I don't usually really fuss much over US elections, although a chance that Palin could literally be a heartbeat away from the presidency is a bit of a worry. In practice there'll be little policy wise between the two main candidates. The Obama-McCain business bailout pact is an example.
Despite this there's great excitement in the US when the televised debates start. Such is the strong partisan element of US politics. But voters get to watch debates between two candidates among whose top corporate contributors are the financial institutions who have screwed the banking system.
It's pure theatre.
US voters don't get to see the third or fourth parties in the debate. This is because the televised debates are stitched up by and between the Republicans and Democrats not to allow any third parties into the game. The debates are structured beforehand and subjects decided upon to leave the viewer with little more than a press conference with rehearsed spin and catchy sound bites.
Such manipulation is as cynical and undemocratic as Putin's fiddling of the Russian presidential elections, where opponents to his heir were refused coverage or given airtime when no-one was watching.
The United States claims to export democracy. In the US presidential elections, democratic choice is a fiction.
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