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Why do Americans get so giddy over election campaigns?

leeson43

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Now im not sure if im totally off the ball here...

every "international" forum i frequent online (most of which tend to have way more US users) i find that in the time running up to an election people seem to get a bit too excited.

people seem to show more passion for politics and their chosen party then a die hard football fan would show for their team? tons of people opt to change their avatar and signature for DIY banners that must have taken the user wayyy too long in photoshop to produce.

then when it comes to any topic related to politics people get so over the top, defensive and sometimes even silly?

in the UK, at least in my upbringing, its considered quite rude to ask someone who their voting for. some people put their chosen parties poster in their window or garden; sorry if this offends anyone on here, but people that do that are often the weird families on the street that people dont tend to speak to. of course its allover the news when a UK election is going on and people have to make a choice for their vote. all in all; no one really cares all that much

so... why do americans seem to get so giddy?
 

Tarmac

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okay, it's because we are stupid. we get you
 

odoreater

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Because our election is the only one in the world that actually matters.
 

Dakota rube

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This American — for one — is not at all giddy about this election.

It just seems so...Bataan Death March-ish.
 

DNW

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Originally Posted by leeson43
Now im not sure if im totally off the ball here...

Normally, you would be. This election is a little different due to a number of factors, with the biggest two being that: (a) Obama is the new messiah; and (b) a lot of people are sick and tired of the Republicans.

In other years, you'd be surprised how much people don't care about our election--especially when it's the most important in the world.
 

odoreater

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Originally Posted by DarkNWorn
Normally, you would be. This election is a little different due to a number of factors, with the biggest two being that: (a) Obama is the new messiah; and (b) a lot of people are sick and tired of the Republicans.

In other years, you'd be surprised how much people don't care about our election--especially when it's the most important in the world.


I think you forgot the biggest factor of all - the fact that Obama is the first black candidate with a serious shot at winning.
 

DNW

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Originally Posted by odoreater
I think you forgot the biggest factor of all - the fact that Obama is the first black candidate with a serious shot at winning.

He's black?
 

KhouriC

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i agree, this is particularly true for the presidential election since the people do not even elect the president! The electoral college elects the president. Furthermore, unless you are in a "swing state" such as Ohio, Penn, or Florida there isn't much of a battle for our historically bi-cameral system.

I for one am not voting since my state is already democratic leaning and will elect the guy i want anyway. If i was for McCain and still in NY i would vote just for the symbolic act of doing so.

State, Municipal, County, City, and local elections are the real battle grounds for change in your every day life.
 

TJS1589

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Originally Posted by odoreater
Because our election is the only one in the world that actually matters.

this made me laugh, but id say there is defiantly truth to it
 

sunshowers

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Originally Posted by KhouriC
I for one am not voting since my state is already democratic leaning and will elect the guy i want anyway.
Well, if every democrat thought the same way you do...
 

zalb916

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It's also a cultural difference. We Americans tend to be loud and aggressive. We have little shame and decorum in many matters. We are proud of who we are, what we believe in, and who we support. And we are damn well going to tell everybody how we feel.

The Brits are very different. There's a scene in National Lampoon's European Vacation sums up Brits perfectly. The Griswold's hit Eric Idle on his bike, and he keeps apologizing over and over to Clark Griswold. Brits have just have a different mentality. They don't want to come across as offensive in any way; whereas, Americans live for it.
 

v0rtex

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Originally Posted by leeson43
so... why do americans seem to get so giddy?

As a Brit living in the US, this is my first presidential election over here and you're really only getting 10% of the idea of just how much of a circus it is.

American politics is vastly different from UK politics, there's no easy answer to explain the differences. I'd imagine the following have something to do with it:

* Brits are a sceptical bunch and view all politicians as being as bad as each other. Americans are optimistic that politics can bring about real change for the better. They just don't agree on what "better" is.

* US elections are scheduled well in advance, so the parties have years to come up with campaigns, strategies and marketing. UK elections happen not long after they're (randomly) announced, and laws prevent advertising until a few weeks before the event.

* The UK is much less polarized and much more centre-left. All major UK parties agree on nearly everything, including issues like nationalized healthcare and keeping a decent distance between religion and politics, both of which are (sadly, still) highly controversial issues over here.

* Candidates/parties themselves direct talk away from policy and towards personal character or simplistic slogans. Some of the attack ads are quite incredible with their straw men and ad homonim name-calling.

* US news is shit. Most people are unable to structure a decent political argument because the news focuses on talking heads parroting party lines. There's 100 other channels to watch too, so the majority of Americans pay little attention to the news. There's 1 national daily newspaper left (The NY Times) which has less than 50% of the circulation of the UK's Daily Mail, for a population 6 times larger.

* Reaching 300,000,000 people in 3m square miles and 52 separate provinces - from billionaire CEOs in Manhattan to poor farm-hands in the mid-west - is much harder than reaching 65m people all within a relatively small and homogenous area. Some of the nuance is going to be lost just through having to get a message through to that many people.

Although at times it seems ridiculous, I prefer the Americans' optimism about politics (and pretty much everything else). The economy may be nose-diving right now but most people here are banking on the next guy to turn everything around and restore the US' reputation as the Greatest Country on Earth(tm). It's a nice contrast to the pessimistic Brit moaning how everything's crap, all politicians are con-men, and we'll never recover from this recession the current lot have gotten us into.
 

Jekyll

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^^
Excellent post.

One thing to remember is that although the media makes it seem the elections are all anyone talks or thinks about, only about 55% of the eligible voters voted in 2004. Which makes it slightly more important than the 2008 Super Bowl, which was watched by about 44% of households with a TV.


As an anarchist/libertarian who thinks both parties are full of shit, I will be glad when it's over.
 

GoSurface

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This election solidifies our celebrity obsessed culture. It's like we're voting for America's Next Top Model-in-chief.
 

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