1 No other country can afford American democracy. The race to the White House is one long marathon unmatched anywhere else in the world. If stamina is what is required, the US system sets the highest standards.
2. But will such a system throw up the best leaders? Watching the race between Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama, a large part of the contest is about crafting speeches and sound bites, and endless spinning of one's position. The system of analysing and targeting voters is extremely sophisticated. Out of the cacophony, the American voter is supposed to be able to sense the core of a candidate and then decide in his own best interest. Ordinary people may not understand all the issues debated but, given enough time, they have the instinct to figure out who is the right man or woman to become President. That at least is the hope.
3. For a non-American, all the campaigning makes for drama and entertainment, if it were not such a serious matter affecting our lives. The US is the world's only superpower and has by far the world's largest economy. What it does affects everyone. Unfortunately, non-Americans don't have the vote. But that's the real world. We have no influence on China's or India's politics either.
4. A newspaper cartoon made a funny point the other day. If you vote for Clinton, you must be racist. If you vote for Obama, you must be sexist. And if you vote for McCain, you are both racist and sexist.