Conventions

The American Democratic Party is meeting in Philadelphia this week to nominate Hillary Clinton as their presidential candidate. Last week the Republicans met in Cleveland and nominated Donald Trump. The real election campaign can now begin.

I didn’t watch any of the televised coverage of the Republican convention. I can’t think why I would watch this week’s proceedings either.

Not that there isn’t drama. The revelations that the Party chair was actively working to push Clinton’s candidacy will not do much for party unity. I expect a few people will have some words about that.‎ But, as much as I like politics and think it is the best of spectator sports (and one of the few that I have played that I am any good at), I have become bored with the 2016 presidential campaign. It’s been a year now, I just want it to be over.

I do give the Democrats a lot of credit for their apparent belief in a robust democracy. There is only one person they could possibly have nominated who could make the contest with Donald Trump a close one. To give the Republicans a chance they nominated Clinton. Sporting of them, if not very smart. Political parties exist to win, not to make a game of it. It seems to me that both major American parties have forgotten that this time around.

Eight years ago I thought Hillary Clinton was much more qualified for the job than Barack Obama. And she’s still more qualified than Trump. But I also see her as being long past her “best before” date. The woman has been at the forefront of national politics for a quarter of a century. In that time you are bound to make some mistakes, and some political enemies.  I think there are a lot of people who are just tired of her. Rightly or wrongly, in an era of suspicion of the established order she has come to represent the “establishment.”

In 2008 the American people voted for “hope and change.” I’ll leave it to others to answer the question of whether that is what they got. Clinton would seem to represent a step backward. She’s a career politician, a baby boomer, at a time when career politicians are not inspiring much trust and the boomers are looking to retirement. I suspect there are not many people, even Democrats, enamored or excited by the thought of her presidency.

Yes, she’s a woman, and the US has never had a female president, but is that such a big deal anymore? (Canada had its first female Prime Minister in 1993, about the time Hillary’s husband Bill Clinton became US president.) No-one doubts that a woman can be elected president, many people seem to doubt that Clinton should be the first one.

Maybe it is Canadian ignorance, but both Trump and Clinton have managed to choose for their running mate people I have never heard of before. I don’t know whether that shows my ignorance of American politics, or that they dug deep to find people who would not overshadow their campaigns. Theoretically one of these two men will be just a heartbeat away from assuming the presidency. And I imagine that many Americans joined me in the cry of “who?” when the names were announced. Are they the best the two parties have to offer?

So I won’t be watching the convention this week. I really don’t need to since the outcome is a foregone conclusion. Even a political junkie takes the occasional break.

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