This post is a part of our International Voices column, written by international UT students & staff, for UT students & staff.
America has just gone through an election to find its 45th president. Everything from the economic situation to national security depends on the result of an election. If the winner doesn’t have a vision for future and about the progress of the country, then the people will suffer. So the people of a nation should always take it seriously.
If I compare the election process in US with India’s, I actually felt that the election here was very quiet one, though it was such an important one. I was closely watching the election process here, because an election was conducted in Kerala (my home state in India) to find its 12th Chief Minister at the same time. Since this is the first election that I witnessed in the U.S, I compared both election process and campaigning methods that the candidates followed.
My first thought about the election: where is the election?
Spirit of election is always spread across all over India. All the parties and candidates place huge placards everywhere, not just in designated areas. Campaigning is aggressive and they don’t worry at all about interrupting people’s daily life. You may be surprised to see that the election campaigners may confront you while you walk in the roads, markets, or shops. They boldly march through the roads and along the sidewalks. All these will culminate in a chaotic, one-day election. People in India (or at least Kerala) carefully follow the election process and they actively listen to news and candidate’s past involvements.
Here, in the U.S, it seems that billboards and placards are carefully placed in the ground only in permitted places, and protesting and campaigning are done within the limits of laws during a long three-week controlled election. The major difference between US and India elections is: In the US, only two major parties (Democrat and Republican) are involved while in India 7 major political parties and countless local parties are competing. In India, if no one gets majority then they make alliances with other small parties. So the party who gets more elected candidates will rule the country/state. In America, people vote directly even for high-level candidates and the President will be elected based on the votes received in the electoral college system. In India, elected members of parliament gather in parties and alliances to select the chief minister or prime minister based on their control of the legislature.
However, I have also noticed a lot of similarities between the election styles of U.S. and India. Candidates freely abuse their opponents by using bad words and continue this until the campaign is over. It is very hard to watch TV since candidates’ advertisements come every other minute!