The usual post-election vocab lesson
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Bart: I am so sick of hearing about Lisa. Just because she's
doing a little better than me—
Marge: She's President of the United States!
Congrats to those of you who supported Obama. It's a giddy time for wonks and English geeks generally: we get to spend the next few months correcting President
to the delightfully technical President-elect
I don't see any U.S. newspapers using it, but there's an additional potential distinction, President-designate
. Check out this 1976 entry from The American Political Dictionary
Following the November popular election, the winning candidate is unofficially called the "President-designate" until the electors are able to ratify the people's choice. Under the Twentieth Amendment, the President-elect is sworn into office at noon on the twentieth day of January, and if the President-elect fails to quality at that time, the Vice President-elect then acts as President.
points out, if the President-elect dies before being sworn in, then the Vice President–elect becomes President. If, however, the President-designate dies before being voted President-elect on December 15th, then the Electoral College could choose a different President-elect, and they are not
required to choose the Vice President–designate.
Obviously the news outlets are just following the common usage of President-elect
. For one thing, calling Obama President-designate
might come off as the same sort of dog-whistle
that mentioning the middle name Hussein
is in some circles.
Still, odd that no copy editors have latched onto the December 15th date for "official" President-elect status; it seems like the sort of petty terminological minutia
they usually enjoy.
Labels: editing, grammar politics, semantics, vocab
If you want to talk about minutiae, what about the fact that the day after the election is not always November 5th?
Ah yes! A rookie mistake on my part, not checking that date.
Think reactive, not reactionary