I know this insight has been made in other places, but presidential elections in the United States have fallen prey to the country's love for the "contest" and "competition" rather than its love for the actual process of government and getting things done that truly help people.
The entire process of electing a president now takes over two years! Candidates raise insane amounts of money, which could be put to good use elsewhere, in order to buy television adds and hire enormous staffs that spend all day sending out spam.
In the U.S. we love elections but hate the actual process of government.
It's hard to see how this tendency will change. For ratings purposes, the media will always choose to report on a national political contest over talking about universal health care options or the environment. Pundits will talk about Iowa and New Hampshire for six months while letting biggest political story of our generation, The Iraq War, go by the wayside.
In the American mentality Hilary vs. Obama is just another Yankees vs. Red Sox or Lakers vs. Celtics. A competition in which we can root for our favorite candidate as we would root for our hometown team.
Is there anyway to address this problem?
Well, for one thing the primary season should be condesed into one month rather than lasting six months. This would lessen the impact of states like Iowa and New Hampshire and allow nominees to be chosen quickly. In addition, there should be public funding of candidates so that no candidate simply wins becasue they have more money. Finally, the policial "elite" class should focus on campaign issues and not so much on the demographics and characteristics of the race. That is, rather than spending all day talking about generational, geographical, and racial divides in the polity, they should discuss Iraq, the environment, health care, and income inequality.