by M. Hussain
The US Presidential race is on, at full speed and it seems that the race is between two political personalities, focused around who they are rather than what their policies will be. Black? White? Old? Young? Male? Female? War Veteran? Neither side wants to lay down what exact policies it will have, and how it will manage the country. Both sides have shown complete support for Israel and have received their compulsory baptism at AIPAC.
Both parties talk about change without specifying what that change will be and it seems almost explicit that they realize that the American people have no choice - as long as the two candidates play to the book, America does not have a choice to lower defense spending, find alternative energy, fund education, deal with health insurance, to name a few of the issues at hand. But wait - is Obama and McCain the only choices? If you only get your news through the mainstream media, it would appear so. But if you take a closer look, you'll find that there are in fact other candidates - and ones that are willing to take on the issues at hand rather than vague promises of change in some distant future.
Let us not pander about whether these other candidates have a realistic chance - they don't. Not with the media doing a complete blackout on them and the strength of the two party system. However, the question I would like to know is, do these candidates have latent support? That is, if the media did play fair and gave all candidates a chance, if the United States was the democracy its forefathers envisioned, would they then stand a chance?
Polls on the internet are often useful to understand latent support because when you vote online, you often don't vote based on realism - that you leave for the actual polls - but rather, vote for what you really support. One interesting application that can be manipulated to gain this kind of a poll is the Facebook Application "Political Party". The application, as of today, showed the following support profile:
- Obama 27.11%
- McCain 22.94%
- Nader 21.06%
Another way to gauge latent support is to look at internet traffic. Using Compete.com, we can see the following profile of all the candidates:
Obama's web traffic dominates the internet. Yet we also see that there is latent support for Barr and Nader. Taking out Obama (highest traffic) and McKinney (lowest traffic), we find the following picture:
Before the media frenzy started right before 2008, we see McCain had reached 100,000 Visitors. We find that Bob Barr and Ralph Nader have also managed to reach 100,000 a few months later. Makes you wonder what could or could not have happened.
What could have happened if the media did not ignore them OR AIPAC did not "own the Casino" OR the two political parties did not dominate.
M. Hussain can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org