The first US election cycle I remember was 1964’s.
Since then, I have kept track of the rest, but, like many other political animals, only from the Republican and Democratic conventions through to November.
This year, however, primary season has got me hooked. It has millions of Americans paying attention. Even better, the rest of the world is watching with rapt interest.
A case in point is a warning from Kim Beazley, the former Australian ambassador to the US who is pro-TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), against Donald Trump who opposes it. The Guardian published the report on April 20. The comments from anti-globalists were illuminating: maybe a Trump presidency wouldn’t be such a bad thing, after all.
Bernie Sanders has also attracted much interest. Guardian readers ask why Hillary Clinton gets more coverage than the Vermont senator.
Normally, no one would care.
However, 2016’s primary season will go down in history, not only because of the candidates but also for the awareness it has sparked. The US will never be the same. The rest of the world will also understand arcane aspects, e.g. delegate selection, they never thought they’d be interested in.
The US is fortunate that, this year, they have two anti-establishment candidates: Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Although they are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, they share some commonalities — delegate problems, for one — and attract anti-globalists. Both are disturbing the elites. Anti-globalists watching and reading on the sidelines hope both win their party nominations this summer.
We’re learning how complicated the delegate process is in both the Republican and Democratic parties. We see how jealously party panjandrums are guarding their corrupt Uniparty system. A Sanders supporter will agree with Trump when he says the system is ‘rigged’ and works against Bernie as well as himself.
We’re watching every primary result and assessing state delegate procedures. We understand that superdelegates can work against Sanders and that Trump’s victories do not lock in his delegates. We wonder to what extent the popular primary vote counts if party elites ultimately go against it.
We think it’s great that people like Trump and Sanders are shining light on the electoral process. We’re cheering as party leaders, comfortable in their corruption, are unsettled to find out that the average citizen is cottoning on to how the game is played.
Can we do anything about it? Probably not immediately. However, one thing is sure: the US presidential election has set off a strong demand for true transparency, a notion politicians often speak of but rarely deliver.
The words of Justice Louis D Brandeis are just as relevant today as when he wrote them in 1914 (emphasis in the original):
Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.
Those words appeared in his article entitled Other People’s Money—and How Bankers Use It. (The more things change, the more they stay the same.) Thanks to the election, perhaps 2016 will result in a leader of the free world who can affect real change instead of using it as a mere campaign slogan.