7 September 2008

A Question About Politics

I have been trying, for the most part, to stay away from posting about politics. But now that Canada is having an election, and as American election coverage goes to supersaturation, and silly season goes into hyperactive overdrive, I am finding the urge irresistible.

I have a question mainly for the Americans about a tendency I think I've seen in their politics, although I have noticed a similar tendency among the Canadian politicians. It seems as though the American election season is now perpetual. This is partly due to the nature of the American system, where elections for Congress are staggered and happen every few years. But even the presidential elections seem to be constantly on-going. Immediately after the last few elections I have heard news reporters say variations of "Now that this election is over, each side must focus on the next one. Who will be the next president?"

Something similar happens in Canada. Without fixed election dates, the ruling parties are always on the lookout for conditions favourable to a re-election with a majority government. The ability of the government to call a snap election means elections can happen at any time. Today, that is precisely what happened. The ruling conservatives believe the time is right for an election to a majority government and have called an election and set the date for Oct 14.

So on both sides of the border, it seems our politicians are constantly looking towards a chance at re-election, and campaigning is now eternal, even with no election on the immediate horizon. So the question is, if all our leaders are focused on elections, who, exactly, is leading?

No comments: