Sunday, November 4, 2012 | Categories: Episodes
I worry about the unprecedented number of untruths stated by the candidates this election and how extreme the political views (which do not represent the views of average Americans) have become on both sides.
I worry that the extreme views being presented are legitimizing the move to more extreme views here in Canada, and we've seen politicians at the fringes more boldly stating extreme views recently here. I don't want Canada to descend into the paralyzing bipartisanship that faces the U.S. and I worry that that is exactly what is happening. The parallels between the direction our Conservative party is going and the current direction of the American Republican party are notable.
Therefore I think that it is important to pay attention to U.S. politics and to sharply analyze how their politics influence our own.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Stephen Harper has his soul mates and ideological home in the more right wing end of the Republican Party in the U.S. It's no secret that he can barely tolerate Obama.
If by some miracle of election cheating (such as the two Bush elections) Mitt Romney is able to obtain power and set his more radical vice president loose on America, Stephen Harper will become the junior CEO of North America and the corporate oligarchy will control the continent.
Despite its use in our nations' propaganda, "democracy" as a practice designed to materialize the will of an informed electorate, has an increasingly tenuous grip on real public affairs in both nations (election rigging and disenfranchisement in various U.S. states, and robocalls in Canada).
The American election is critical to Canada. A Republican victory would fully grease the neoconservative machine north of the border. Canada will become even more transformed than it already has been during the Harper tenure as Prime Minister.
Terrace, British Columbia
I hope that President Obama is re-elected because he has a more evenhanded Middle East policy and so is less likely to bomb Iran. If Romney were to attack Iran's nuclear facilities thousands of Iranian civilians would be killed by widespread radioactive contamination. A full-scale war would ensue with Iran blocking the Strait of Hormuz. Of course NATO (and Canada) would come to the "aid" of the U.S. as in Afghanistan, to plunge the Western economies back into recession as taxes rise to pay for war and civilian infrastructure is allowed to crumble.
The big problem with the American electoral system is that it is a two-party oligopoly. The Libertarian presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, was interviewed on CBC Radio's As It Happens and he made a lot of sense, but his chance of winning is almost zero.
The presidential election process through the Electoral College is arcane. The electoral process needs to be reformed to be more democratic and equal across states.
Also the focus is too much on the presidential candidates and trashing the opponent rather than their party's platforms and key candidates. Will the Democrats be able to regain control of the Legislature? If not, even if Obama is re-elected, he may be unable to be effective, as in his first term, because of roadblocks in a Republican controlled legislature.
Port Moody, British Columbia
The CBC is part of the problem when it speaks of "both" candidates. There are 26 candidates for president on the ballot. You could at least mention Jill Stein (Green), Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Rocky Anderson (Justice) and Rosanne Barr (Peace & Freedom).
Vancouver, British Columbia
As a Canadian who has lived and worked in the southern U.S. I can suggest that the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on ads, the debate hype and the endless news spin and speculation has made not one whit of difference to most Americans' choice for president. Their vote is decided by religion, family tradition and regional cultural differences that will never be swayed by reasoned discussion or candidates' qualifications. It is like Canada's two solitudes, but along party rather than language lines.
Fredericton, New Brunswick
I believe the main reason why Obama has apparently not produced the results that American voters hoped for and expected after 2008 is that almost everything he set out to do was blocked by hostile and inflexible senators and representatives who dominated the two houses. Obama has been placed in a position very similar to that in Canada, where anyone who opposes the ultra-right agenda these days is denigrated and ridiculed.
Lark Harbour, Newfoundland
I seriously question the caller from Virginia who voted for Romney because he thinks Obama spent $5 trillion. I would maintain that it was George W. Bush who spent the money, in one form or another. Obama is just replacing it, even though he may only have dug another hole to fill in the one dug by Bush.
Victoria, British Columbia
It's quite remarkable, but not surprising, to listen to people talk about how American politics is so polarized. In recent years, many writers had been pointing out the lack of any real difference between Republicans and Democrats, especially in areas such as the economy and foreign policy.
With the illusion of choice being somewhat effectively exposed, the economic elites sought to create some daylight between the two parties without sacrificing their advantaged position, so they moved the Republican Party even further to the right. This, of course, requires some incredible self-serving dishonesty, but it doesn't seem to have bothered their wealthy base, or the less intelligent segment of society that they use to form a voting block, one bit.
Issues which are, or should be, of great interest to the population are deemed too hot to discuss. Even the devastation of Sandy couldn't bring them to mention climate change, as the fossil fuel industry propaganda has effectively shut down any meaningful debate.
The population is left to choose between entertainers, as American capitalists (and Canadians capitalists) relentlessly seek to participate in the abuse of the most exploitable workforces on Earth through such mechanisms as "investment" agreements.
If Obama wins, it will be about six or seven years, assuming the Republicans win the White House next time around, until the much-needed uprising for economic justice.
I'm a Canadian who just moved to California in September to do my PhD in American History. This summer I also volunteered for the Obama campaign, helping educated voters in Pennsylvania on the complications surrounding the photo ID law.
This election is critical for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that in this election we've seen the greatest assault on the right to vote since Jim Crow era segregation. There might be a black man in the White House but the collective American identity is still very rigid> It questions other racial minorities, religions and sexualities and rejects the idea that systematic racism and sexism can prevent someone from being able to "pull up their boot straps" and become a self-made man or woman.
I can't vote but I fear what the consequences will be for everyone living in the U.S. if Romney is elected president.
In 2008 we reaped the harvest of the disasterous Republican economic policies. Millions of people around the world paid with their lives for the Republican economics of greed. The bail out to repair that damage ran into the trillions of dollars. If people in the U.S. buy that economic insanity again by electing a Republican administration the impact will be enormous. Governments around the world do not have the resources to bail out a repeat of George W. Bush.
Canadians should fasten their seat belts.
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Thank you for your coverage of the election and the Canadian perspective. We have been following the election from both online coverage and through CBC radio. A couple of evenings ago, we hear of Gary Johnson via the program As It Happens. I was very glad to hear his perspective about how the choices are Coke and Pepsi.
There is a incredible amount of money backing the two-party system and this reduces their ability to be true leaders of a nation. Real issues such as global climate change, ending the drug war (through legalization of marijuana), and loss of civil liberties are not covered.
We watched the U.S. third-party debate on Youtube and got a very different perspective on foreign and domestic policy. I agree with Gary Johnson that regardless of who wins, the U.S. will be facing an economic downfall and will be bombing Iran.
Winlaw, British Columbia
A Republican insider commented that picture ID in Pennsylvania (considered a blue state) would win that state for Romney. Picture ID has not been brought in to fight voter fraud. It is a tactic to disenfranchise as many Obama supporters as possible. As a caller said, those voters are the poor and the elderly who often do not have picture ID because they can't afford the goods and services (cars, travel, etc.) where picture ID is required.
Victoria, British Columbia
The U.S. has such a huge effect on Canada that Canadians should be allowed to vote in American elections. My vote would be for Mr. Obama who hasn't yet had the chance to do the work he wants to do. He inherited so much garbage from the Republicans that I am shocked anyone would consider voting for Romney.
Incidentally, Mr. Obama gets blamed for spending but who's fault is that? The U.S. was in the black when Bill Clinton left office. It is the Republicans who are the cause of the state of affairs in the U.S.A.
Victoria, British Columbia
Mr. Murphy is knowledgable about a lot of subjects but apparently not aware about voter ID in Canada. I am a 69-year-old woman voter who has been voting since I turned 21. In the last couple of years in federal and provincial elections, we have had to provide photo ID to vote. I do not have a driver's license or photo OHIP card. The only photo ID I own is a passport and it is not accepted at the polls. Even though I have lived at the same residence for 46 years, the only way I have been allowed to vote is because my husband of 48 years is with me and vouches for me. It is a thorn in my side and I don't appreciate you saying it is not a big deal. I was recently at a hotel to register and did not have photo ID and this was quite a problem.
St. Thomas, Ontario
I am always surprised when listening to Americans talk about who they will vote for because they don't seem to know their own politics. I seldom hear them talk about the policies of the left or right. They seem to have no understanding that the right-wing program is to outsource the economy and bypass the American middle class in order for the few to gain astronomical profits. Do people really think that if they vote for the right wing that these people will share?
If Obama even breathes a notion of bringing jobs home, he gets called every Commie Pinko name going. I just don't get the thinking. Actually, I think that the appetite for thinking is a fundamental difference between the left and the right.
Embracing left politics requires thinking. The right seems to know that poeple don't want to do the thinking, and so it's successful to spout ideas like small government and free market enterprise and all those euphemisms that landed us in the 1% economy.
I wish for a world of Barack Obama and Justin Trudeau and Elizabeth May and Thomas Mulcair in a room talking about real things.
You raised the question about how is it that Canadian students can go to the U.S.A. to work (volunteer) for political parties in the current election. How is that different from Canadians volunteering to go to the U.S.A. to help with disaster relief as a result of Sandy? If individuals have skills (and a willingness) would it not benefit all regardless of citizenship?
Despite all the media hype on both sides of the border, election turnout is going to be low, some ten per cent less than the last election. Obama will lose about twenty per cent of his last vote, mostly young black voters. Mitt Romney could win the election almost by default.
The Republicans have savaged any effort by Obama to fix the economy. Romney supports the old Republican idea of trickle-down economics that David Stockman, Reagan's big finance man, brought in. When things went sour during Bush's spell, Stockman is quoted as saying that trickle down is tripe and won't work. So Republicans are holding Obama hostage to win the election and bring back Stockman's nemesis. I hope Obama wins.
Some of your callers came close to saying this but the bottom line is Obama has been trying to bring a coonscience to the U.S.A. Talk about going against the flow. It's always easy to do big business by bleeding as many resources so we can feed the American dream as fast as possible regardless of the long destructive picture of such practices on the environment. Let us hope that greed does not win out.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Mitt Romney is going to be the next president. On a practical level, his win will be good for the Canadian economy. People need to take the rose-tinted glasses off and look at the realities of their own lives, as opposed to being cheerleaders for someone else's vision. The U.S.A. is a capitalist country, pure and simple, and nothing is going to change that. Down there, being rich is not the problem, being poor is.
I grew up on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and lived in New Mexico and Colorado. I grew up in a Republican household and personally have favoured Democrats since early adulthood. I currently have dual citizenship and live in Alberta.
Neither candidate will be able to solve the economic problems the U.S. faces. Next year will be worse than this year, however, it is a decision as to who will be more compassionate in dealing with the problems? Who will listen to women regarding their needs in the work place and in the home? Who will be more likely to step in to prevent banks and financial organizations from taking advantage of Joe Citizen? Who will deal with abuses to the environment, or encourage the development of alternate energy sources and the growth of public education that all can afford? And who is likely to provide health care to all citizens?
Consider these questions and this becomes a no brainier.
I personal feel that Americans are smarter than the Republicans believe and on voting day they will decide to stick with what they got instead of returning to the policies of the past. I also see the American voter turning their backs on a Republican Congress.