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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

The election from afar

The perspective of the presidential election from down under

With the amount of coverage the American presidential election gets in Australia, you’d swear the Aussies were electing a new Prime Minister.

Everywhere you look here—on news broadcasts, in magazines and on the covers of nearly all the daily papers—you’ll find the now infamous visages of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. When pictured, they’re shown duking it out, their faces contorted mid-speech and scolding fingers pointed at one another. Reading the newspaper each morning, with its coverage of the latest debate or scandal, makes me feel as though I’m back in the States. That is, of course, until I reach an opinion piece about Malcolm Turnbull and I’m once again reminded where I actually am.

In all seriousness, though, we have Australians (and, I would argue, most of the world) on edge right now. I didn’t consider it much prior to arriving here, but Australia mirrors a great deal of its culture on that of the United States. While this is sometimes beneficial for the country, it’s also precisely what makes this election season so horrifying. As my Australian friend Emily says, “[the U.S. election] is something that will surely have effects on us, but we can do nothing about it.” Although we’re technically electing a leader of only the United States, our decision will have repercussions far outside the land of the free.

Despite this grave truth, the entire election ordeal is seen as somewhat of a joke over here. When people talk with me about the nominees, they’re absolutely perplexed by the fact that Trump has made it this far in the race. Clinton fares a bit better, with people tending to regard her in a more positive light. Yet more often than not, Australians prefer Clinton simply because she’s not Trump. Third-party candidates are rarely mentioned in the media or in conversation. People wonder how the race to the White House has boiled down to this: a decision solely based on who’s the lesser of both evils. The idea of having a fairly strict two-party system is absurd to most Australians. Now, one could potentially say that Australia is taking a similar route to the U.S., with the prevalence of their Liberal and Labor parties; but in actuality, they have a great deal of political groups with relatively the same amount of popularity and prominence.

Though Australians may have more viable parties to choose from in their elections, there is something our elections certainly have more of: Time. The election has essentially been going on for one year now, beginning with speculation of potential candidates and culminating with these last few debates. Australia’s last election, which took place in July, lasted for a total of eight weeks—and that time span was considered to be far too long. The sheer length of the U.S. election process is considered unnecessary, annoying and even indulgent to Australians. But then again, you find people with similar views in America.

Watching the U.S. presidential race unfold from the vantage point of Australia has been both enlightening, but also dismaying. While I’ve been here, I’ve been able to see America in a very different light, one that isn’t always the most flattering. But even the negative opinions and remarks have been invaluable, causing me to rethink some of my views and strengthen others.

Even if you’re not residing out of the country, it might be beneficial to try to examine this election through the eyes of someone who is—because at the end of the day, this isn’t just about us.

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