Translation:I decided not to vote for your candidate for president.
The alternative translation with the phrase "presidential candidate" should be accepted
I decided not to vote for your presidential candidate
and was considered wrong. I think it should be considered right.
I agree that it should be accepted. Please use the Report button next time you get this sentence.
It’s actually a very smart question! Most native speakers of Russian will have trouble explaining this form. :D
This form has two possible explanations. It's either a different case called second accusative case (второ́й вини́тельный паде́ж), or a variation in animateness (when a group of people is treated as organisation, and therefore considered inanimate).
Either way, this form is used with plural nouns expressing groups of people. It's used after the preposition «в» with the meaning of joining that group of people. In «кандида́т в президе́нты», the candidate wants to join the group of people 'presidents', so this form is used.
It can be used as a modifier to the noun, as in this case, and we also use it with some verbs. The number of verbs which sound OK with «в» + second accusative is limited, usually verbs that mean joining some group:
- пойти́ в программи́сты 'to decide to become a programmer',
- ме́тить в нача́льники 'to have plans to become a boss',
- записа́ться в волонтёры 'to sign up to become a volunteer'.
It's also used in some set expressions:
- постри́чься в мона́хи 'to become a monk' (to cut one's hair to become a monk),
- вы́биться в лю́ди 'to raise above the crowd' ('to break through to become a [real] person).
Thanks for this explanations, it's really a weird phenomenon textbooks rarely mentions. I remember being puzzled by "Добавить в друзья" when I used Facebook in Russian.
Can we consider it just an idiomatic usage of accusative + plural?
- входить в двери
- бросать в кусты
- записываться в списки
- выбирать в президенты
«Две́ри», «кусты́», «спи́ски» are inanimate nouns, so what you've given above are constructions with a regular accusative.
«В президе́нты», however, is not a regular accusative. Compare «ви́деть кусты́», but «ви́деть президе́нтов». So we need an explanation. Either something is different with the meaning of «в» here (it requires a different case form, namely second accusative, when it has a meaning of joining the group), or something is different with the word «президе́нты» here (it has become inanimate because we treat 'presidents' as some group or institution, not as people).
Either way, you can't just say it's «an idiomatic usage of accusative + plural», because accusative + plural would be «в президе́нтов» (compare «це́литься в президе́нтов», which uses the normal accusative).
I personally like this description: http://rusgram.ru/%D0%9F%D0%B0%D0%B4%D0%B5%D0%B6#12
My grammar textbook calls this a special use of в with the nominative to indicate "joining the ranks of, becoming a member of"
Fun fact: we are getting presidential elections in Brazil next week... Depressing elections BTW