It’s election season in America again

All too soon, another American election is at hand. In less than two weeks, the famous Iowa Caucuses will take place to kick start the presidential primary season in the world's much touted, much-followed and much looked-up to democracy.

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Election season in America is always an interesting, exciting and a great learning experience not just for Americans but for the rest of the world.

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America is one of the world’s oldest, most admired and most experienced democracies.

 Many countries across the world follow American democracy, politics and events happening over there out of genuine interest.

Whatever happens in America’s democracy, therefore, is critical because the rest of the world is watching and perhaps, learning.

In many ways, American democracy has become the exemplar of democratic practice worldwide.

Of course, America itself is facing its challenges when it comes to democracy, but the time-worn practices, institutions, traditions and systems still exist and gleaning or learning from how the pax-American democracy has been practised over several decades is always worthwhile.

Beyond that, it is always interesting to see how Americans navigate their challenges when it comes to democratic practice.

This could serve as either a cautionary tale, a guiding framework or a teachable precedent for grappling with some of the teething problems that may come up in our democracy.

How does the primary system for instance work in America and how is that different from Ghana?

 Is there something we can do to make the primary system stronger and more representative here in Ghana?

For instance, I have always been impressed with how participatory, invigorating and electrifying the primary season is in the United States. 

Comparison

Let’s not forget that we just completed our primary season in Ghana so there will be useful fodder for comparison. 

The direct primary system and the pro-competitive nature of it and the serious opportunities it presents for reform.

In the originalist consideration of pure democracy, the consideration of popular will, the people’s vote, choice and competition are fundamental.

Prioritising the people’s mandate, the voice and choice of the people and not just the party machine or exclusive delegates right at the primary levels and not just the general election should be the progressive ideal we should be aspiring towards.

Hopefully, I will be writing more on this in subsequent weeks, but this is one such discursive point to glean from the robust primary system in the United States.

We also know that America’s policies are far-reaching. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has emerged as a uni-polar superpower nation though current global calibrations show other emerging global forces.

Still American policy, resources, support and influence reverberate across the world.

In a globally interconnected world, we here in Ghana, Africa and other nations need to know not just what is happening across the world but the various policies, positions, ideologies and standpoints of those who will one day be at the helm of affairs in one of the greatest nations on earth. 

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How would their worldview and framework affect relations with Africa and the rest of the world?

How will it for instance affect the global march towards fighting some of the most debilitating issues in the world such as international conflict, virulent diseases, pandemics, public health, environmental concerns such as climate change and trade imbalance?

Buzz

In the upcoming primary, the buzz will be heavier on the Republic side as they are the party out of power with no sitting President.

Donald Trump is seeking to make a comeback to the White House and win or lose, this may be the beginning of one of the greatest political soap operas or adventures in modern history. 

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He is being challenged by a coterie of other aspirants including a female candidate, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and 38-year-old biotech billionaire Vivek Ramaswamy.

On the Democratic side, President Biden has indicated he will run again for a second term, therefore, keeping any contention or competition for the Democratic flagbearership at bay.

Biden relishes running against Trump once again calling his second contest a “fight for democracy”.

And so, we do have at hand an interesting general election to look up to. 

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However, before then, there will be a lot of action within the Republican Party as it seeks a candidate to challenge President Biden.

This primary process presents a promising opportunity for teachable moments, democratic learning and comparative analysis in the march towards democratic consolidation not just in the United States but in Ghana, Africa and across the world. 

The writer is a political communication analyst.

He is the author of the book The Afrocentric Obama and lessons on political campaigning.
Writer’s E-mail: [email protected]

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