, the vice president is a historical artefact. Still, it adds another dimension to the presidency, and allows the voters to select not only the president, but the person who will fill his role if something should happen to the president. By the succession laws, the next person in line is the Speaker of the House, which is a semi-elected position (elected by elected officials from elected officials, plus being elected from their district), as is the next person, the President pro Tempore of the Senate. These two people have other responsibilities; namely, to lead the congress. Beyond them is the Cabinet. Personally, I would prefer to vote for them as well, but there needs to be some freedom in allowing the president to change these people around.

    The vice president has no official responsibilities in government, aside from casting a vote to break a tie in the senate. This person is literally a fall-back president. Thus, the people of the United States prefer to elect this person, and allow the President the flexibility to assign his Cabinet, who do "real" work. Note that these still must be approved by Congress, giving them a semi-elected role as well.

    Thank you for clarifying. Those who aren't familiar with our nutty system may uh, well, shall we say be confused by that.

    @PearsonArtPhoto Just to clarify, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were in no way arch rivals nor were they enemies. They were in fact close friends their entire lives, they simply disagreed with each other often. Jefferson was an Anti-Federalist and Adams retained Washington's old cabinet that were all Federalists. Politically Adams was Neutral sometimes siding with Federalists and other times with Anti-Federalists. People often mistake the fierce rivalry that Jefferson had with Adams' cabinet secretaries as a rivalry.

    Good point. I've changed it to say politically speaking.

    *X-in-waiting* does not mean what you think it means. A lady-in-waiting is not waiting for an opportunity to become a lady. Also, even in the more modern (mis)definition, the Vice-President is not really waiting to become the President: many (most?) VPs never become president. I'd say the word to use is *fallback*.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM