Confession from a political junkie: I love elections.
I love civic elections. I love provincial elections. (I was tuned in closely to the results of the Quebec provincial election on September 4). I enjoy federal elections, even when they aren't necessary. Candidates' forums, leader debates, speculation, predictions and insights – I enjoy all of it. (Okay, I'm not a fan of the annoying political commercials that flood the airways throughout the election campaign, but even great things have their drawbacks).
A few days after the election, I like to “nerd out” and immerse myself in the results to find out where political parties and candidates enjoyed their greatest support, and suffered their greatest rejections.
So when I say that I can't wait for the U.S. election to end, you know that I'm being sincere.
American elections aggravate me. Start with the attack ads. Regardless of whether the race is for U.S. president, Congress or judge, attack ads are prevalent and accepted in the U.S. during elections. Attack ads are becoming more common in Canada, but Canada has a long way to go before those commercials are as problematic as they are in the U.S.
Then you have the national conventions. The Republicans had their convention in late August. The Democrats turn came in early September. President Barack Obama will speak to the Democratic followers. The Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, will speak to the Republican supporters. The backers for each party – who seemingly need someone to tell them how to think – applaud at the end of each presidential candidate's paragraph.
During the four-day convention, the presidential candidate's wife will speak. The vice-presidential hopeful will speak. Other politicians and party officials will speak.
If more 80-something celebrities were to converse with an empty chair, I'd pay more attention to these conventions. I wonder why they waste their time with these partisan love-ins, when the presidential candidates would be better served meeting the public and speaking with non-decided voters. (And in this U.S. election, there are a lot of undecided voters).
Canadians should care about the U.S. federal election and its results. We're the next door neighbours of the most powerful nation in the world. They're our biggest trading partner. The results of the election will have a significant impact on Canada over the next four years. It's important for Canada to have a very positive relationship with the U.S.
But American electioneering makes it difficult to be excited about American elections. I'll look forward to election day on November 6, and a chance to analyse the number in the days afterwards. That is, assuming we know the identity of the president in the days following the election. Don't count out a repeat of the 2000 election.