Monday, February 11, 2008

A Presidential Nomination - Only in America

I just couldn’t stand the thought of putting pictures of politicians on my blog, so it’s the flags for you.

In a recent study, it was determined that the vast majority of Linköpinglivin’ readers are Swedes, so in light of this, I think a quick tip of the Linköpinglivin’ cap should go to the very intriguing political process taking place in the U.S. to determine our future leader, especially since an often-heard comment here is “Why is it so long and complicated?”

(Please know that not just any political event would usurp the continuing examination and dialogue on Sweden, but as we approach November, the U.S. elections will only take on more intensity worldwide, so one week set aside doesn’t seem too inappropriate.)

As for a very basic introduction, there are essentially three candidates left that could possibly become the next American president: Hillary Clinton who would be the first-ever woman and Barack Obama who would be the first-ever person of color of the Democratic Party and John McCain, a decorated and respected war hero, on the Republican side.

What is happening right now, ever so slowly and state-by-state, is all part of the “primary” process. The reason it is indeed such a long and drawn out process is not because the U.S. just loves to have all the world attention all the time (okay, perhaps that’s a part of it), but because of the uniqueness of the 50 states (and a few more districts) in the U.S. Each state needs proper representation and deserves an appropriate say in who will be representing both parties – by “appropriate,” I mean proportional based on the number of people who actually live in that state, which brings us to a key word, “delegate.” California has more people than Nevada, so if someone “wins” California, they receive a lot more “delegates” than if they win Nevada. The current process is simply giving each state a chance to say who they want from either political party. The two winners will face each other in the general election and then it becomes similar to all Western democracies – endless media hype, debates, political spin, attacks and often both participants make fools of themselves and their dignity in order to get elected (but only because that’s what we make them do…).

The new president won’t be elected until the first week of November and won’t actually take office until the end of January ’09.

In general, from what I have heard and seen, Europeans enjoyed the last Clinton presidency and would be very content to see Hillary have a chance. Many people from non-Western nations simply take a look at Obama’s skin color and name and identify with him (and for whom the Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, has already expressed public support). However, the economy is always such an unpredictable factor in an election and many people inside and outside of the U.S. just feel better about business and the world financial markets when a conservative is in command in the U.S., especially with the recent turmoil of the U.S. economy.

And THAT, my friends, is why this is going to be so interesting.

One thing is for sure, this process has captured the imagination of more people than ever in the United States. People from all different backgrounds and ages are participating like never before and this can only be a good thing in a democracy.

I won’t say here with whom I am leaning, but I’d love to hear your thoughts, especially if you live outside of the U.S.

And lastly, Europe, please forgive us for thinking that we’re actually electing a president of the world. Your thankless patience is always appreciated…

Next week, it’s back to Linköping and the next reason why it is just so cool to live here.


Helen i Valla said...

I read your blog every week. It's always interesting. I wonder what urups mean? Must look it up. I'm hoping Hillary will become president. It's about time a woman takes command.... :-)...and what a great woman she is. Thanks for explaining a bit about how the election system works Sean.

Todd said...

So...this is all going on in the U.S. right now? Funny, I hadn't heard anything about it.

heather sunuks said...

Sean - Very, won't you describe the term "superdelegate"? Also, I'm curious if an American living outside of the U.S. is subject to political sway (i.e. women and hispanics vote for Hillary, young and educated vote for Obama)? Or, simply riding on the wave of popularity and/or endorsements?