America's Long Election

The next US Presidential election is not until November 2008, but the race to find George W. Bush's much anticipated successor has already seized several headlines. This is partly a function of the American electoral system anyway, but there is a sense of desperation as people already look towards the culmination of the dismal Bush years.

In the Democrat camp, the two current front runners represent belated social advances in the top political sphere. To have a woman candidate (Clinton) and a black candidate (Obama) fighting it out for one of the party's top spots is unprecedented. Meanwhile, the Republican nomination also remains open, with frontrunner John McCain handicapped by the age factor (he would be even older than Ronald Reagan on assuming office) and, more seriously, by his support for more forces in Iraq. He thus faces an increasingly strong challenge from former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, but Giuliani has sufficient issues to make his ability to consistently take the Republican lead far from certain. And, of course, with just under 2 years still to go, we coud all still be waiting for that unknown candidate to emerge - a bit like Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter.

There is, of course, no better or more entertaining insight into American politics than the recently finished series 'West Wing', whose seventh and final season was devoted to following a fictional presidential campaign. You could tell it was fiction, of course, as both candidates were men of honour and integrity. That could never really happen, surely?


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