Democratic Process

Being Canadian, my take on the nomination process for the Democrats is unimportant to many outsiders. That said, it is interesting to see how the democratic process works for our Southern neighbors and how we differ here in Canada.

The latest 'scandal' to come out of the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama centers around a remark the New York Senator made to the editorial board of the South Dakota's Sioux Falls Argus-Leader:

--"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it."--

I wonder what's more disturbing in this case: the comment itself or the way people reacted to it.

This is like the "Flag Pin" fiasco, where Obama was attack for not wearing his country's pin on his jacket while doing a public appearance.

Who cares?

By the way, don't think I don't know the value of this symbolic gesture, but at the same time , a double standard is applied when you consider John McCain also goes out in public without it and somehow the people at Fox News don't seem to really care about this.

Isn't that just a way to divert attention from the 'real issues'?

Do you really think a single mother raising two children by herself really cares that the possible future commander-in-chief did not wear his flag pin for a day? Simplistic view of the problem, but the truth nonetheless.

The media is often singled out for dumbing down the rhetoric in society and, unfortunately, that's true. There is no way a serious news organization can look itself in the mirror and approve of the way the coverage has been done so far, with partisan attacks becoming nastier every day..

Recently, I read an article that compared all-news channel landscape between India and the United States, where CNN and Fox perpetuate the divide between the left and right spectrum of the political arena.

In India, there are a multitude of 24-hour news channel that offer viewers a more varied schedule and panel of analysts , something the American viewers could benefit.

On top of it, you have the 'money factor', where a normal citizen has absolutely no chance of competing for the top job in the United States. This is from a good article by the BBC, last September:

--But the winning candidate is not necessarily the one who starts out with the most money - although by the end of the race they will probably be the best funded.

"There have been a lot of candidates with relatively small amounts of cash who do pretty well in the nomination process," says Mr Wilcox.

"If the candidate has no money, they can't get the message out. But if they have enough money to be heard then they can attract both votes and donors."

Americans have become increasingly cynical about the power of money in politics. But they are also more likely to make a financial contribution themselves when they are most dissatisfied.

That could help explain the rapidly growing number of small donors - one of the biggest trends of this presidential election.-- 

But with the current presidential race expected to reach the billion-dollar mark this year, for the first time in history, all this process seems increasingly out of touch with normal people and the problems they want to see resolved (small and big).

Here in Canada, the reforms that were enacted under the Jean Chretien regime have put a limit on donations and now the parties get their money directly from the government (citizens) and they really have to work their voter base in order to collect more money and fight an election.

Is that a perfect situation? No. But at least we see an attempt to debate on real issues and we know the parties have not been tainted with corporate money (as far as we know, at least).