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US Elections: The World’s Favourite Spectator Sport – The Manipal Journal
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US Elections: The World’s Favourite Spectator Sport

The year is 2016, and in the United States of America, it means that it is time once again to elect a president. The entire world has its eyes on this country as politicians fight for the party nomination. Let us set the scene: leading the Republican race, we have Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in first and second position respectively, while in the Democrat’s corner, our contenders are Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Their goal is to win over the popular vote in as many states as possible to secure the presidential nomination of their party. While America watches the polls, the rest of the world watches America, as they face this crucial test.

The Republican Race

The main focus of this election year seems to be the Republican race, thanks to the emergence and popularity of Donald J. Trump. A familiar public figure in American media, Trump’s venture into politics was met with surprise and disbelief by the American public. His presence has been a polarising one, met with vocal support as well as opposition both within and outside his own party. His main contender within his party is Senator Ted Cruz, a well-established politician who has garnered a lot of support of his own.

The primary elections thus far have given Trump a strong lead against all of his contenders, as he’s swept 20 out of 32 states by a significant margin, and securing 735 out of 1,237 delegates required to win party nomination. Cruz comes in second, having secured 8 states and 461 delegates.

The Democratic Race

Both contenders in the Democratic race have vocal support and a wide base. Clinton’s voter demographic consists mainly of older voters, while Sanders has won the support of the youth, his popularity consistently rising with the millennials, creating a clear division within the party. The race has become a tight one after Sanders swept the last five state primaries.

The currently, Clinton has won 20 states out of 35 polled, and secured 1,243 delegates out of the 2,383 needed to win the nomination. Sanders has won 15 states and secured 980 delegates.

Why does it matter?

The United States is still a world superpower, both militarily and economically. Anything effecting the United States has a rebound effect on the rest of the world. Hence the rest of the world must keep a close eye on the American political scene.

The media is calling this year America’s big test. The popularity of Donald Trump and the division within the Democratic Party has the public on the edge of their seats as the date for party nominations draws nearer. As the primary elections provide us a glimpse into the mind-set of the American people, the world begins to wonder, what does this mean for the rest of us? This is something that goes beyond the potential foreign policies of potential candidates. It forces us to think about how America’s choice of a leader is going to affect them, and how changes within the country are going to affect international relations.

Shivangi Narain

justshivi@gmail.com

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