LPLE #6: Presidential Election Season in America

Jesse and Andrew talk about the current presidential election season and the possibility of having our first female president. Andrew explains about America's two-party system--Democrat and Republican. Jesse explores how where he grew up and lives influences who he supports to be the next president.

TRANSCRIPT

Intro [Jesse]: Hi everyone. My name is Jesse Robbins, and welcome to LPLE from Dialogue FM. We're the podcast that lets you practice listening in English. We speak English slowly and clearly so that you can follow along and understand native English speakers more easily. I'm excited to help you improve your English listening skills, as well as help you learn new vocabulary, grammar, and idioms commonly heard and conversation among native English speakers. If you want to practice listening in English, then we invite you to join our conversation.

Jesse: Hi, Andrew!

Andrew: Hi, Jesse.

Jesse: How you doing?

Andrew: Hanging in there.

Jesse: We are in an interesting time in our country. This year is an election year.

Andrew: It is, and there is a guarantee that we will have a new president of the United States by the end of the year.

Jesse: That's right. Every four years we have a presidential election, and this is the fourth year. So, it's easy to remember: 2016, then every four years after that.

Andrew: 2016, 2020, 2024, 2028, at which point we will be very, very old people and probably cranky people, also.

Jesse: This year may be the first year that we have a female president in our country.

Andrew: It's possible. One of the strong candidates on the Democratic side is Hillary Clinton who is in a good position to win her party's nomination, which leads us into the confusing part about American politics, which is that we have two basic parties--two sides that tend to run against each other every year.

And, this is different from most other Western countries because many Western countries are run as a coalition, which means there are many parties that have to team up to run the country. And, in the United States, it is either a Democratic president or a Republican president, and we have had a Democratic president for eight years in President Barack Obama, and now we are waiting to see whether we can have another presidency on the Democratic side.

Jesse: My understanding is that in recent time it's always one swung one direction and then the other, right?

Andrew: In-... In the past twenty years or so, that is true. Ronald Reagan ran twice and had eight years as president. We had another president on the Republican side, President Bush, who only lasted one four-year term, and then we had President Clinton with eight years in office--he was a Democrat--then President Bush who was eight years in office--a Republican--and then President Obama who was eight years in office--a Democrat.

Jesse: This might be the first time where we have back-to-back presidents who are both from the same party.

Andrew: Right...in about 20 years.

Jesse: Yes.

Andrew: It's been a very long time.

Jesse: That's right. This is going to be a unique time in our election season not just because we have a strong female candidate who has a really strong chance of becoming the first female president of the United States, but then there's also the element of having two back-to-back democratic presidents who are different from each other, then there's also the element of Hillary Clinton being the wife of a former president, as well.

Andrew: Right! We've had a interesting run of elections in the past 25 years or so, where President Bush the senior was president, and then eight years later his son became the president, and now we are in a similar position where President Bill Clinton was president for eight years and now his wife Hillary Clinton is running. So, we are dealing with some very political families that tend to stay in power for a very long time whether by their sons and daughters or their spouses.

Jesse: Election Day is in November, November 8th, which is a Thursday. I did tell my boss that I may be showing up late for work on the morning of November 9th...

Andrew: ...Because you'll be staying up to see what happens.

Jesse: Primarily because I will be staying up late to see what happens, and there may be some celebration in or sharing of sorrows involved depending on who is elected.

Andrew: Right.

Jesse: Now, I feel it's comfortable enough between you and I to share with the audience which side we take in terms of Democrat or Republican.

Andrew: Yeah, that's right. Both of us are strong support of the Democratic Party in the United States. So, both of us voted for Barack Obama...

Jesse: That's right.

Andrew: And, we both hope that Hillary Clinton will become the next president.

Jesse: This is interesting because part of and--maybe I'll speak for myself here--part of my support of the Democratic Party, part of my left-leaning thinking, comes from my upbringing. We live in a liberal city.

Andrew: Right. And, we should be clear, in the United States, which is not the same as in some other countries, the Liberal party and the Democratic party and the more Progressive party are all the same thing. So, when we say we are left-meaning-...when we say we are left-leaning, with we also mean we are Democratic, or, rather we support the Democratic party...

Jesse: Correct.

Andrew: ...And, that is opposite from the Republican party, which is the conservative party, which is the right-leaning party.

Jesse: So, terms like "left," "Democrat," and "liberal" are all grouped together.

Andrew: Right.

Jesse: And then terms like "right," "Conservative," "Republican," "GOP" are all lumped together.

Andrew: That's right

Jesse: That's right. Because, in some other countries those terms will be dramatically different and represent two different parties.

Andrew: Exactly. What you say is correct. We both live in Washington State, which is a state that tends to vote very strongly towards the Democratic party most of the time. So, we will call it a "Liberal State," and that is tending-...that tends to be the truth in the entire west coast of the United States--and actually the east coast in many parts, as well. So, Washington and Oregon and California tend to vote liberally for the Democratic party, so does New York, New Jersey, on up and down through Massachusetts and other parts of the northeastern part of the United States.

Jesse: I heard said that the coasts, both west coast and east coast, tend to lean left, and then there's a mix in the center, and then when you go south in America, that's where you get a lot of conservative voters.

Andrew: Right. People who vote for the right-wing party or the Republicans.

Jesse: Well, I'm excited to see what happens in November.

Andrew: So am I.

Jesse: We'll have a fun night watching the election together...

Andrew: ...and I look forward to celebrating the outcome.

Outro [Jesse]: Thank you for listening to this episode of LPLE, Let's Practice Listening in English, from Dialog.FM. Subscribe to LPLE on iTunes to hear the latest episodes, or listen to past episodes on our website, Dialog.FM. That's d-i-a-l-o-g-dot-f-m. If you have questions or comments about English, or if you would like for us to use a word, grammar, or idiom in our conversation so you can learn how to use it correctly, we would love to hear from you on Twitter at @dialogdotfm or Facebook at facebook.com/dialogFM.