Politics for Eight-Year-Olds

Last week, a very good friend told me about a class project her daughter was undertaking. She was supposed to solicit the help of family and friends to produce a newspaper, and would I be willing to write up a short news story on the presidential race?

The only twist was, it had to be written for an eight- to ten-year-old audience. This proved more challenging and more fun than I expected, so I thought I’d share the result with Jeremy Lott’s Diary readers:

Race for President is Loud and Close

by Jeremy Lott

With only one week to go until the elections on November 6, the race for president is very close. According to polls, which are phone surveys of thousands of adults, Republican candidate Mitt Romney had a slight lead among people who are likely to vote. However, that lead might not help Mr. Romney if he cannot win the Electoral College vote, where polls show him still behind.

The Electoral College is not a normal college like Whatcom Community College or Western Washington University. It is a group of people from all 50 states who come together every four years to elect the president. Each state gets to send as many electors to the Electoral College as they have Senators plus Representatives. So Washington state, with our two Senators and 10 Representatives, gets 12 votes and the much bigger California gets 55 votes. The next president needs 270 Electoral College votes to win.

Republican candidate Mr. Romney is a businessman and the former governor of Massachusetts. Democratic candidate Barack Obama was a senator from Illinois until he became president. They argued their cases to voters in three debates in October. According to polls, Mr. Romney won the first debate, the second one was a tie, and President Obama won the third debate. They argued over how to create more jobs for out-of-work Americans, how high taxes should be, and how to deal with problems in the rest of the world.

Mr. Romney and President Obama have very different ideas for what the president should do and they believe those things passionately, so they struggled during the debates to use inside voices. Tagg Romney, one of Mr. Romney’s five sons, joked after the second debate that he’d wanted to “punch” President Obama when he watched him arguing with his dad. After this was reported in news accounts, Tagg felt bad about it. So he went up to President Obama after the third debate and apologized.

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