US Election 2020: How do you become president?

Last updated at 05:38
The White House
The White House in Washington DC is the official home and workplace of the President of the United States. But who will be living there next?

US President Donald Trump has formally launched his re-election campaign.

The Republican president made the announcement in front of 20,000 supporters in a sports stadium in Orlando, Florida.

The road to becoming president is a very long one. It takes years of hard work, political campaigning, and a lot of money.

So what do candidates have to do to be elected president? And what's in store for who ever finally get the job?

Who can be president?
The Last three American Presidents - George W Bush Jr. - Barak Obama - Donald Trump.Getty Images

It doesn't matter if you are a man or woman, or what race or religion you are. However, there are certain things that you have to be or have done in order to be in line for the job. These are:

  • Be a natural-born US citizen
  • Be at least 35 years old
  • Have lived in the US for 14 years

Normally, a person wanting to be president would have worked in politics before, but this doesn't have to be the case.

The most recent President Donald Trump is better known for being a successful businessman.

His supporters thought that it was time that somebody who wasn't a politician was given the job.

How do you become president?
American president Donald Trump giving a thumbs up.Getty Images

The American people decide who will be their president by voting.

A presidential candidate has to convince a lot of people that they would make a good president or are even able to win the race before getting the job.

Once the candidate has announced that they want to be president, they need to persuade a party to let them represent them. The Democrats and Republicans can only choose one person to enter the competition to be president.

This is done through a series of votes called primaries and caucuses, which take place across the country in the first half of the election year.

Next the candidate needs to win the support of people called delegates, who are people in their political party who have the power to vote for them to be a presidential candidate.

A ballot card with a pencil marking 'x' in a box.Getty Images
The next US presidential election vote will take place on 3 November 2020

After the primaries and caucuses comes a big meeting called the party convention. At this, the delegates vote for who they like and both parties officially announce who they have chosen to represent them in the election. This is half way though the process.

Then a running mate needs to be chosen who will be your vice-president if the candidate wins the election.

The people of America then have to vote!

This take weeks of hard campaigning, spending a fortune on advertising, travelling for many hours, giving many speeches and working extremely hard all over the country.

If the candidate wins this vote, they finally become president and officially start the job on 20 January the following year.

What does the US president actually do?
Donald Trump talking to heads of the german government.Getty Images

Given that the US president is perhaps the most powerful person on the planet, it is far from an easy job. The president is in charge of the most powerful country in the world.

He or she suggests laws and how much money the country should spend. That person is automatically made commander-in-chief of the US army and generally responsible for how the US deals with other countries. They also oversee the national US government.

The president also chooses the judges who will work in the Supreme Court. Although, the Senate has to agree to these.

Everything you do and say as president is very carefully watched. There will be many people that will agree with you, but many that don't - so the president must be ready to receive a lot of criticism throughout their time in the job.

It's certainly not easy!