I have been tempted to ask my American online friends and acquaintances to explain the complexities of their electoral system. I read their blogs in the hope of learning about such things as caucuses and Super Tuesday but I suppose they just take it all for granted and don't feel the need to explain. I'd like to ask them how, in the land of Democracy, small groups of women meeting for coffee in a midwest town can decide who is to run for president - I expect I've misunderstood. Another thing I've probably got wrong is thinking that only multi-millionaires can become president; that seems to be as much a given fact as that only Scots can become prime minister here.
As far as I can see from our news coverage, the whole presidential selection procedure is more about image than policy. Barack Obama, apart from being the first black potential president, appears to represent change but in a rather unspecified way. I've heard him described as the most eloquent public speaker since Jefferson, so perhaps he'll get in on words alone.
I had to rack my brains to remember the name of the Republican candidates, never mind recalling anything about what they represent. That's probably down to our press coverage, too. It would seem that John McCain is likely to be a clear winner and his appeal is that he is admirable as a Vietnam war hero and deserves sympathy because he survived torture.
That leaves Hillary. She is the first woman candidate, she is apparently a good lawyer and has a lot of experience. Unfortunately she has to live down certain family connections so she uses tears to win the sympathy vote. But McCain is after that vote with better credentials. What's a girl to do?
I thought everything would be clear by the end of today but I've just read that the process for selecting the Democratic candidate could rumble on. What comes after Super Tuesday? Wonderful Wednesday or Fantastic Friday? I'm not interested in party politics, since I can't vote, but I would like to have a better understanding of the procedure for choosing a president. Do the candidates who have battled each other for nomination become campaign buddies for their party once the decision is made? Does everyone get to vote for the president as well as for their local representative?
I'm embarrassed to admit my ignorance on these matters but I've asked around and no-one I know can answer these questions either. I would appreciate a simple explanation of the basics.