Things India Can Learn from the American Elections

The race for determining the next president of the United States of America has been going on for a quite a while now. It’s been over a year since the race heated up between the 3 candidates, with Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump securing nominations for the Democratic and Republican parties. Since then, there have been scandals, email issues, Benghazi, and what not, all of it culminating in 3 heavy debates between the two candidates. The debates have been televised the world over, and the election has drawn eyeballs from every corner of the globe. So, what can India learn from the ongoing American Elections? This remains the question for us.

American elections

Here we try to look at it objectively and provide a reasoned answer:

1. The Debates

It makes for good comparison to have the major candidates from the parties to participate in debates. The debates are a good gauge of the candidate’s potential to handle questions under pressure, informs people about their policy and what they plan to do if elected, as well as opens them up to questions from the public – which included questions from social media this time.

Using the same process in India would be beneficial for the populace, as they would find out the calibre of their leader, especially when fielding questions from the public, which they would have to answer on the spot, without much preparation. Thus, the candidates would have to work harder and do their homework, instead of just waving the flag of jingoism and appealing to communal ties.

2. Candidates Opening Themselves to Public Questions

Sure, you’ll say this is practiced in India as well. But how many of those questions are from actual people and not from party plants? Fielding questions from not only people present in the audience, but widely through the internet will lead to a huge pool of queries, and the candidate will have to be well prepared to deal with the onslaught. If he or she does well, then it will only solidify their claim for the job, if not, it’ll prove them to be the frauds that they are.

3. Communal & Caste Based Issues

Most of the discussions in the US elections have been around actual policy. The only thing which had anything remotely to do with caste or community was the talk around the Black Lives Matter Campaign, or the vitriol being spewed by certain candidates around Muslims. But even then, there was a certain line which they did not cross, unlike here, where caste politics dominate the landscape, and instead of actual progress, the candidates appeal to the base instincts of votes to advance their caste and the likes. We could do with less of brokering division, and more of spreading the balm of peace.

These are three of the most common differences between the Indian and US Elections, and it would do us much good if we took these lessons to heart.

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