Healthcare remains another important point of difference. And here we have a three-way split. McCain would attempt to bring down costs and make insurance more affordable by stimulating competition and cracking down on the big pharmaceutical companies that he believes overcharge patients. Obama has some as-yet-unspecified plan to make insurance more accessible to those who want it. Clinton, clinging to the approach that proved politically disastrous when she headed her husband’s healthcare taskforce, would make insurance compulsory, even for young workers who neither need nor want it, and deduct the cost from their pay cheques if necessary.
Enough detail to make the broad point. This is one of the few elections that create for Americans what Ronald Reagan once called a time for choosing. In 1932 we elected Franklin Roosevelt and put paid to the notion that “that government is best which governs least”. In 1980 we elected Reagan, a Roosevelt-Democrat turned Republican, and put paid to the conservative war against Roosevelt’s New Deal.
This year we will have to choose between a man who is confident that America can ”“ indeed, must ”“ play a leading role in maintaining world order, even at the expense of domestic spending, and a man or woman who believes that America must concentrate its resources on the home front, while relying more on international institutions to keep the world’s democracies safe from its enemies. Little wonder that this American election has attracted so much attention in Britain and around the world. What happens in America won’t stay in America.