Russel Winder's Website


On USA Presidential Campaigns

I caught a part of an interview last evening that summarized for me the fundamental corruptness of the USA presidential system. Prior to seeing the interview fragment, I already believed the system biased and problematic. To start, the system is a closed one; it is invariably a two-horse race between candidates offered by the only two political parties with a viable presence in the USA: Democrats and Republican. Both of these parties are fascist right wing parties according to The Political Compass, and nothing in the history of the two parties really belies this analysis.

The parties go through an enormous spend-fest just to decide on their candidate. Even this is an effectively closed system: only successful senators are allowed to enter the race and only those with very deep pockets can afford to continue far into the race. Spending money is at the heart of the USA primaries. This is political power by the purchasing of votes.

Once elected as the candidate, spending is even more important: candidates believe they have to buy the votes in the swing states, and spend some on their secure states as well. "He who has the cash can win the election". And note this is a definite "he". There has not been a woman as candidate, though Hillary Clinton almost got there.

So why does an interview fragment make me write about what is so obviously a corrupt system? The interviewer asked something like "many people worry about the negativity of the Obama campaign, what do you say to this" in answer to which the interviewee, who was a prominent Barak Obama campaigner, went into a tirade of how Mitt Romney had failed at this and done that wrong. The interviewer responded with something along the lines of "but does not that just show that the campaign is one of negativity" to which the interviewee responded "no the campaign is not a negative one" and then proceeded to effectively repeat the tirade. You could see the interviewer metaphorically throw up his hands in frustration. I just thought "Americans really don't seem to get irony".

What then came out was a discussion of spending, and the huge amounts of money spent on campaigns and how it was spent. The answer was an eye opener to the cynicism and blatancy of the vote purchasing. Spend just enough to keep your secure states happy and spend as much as you can in those states where there is a possibility of the opponent winning to try and ensure you win. Given the system, a not unreasonable strategy. But as a commentary on the fundamental corruptness of the system it was brilliant. The system relies on the purchase of votes by trying to show your opposition is the voters enemy. This led to clear statements of the racist and discriminatory assessment of the population. White working class in certain states were assumed to be racist and therefore anti Obama because of the colour (or color) of his skin. There were other instances of these discriminator assumptions dictating the nature of the spend of huge amounts of money.

USA presidential campaigns are cynical spends of amount that can only be categorized as "conspicuous consumption" to purchase votes.

Thank goodness the UK system is nothing at all like this.

Oh dear my irony meter just went off the scale. Clearly the UK system is as bad in it's closedness and attempt to purchase votes by any means necessary. Basically democracy as we know it today is an appalling system. It just sucks less than any other system. This is depressing.


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