The end of the beginning

I’m sure we’re all relieved to hear that the selection of the Democratic candidate for the forthcoming American election has now finally finished. What a waste of time, money and effort! It has taken months, and cost millions of dollars to decide which of the candiates gets to be number one, and which one gets to be number two (because let’s face it, it’s inevitable that they would go into the actual election together, one way or another). I admit that if they had decided by tossing a coin, or sitting down months ago and negotiating it, it might have had a different outcome, but set that risk against what all that they’ve gone through, and it starts to look like a reasonable solution to me. I think there’s a number of lessons in it.

  • Never put the word democratic in the name of a political party. Sooner or later there’s a time when it would be better for a group of leaders to make a decision, instead of putting things to a massive vote, but because of the name, the party is left with no choice. I can see the DUP hitting something like this too in the near future.
  • There would seem to be a long tail arrangement in the Democratic primaries – one analysis this morning indicated that the Clinton campagin focused on fewer, bigger states, with the assumption that the smaller ones would come into line. Obama seems to have foxed that strategy by winning a large number of smaller states, which added up to more votes in the end. That’s very Long Tail (which I haven’t finished reading yet, but I’m getting there).
  • I can’t help being depressed that at the end of all this, the actual proper election campaign hasn’t even started yet. It’s always possible that the American people might choose McCain instead. Let’s face it, after all this effort, it’ll be a real disaster if he doesn’t win the actual election, and ends up having to make environmental documentaries.
  • There’s a part of me that is vaguely troubled by the media coverage of American politics in general. The British media has very little good to say about George Bush, ever, and yet his popularity in America has only slumped fairly recently (after all, he did win a second term in office). I think that means that the American media are probably presenting him differently to ours. Is it possible that the truth lies somewhere in between? If that’s the case, do I really understand enough about American politics to have an opinion on any of this?


One Response to “The end of the beginning”

  1. Niall Says:

    Followers of “Folks on the Hill” ( will notice that last week’s programme had an excellent discussion between “Dubya” and one of the local politicians, where it was explained in simple terms that Irish Republicans supported American Democrats and vice-versa.

    OK … maybe it was much funnier to watch than to read about 🙂