Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The Race for The White House: So Much Fun The World Wants In

From today's Guardian:
My fellow non-Americans ...

The result of the US election will affect the lives of millions around the world but those of us outside the 50 states have had no say in it - until now. In a unique experiment, G2 has assembled a democratic toolkit to enable people from Basildon to Botswana to campaign in the presidential race. And with a little help from the folks in Clark County, Ohio, you might help decide who takes up residence in the White House next month. Oliver Burkeman explains how
I'm not sure how I feel about this, although I'm strongly leaning towards really bad idea. With all the shit that the Bushies are giving Kerry for his "global test" sentiment, this is something they will run with. The Guardian is aware of this and addresses it here:
It's worth considering at the outset how counterproductive this might all be, especially if approached undiplomatically. Anybody might be justifiably angered by the idea of a foreigner trying to interfere in their democratic process. But this year the issue is more charged than ever: the Bush/Cheney campaign has made a point of portraying Kerry as overly concerned about what other nations think, and the Democrat's ambiguous debate point about American foreign policy decisions needing to pass a "global test" has become one of the president's key lines of attack. "People don't necessarily want to hear what people from other countries have to say," says Rachelle Valladares, the London-based chair of Democrats Abroad. "If you contact someone you know personally in the States, and urge them to vote, it would probably carry twice the weight." Michael Dorf, a Columbia university law professor who has studied foreign influences on US elections, points out that it would not be to either candidate's advantage "to be seen as the candidate of the foreigners. Part of it's just xenophobia, but there is also a sense that, you know, this is our election: you vote for your parliament and prime minister, we vote for our president and Congress."

On the other hand, being from Britain ought to give you a certain leverage: in stump speeches and debates, Bush has repeatedly praised Tony Blair's cooperation over Iraq, making America's long-treasured alliance with the UK key to the president's defence of his foreign policy. Kerry, too, knows that he's speaking to a resilient strand of opinion when he emphasises the need for strong international alliances: a better coalition in Iraq, he constantly reiterates, might have saved US lives. (One recent poll suggested that 43% of Americans think that declining world respect for their nation is a "major problem".) As a British citizen, you can certainly wield some influence, but you could seriously alienate people too."
Any thoughts from you all?


Blogger Politico said...

Sure plenty. Since the US is a super power and does affect everyone's lives, I think the entire globe should get a vote- although we'd better find some other country, maybe Switzerland, to count them ;-)

October 13, 2004 at 11:06 AM  
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