General Question

JLeslie's avatar

Is the US president appointed or elected?

Asked by JLeslie (61540points) January 21st, 2019 from iPhone

This is a vocabulary question.

Which word is correct?

Recently, on another Q, a jelly wrote the US President is appointed, and it just sounded odd to me. I don’t remember hearing that word used for the US president.

The jelly cited the electoral collage, but they vote too, so it still seemed to me our president is elected.

What’s correct? Correct in terms of proper, customary, terminology for describing the election of the president. I’m NOT talking about giving me an explanation of how the EC, the indirect vote, and the US as a republic works, I’m only asking in writing and speech is it correct to say a president is appointed or elected?

I see the arguments, an example against what I’m thinking might be the president appoints a Supreme Court justice, but there is still a vote done to confirm him or her, but that’s a confirmation vote for the appointment, it’s different.

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26 Answers

janbb's avatar

I’ve only heard the term “elected.”

elbanditoroso's avatar

The process, of course, is an election.

The actual function on January 20, every fourth year, is to be sworn in – that is, to agree to serve in the position to which you were elected.

In no way is the US president ‘appointed’.

zenvelo's avatar

as a vocabulary question, it is pretty easy- Electors elect someone. To be appointed, someone or something must appointed by appointers.

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Lightlyseared's avatar

It probably depends on how pedanatic you want to be. The process by which the president is selected is by election (by the electoral college) so it’s pretty easy to argue he(or she) is elected. You could argue that once selected by electoral college he is then appointed to the post of President using appointment to mean to “take up the position”.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The Electoral College votes on the President and Vice President and when they’re sworn after being “ELECTED”.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, the RNC and the DNC each appoint someone to represent them, then the people elect one of the two candidates. In a way it’s a combination of both.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III But, even with that we have a primary election to decide who will be representing the party in the election. I’ve never thought of that as an appointment either, but I honestly don’t know if maybe the word appointment is used traditionally for the selection process you are talking about.

zenvelo's avatar

@Dutchess_III The Parties don’t appoint anyone! They nominate, which means they name someone to run for President.

filmfann's avatar

The President is elected and affirmed by the Electoral College. The only way you could describe it as appointed is if they reject the vote winner, and agree on someone else.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Hmm. Like in the last election?

JLeslie's avatar

^^The last election they didn’t reject the winner. The EC members from each state went with the majority in their respective state.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Given the fact that there are inevitably only two feasible candidates, I find the world “election” false. I suppose it’s the correct word, but it is more of choice A, or B.

Demosthenes's avatar

I remember in 2016 all the “Deep State” conspiracy theorists saying that Hillary was going to win because she had already been “appointed” by the shadow government. Talk about egg on your face :P

JLeslie's avatar

@MrGrimm888 That’s like saying the winning team in pro football is only A or B. Sure, once you get to the super bowl it’s only two, but there is a whole season of playing getting down to those two. The primaries do matter.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^I disagree. Lots of people opine that the DNC made Hillary their candidate, although polls showed that Bernie should have been the candidate…

Your analogy also implies that the entire process is as fair as possible. Not true. Usually, the candidates with the most money do the best. All NFL teams have the same amount of cap space, and higher draft picks are given to the teams with the worst records.

Candidates are typically given money, because people are trying to buy the country the way they like it. Despite attempts to limit contributions, we Noth know that there is money moving around in shady dealings….

JLeslie's avatar

^^We are just talking vocabulary here. You don’t get to change proper usage, or even customary usage of the words to describe the voting process in the US.

Your disgust with the system doesn’t make it acceptable in my opinion to tell us that our president is appointed. The same way I argue about immigrants being call criminals. The right just decided the word sounded good, and is more accurate, but I disagree because of the connotation that comes with calling someone a criminal. It doesn’t just mean breaking a law to most people, it means a bad personal with knowing intent to harm.

Calling our president appointed completely removes any indication of election process.

Is your prime minister appointed? Maybe that’s where you’re confused?

MrGrimm888's avatar

Call it what you like then. It’s still a rigged system, where the “voters” have an illusion of choice. The candidates are appointed by our governments, and then we are forced to legitimize one. It’s that simple.

JLeslie's avatar

^^The electors base their vote on the vote of the citizens, don’t you understand that? I don’t like the EC system either, I prefer a direct vote, but the EC is electing the president. The EC doesn’t go against the vote within the state. Whether you think the system is just is a different topic.

What do you call it in Canada? Do you elect your PM or is he/she appointed? I’d still like to know the terminology used in your country.

janbb's avatar

@JLeslie Are you asking @MrGrimm888 about his country’s PM? If so, he lives in the Carolinas!

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb Oh, right. Thank you. I was confusing him with someone else. Now, that you say it, I remember he’s in the Carolinas. That was my mistake.

ragingloli's avatar

When “the people” vote for one candidate in the majority, and an elite cabal decides instead to choose the one with less votes, it is no longer an election. It is a farce.

JLeslie's avatar

@ragingloli Isn’t the German president voted in by representatives also? Do you use the German word meaning appointed in Germany for the process? Not you specifically, I mean the common usage in Germany.

ragingloli's avatar

They call it an “election”, but I certainly do not consider it one.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Correct. I do not consider a judgement between two parties a democracy. Period…

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