Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

So, who did American public send home in presidential X Factor vote?

Remember back when the US elections used to be all about us? Or so we fondly imagined ...

Candidate outreach to Irish American voters - traditionally a powerful constituency - meant that some sort of reference to our Troubles and peace processing efforts was more or less guaranteed.

Yet American presidential elections have always really been, as Bill Clinton's campaign famously pointed out, all about the economy, stupid.

And none more than this one as the US battles with the continuing legacy of the bleakest recession of our times.

Personality comes into it too, undoubtedly. This may have been the most expensive election campaign ever. But it's still the political equivalent of an X Factor. In the run up to polling day, the polls had it neck-in-neck. Too close to call. Down to the wire. What Dermot would call Deadlock.

So it's over to the public vote and the candidate you're sending home is ... By the time you read this the result should be clear. The interesting question is, with the American electorate seemingly so sharply divided, how will the losing faction take their man's defeat?

A colossal shoal of money has been spent on this battle at a time when many, many Americans are suffering enormous deprivation. Could you blame them for being turned off entirely by the lunatic excess of it all?

Whoever wins today will have his work cut out - not least in reuniting the US electorate.

And given America's international clout, whatever shape he makes of the job will of course, impact globally.

The American election is still about all of us in that sense.

Let's hope they have chosen wisely. In the immortal words of Mitt Romney on the campaign trail: "Tomorrow we begin a new tomorrow."

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