#1 - Caucuses and Primaries Major parties choose nominees in caucuses (party elections) and through primary elections (elections to weed out other candidates). Some states hold primaries earlier and they can be used to predict future success. In a closed primary, you have to register your party beforehand. In Illinois, you only have register the day of.
#4 - General Election and Electoral College In the general election, the people vote for their favorite candidate. However, it is not a direct vote and it goes to the electoral college. Congress then counts the electoral college votes (based on population, ex. Illinois has 20 electoral points) and determines the winner. In a tie, the House of Representatives will choose the candidate.
#2 - National Convention Each party holds a convention the summer of the election year. Here, they choose their President and VP nominees. They reunite the group after candidate arguments and adopt their basic platform and policy matters.
#5 - Inauguration On January 20, the new president and VP are sworn into office. They take an oath over a book (typically the Bible, however, some presidents like John Quincy Adams and Franklin Pierce used the constitution) in front of the nation in a large ceremony. The nation accepts the new president and his partner. Congrats!
#3 - Campaigns Each party helps to create campaigns for their nominee to present him/her in the best way possible. They then try to win in key states and make appearances there because they matter more. This all leads to the Tuesday following the first Monday in November, the General election day and the day the people vote for their president.