It’s Super Tuesday. After today, there will finally be a clearer indication of the Democratic party nominee frontrunner.
Until now, the US election felt more like a domestic tussle. A family feud in which Democrats tried to find the candidate who could most effectively take on Donald Trump.
Not an easy task for a party torn between Joe Biden’s establishment centrism and Bernie Sanders’s call for revolution. The process is complicated and technical, not to mention flooded with money. It is as much a name-making exercise for some nominees, who know they don’t stand a chance, as it is a serious competition between very different frontrunners. And even when one candidate secures the nomination, there will be no shortage of technical vagaries.
As a result, US election coverage is not much different from an obscure sports event, leaving most of us overwhelmed and confused by horse race statistics, with only a few political junkies really following the game.
At The Correspondent, we try to stay away from this breaking news kind of journalism as much as possible. As your Better Politics correspondent, I too am often conflicted by the expectation that the world should have an interest in what essentially is a domestic election, albeit one in an influential world power. I certainly have too strong an interest in the election of a country I have never lived in or have any close ties to. Sometimes, it even feels like succumbing to US cultural hegemony, an inescapable domination of the airwaves.
But still, beyond the entertainment, the US election is probably the most significant international political event in terms of its foreign policy impact.
It’s not just dramatic military campaigns. US foreign policy also influences economic trade deals, supranational security pacts, and climate change agreements. And as Trump has proven, the view that US political institutions are more established and larger than who sits in the Oval Office has been exceptionalist fiction.
A little bit of me still believes in the exceptionalism. So even though Trump’s victory has exposed the country’s racism, sexism and xenophobia (no news to most outside the US), I am still rooting for the idealised version of the country.
So, that’s why I wanted to ask you, members of The Correspondent: what would you like to see me, your Better Politics correspondent, focus on with regards to this election – if anything at all? Other correspondents are reading along, so if you have suggestions for their respective beats, feel free to leave them here too.