Is Ignorance Bliss?

13 02 2008

As America continues its search for someone to replace GW, I have become intrigued by the democrats and their campaigning. I will say at this stage that, although I believe there to be little between Mrs Clinton and Mr Obama, I would prefer to see Obama win the contest.  I believe his politics are better and whereas Hillary seems keen to remind us she’s a woman, Barack does not insist on repeating the fact that he is black in order to sway some of the voters. There are a couple of places I check to see what is happening. Usefully these are the Conservative and Labour club blogs from my university, and they keep me up to date with the local opinions of the elections.

However, my issue here is not with who does or does not win, instead, as a Brit looking in, I am wondering whether it is better that I have a view on American politics, despite me having really little in the way of comprehension about how the system actually works. Or is it better that, as someone ignorant of the system, I do not need to wade in with my own opinions about the candidates?

I would be keen to say the former, as I believe any engagement is better than no engagement with current affairs. However, this still leaves me in the position of not really understanding how either Obama or Clinton will actually win the race. I know there are delegates, and there are primaries and caucuses. But I cannot tell you how they really work (despite several readings of the bluffers guide on the BBC website), or why the number of delegates is more for the democrats than the republicans.

The whole system seems too damn complicated for my little brain. Whatever happened to keeping it simple? From what I can gather, the system is a ‘first past the post’ one, but the democrats and republicans are running completely different races, with different rules. This doesn’t make any sense to me. Why not have a universal system across the whole USA, and save simpletons like me worrying about whether the caucus or primary will resolve the election matter.

Oh, and the so-called “Super Tuesday”? Was that the biggest over-emphasis of a day ever? It had the potential to be huge, granted. But the fact that, in all reality, it did little to seperate the two democrats, only to me seems to show how tight the race is, and will be until the end. Consequently, hyping it up before hand as the potential day which will almost decisively swing the vote one way or another seems to me to be flawed.

But then what do I know. I’m a simpleton.

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One response

14 02 2008
editorbucf

Thanks very much for linking to us.

I have found that this American race to be really interesting for me, purely because I know very little about it and have very little feeling of belonging to either of the candidates or parties.

Whereas whenever Brown stands up say anything I have already rubbished it!!

This is why I have enjoyed this set of politics because it has allowed me to clarify my own points of view. However, not only that it has allowed me to see what works on someone who doesn’t do ‘american politics’ and therefore I think it will help me understand the average British Voter better.

I agree though with your point about Hiliary, ‘the I am a woman’ line is rapidly fading for me. Obama of course uses the fact he is black however, like you I do not believe it is to the same extent.

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