Bernie, Hillary raise bar for U.S. democracy

It is not often that foreigners and foreign media houses today praise the U.S. for demonstrating at home and abroad its commitment to the ideals of democracy.
Rather, it is far more common to hear comments that are consistent with an old joke that may still find favour in European circles:
Q. What do you think of democracy in the USA?
A. That is an excellent idea. I think the Americans should try it!
The Caribbean Camera is therefore pleased to venture into that positive mode in the context of the presidential election campaign commanding media attention in the 51 states of our neighbouring country.
The Camera is also pleased to go forth in that direction because of the stark and even ugly contrast between the two major political parties, Democrats and Republicans, in terms of the tone and content of the campaign platforms and the strategies of their respective candidates and supporters (including especially their supporting media voices).
Here is the essence of that contrast. Without fail, the campaign of the candidates for the Democratic Party has featured several major policy issues that are very important for the wellbeing of the American people. On the other hand, the Republican candidates and their supporters are heavily focused on personal attacks against each other and on taking the most intolerant and disrespectful political positions on Muslims, immigrants, Mexicans, women and on what constitutes the national identity of the U.S.
That contrast raises a critical issue in the never-ending debate on the nature of democracy and its role in the electoral process. Traditionally, the generally accepted view among the media pundits, the intelligentsia and the academics specializing in political science and in journalism has been that election campaigns should focus on the policy issues, not mainly on personal attacks on one’s political rivals and opponents.
The Camera shares that ethical view and is therefore sorely disappointed, but not surprised, at the nature of the campaign agenda of the Republican candidates for the presidency of the country that is still regarded as the strongest political and military power in the world.
Luckily, that sad reality is counter-balanced by the healthy rivalry within the Democratic Party between Bernie Saunders and Hillary Clinton, animated from time to time by the respected non-candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren.
The “democracy value” of that rivalry between the two front-runners among the Democrats is substantially enhanced by the most significant difference between these two personalities, their politics and indeed their outlook on life.
In a sense, that difference is a stark one even though both these candidates belong to the same party.
Saunders is an idealist obsessed with the fight to put in place right away the ideal policies (such as all-inclusive universal medical care for all Americans) that would satisfy the needs, rights and aspirations of all segments of the population.
Clinton, on the other hand, essentially agrees with those goals but is convinced they are not politically achievable in the short-term and must be won in carefully calculated stages and political struggles over the long-term.
That is why the policy and strategy debate between Saunders and Clinton plays such a critical role of compensating for the embarrassing void left by the Republican candidates in the presidential campaign.
The irresponsible political positions the Republicans take on a few issues and their deafening silence on the other major issues – issues that affect the bread-and-butter of individual American citizens and the bottom-line of American businesses – destroy their chances of winning the presidency.
It is therefore likely that democracy in the U.S. and the wellbeing of its people and its economy will be better served by either Bernie the Challenger or by Hillary the Consummate Pragmatist.