With the New Zealand general election now done and dusted for the next three years it is time to glance further afield to the biggest show in town this year, the American general election.
In the post-World War II New Zealand of the 50s and 60s America was never far from the hearts and minds of many New Zealanders.
My parents' generation showed ongoing gratitude to America for stationing many thousands of troops here from 1941 onwards in an effort to stem possible invasion from Japan.
There was a real fear of invasion, not discounted for many years after the war until Japanese records showed that the possibility of being able to invade New Zealand and Australia was simply not feasible in terms of logistics and man power.
Many New Zealand families "adopted" American troops, bringing them into their homes to provide the young men with some form of comfort.
Most young Americans, far from home, reportedly felt honoured and privileged to know such families, many going on to have life-long friendships and marriages with New Zealanders.
Growing up in Wellington one was constantly reminded of the American influence on our way of life with regular ship visits from the United States Navy and Coastguard, nuclear-powered and probably nuclear-armed.
We were surrounded by American culture, films, shows, comics, literature, music, milk bars and American fashion. In the late 60s British fashion tended to rule in New Zealand for some reason but there was an American influence as well.
Many of my generation can remember where we were when President Kennedy was murdered in Dallas in 1963; we felt like one of our own politicians had died. Kennedy was popular here, he had fought in the Pacific, and he was the first American President of Irish Catholic extraction, something many New Zealanders identified with at that time.
America was supposedly our friend and ally. We were in Anzus, a military treaty with America and Australia. Our troops fought in Vietnam resulting in loss of life, serious injury and life-long illness for many brave men.
In the mid-1980s New Zealand asked the Unites States to only send non-nuclear-powered and non-nuclear-armed navy ships to New Zealand.
This polite insistence resulted in New Zealand being booted out of Anzus and down-graded as a country from ally to "friend". So much for friendship founded in adversity. From that time New Zealand has regarded America in a different, distant light.
Any contact with the American government is always on their terms. Questioning policy results in being shown the door.
Like New Zealand, Australia and Canada, America was mainly colonised by the British, the local indigenous people were subjugated or exterminated, and the colonisers were all white.
The similarities in terms of the white gene base and culture are overwhelming but America has never come to grips with its past history, including slavery which still shames its culture to this day.
The other three nations are far from perfect but do not seem to have the overwhelming social and class problems America has together with a stubborn self-belief of exceptionalism on the world stage.
Many Americans sincerely believe that they are the best, brightest and bravest people on the planet when the truth is somewhat different of course. I have heard of another people who thought that in the 1930s.
I have tried to work out what makes America tick by reading its history and some contemporary authors, admittedly mainly left wing as the American right wing scares me somewhat due to its Christian fundamentalism, ignorance of the world and its affairs and outright hatred and open condemnation of anybody slightly different.
Michael Moore, Joe Bageant and Bill Bryson are three authors who write of contemporary "Middle America" in not very glowing terms. Their books all precede Trump's Presidency.
According to these men lack of easy access to university education, appalling literacy rates, including among high school graduates, religious bigotry, viewing state-funded health care, housing and education as communism, low or no employment, below poverty level wages, poor health and short lives have been the lot for large areas of America for many years.
A willingness to resort to deadly violence against anyone, including authority, always simmers under the surface.
Middle America is predominately Republican and proud of it, proud of supposedly being the mightiest nation on the planet, proud of sending their under-educated children to endless futile wars.
To die to protect the American way of life in some hell-hole that most cannot even find on the map.
Middle America is Donald Trump's loyal base. He knows it and he knows how to use and motivate them. He will stoke the fires of their prejudices and play to fears based on ignorance of the world around them. If he loses the election what will middle America do?