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From Australia: fascinated, worried by American election

A sunny day in Melbourne, Australia, pre-pandemic. (Alyce Collett/YJI)

MELBOURNE – As we all know, the time has come again for another U.S. presidential election.

I’ve had an interest in politics, both in America and here in Australia for some time, but you may be wondering – why should an Aussie care about American politics? Well, I’ll tell you.

Parnian Shahsavary/YJI

As an Aussie watching American politics and the American election process, I have to say, Americans, at times your political and voting systems seem so confusing, long winded and foreign.

Sure, there are definite similarities between the two systems. There are two houses of parliament and we elect our members of parliament in our system, but that’s about where the similarities end.

We technically have no say in who our prime minister is.

We vote for our local member of parliament. Those votes determine who forms a new government, but the MPs themselves determine who their party’s leader is. In a way, the party’s policies are more important than the individual’s.

Our election campaigns are also nowhere near as long as yours. While you have primaries and other campaigning events over six months before your actual election, our election campaigns are never longer than roughly six to eight weeks.

I don’t know how you guys cope with such long election cycles.

Americans also have a lot more elections than we do. We only have the three (local, state and federal) whereas you have so many more, like midterms and ones for governor and school boards.

As for this year’s election, to say I’m worried about the potential result is an understatement.

I really do not want Donald Trump to win again. I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t read up on Joe Biden’s policies, but surely he can be nowhere near as bad as Trump.

As a feminist I’m also very pleased Biden picked a woman as his vice president nominee. It’s not the same as potentially having a female President, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

I’m certainly worried about what Trump will do no matter whether he wins or loses, but especially if he loses.

Since he has openly said he might not accept the result, will he follow the path of Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus? That is a worst case scenario, but we are also talking about Trump here. Nothing is out of the realm of possibility when it comes to him anymore.

Now to the elusive question of why us Aussies should even care about the American election when we have so many problems to deal with here at home.

Not only are we talking about the world’s most powerful country whose decisions could affect the whole world, but the U.S.A.’s current relationship with China and any potential changes in that relationship could have massive ramifications for Australia.

For those who are unaware, China is Australia’s biggest trading partner, and although the relationship between Australia and China has soured recently – not because of anything the U.S. has done – I worry what might happen if we had to pick sides in any potential future conflict between our biggest ally and our biggest trading partner.

So, the countdown is on to November. Good luck America – you have a lot of problems at the moment.

Here’s hoping you don’t create any more with whatever the election result may be.

Alyce Collett is a Correspondent with Youth Journalism International.

The World is Watching is an ongoing series with commentary from YJI students outside the U.S. about the American election. Read more:

From Bangladesh: Vote for democracy and free speech

From Panama: Don’t let history repeat itself

From England: America, your decision is important

From Turkey: U.S. election may encourage – or erode – global democracy

From Mexico: U.S. election will impact our economy

From Canada: We’re counting on you, America

From Nigeria: U.S. election means as much as our own

Polarized and burning, the world needs Americans to vote

From Australia: fascinated, worried by American election

From Morocco: America, we care how you vote


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