US Presidential Election: The Empire Votes Back

There are several ways of thinking about American presidential elections: as a monstrous waste of money fought by two rich party machines to decide who will run the country in the best interests of the corporations – the Noam Chomsky view; as a power struggle engaged in by inflated egoists with few principles and even fewer ideas – the line promoted by journalists late at night; as a contest so unimportant and so far removed from the lives of ordinary people that it is hardly surprising that fewer and fewer ever bother to vote – the cynic’s perspective; or as a sign of real political vitality in one of the largest and undoubtedly the best democracy in the world – the view adopted by most Americans.

The World Today
4 minute READ

The American presidential elections are tests of public opinion, which ask of those who do happen to vote a startlingly simple question: why should I support this candidate rather than that one? The normal answer under normal circumstances has invariably been: because I share the candidate’s prejudices and will thus vote for him – never her; because he looks and talks like a president, and is likely to make me and my nearest and dearest feel safer, more secure, and hopefully better off.

It also helps a candidate’s chances – or at least the incumbent’s – if the US happens to be engaged in a just war against a ruthless and aggressive enemy. America after all is a nation of patriots, and as such is more likely to fall in behind a president leading the country at a time of national emergency, as President George Bush most obviously is.

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