The politics of those United States of America are strange. Sometimes they’re weirder than other times. It’s generally agreed that things are pretty weird right now and what’s clear is that people don’t know how to react. I recall a scene from The Simpsons a number of years ago illustrates this situation to some degree:
Kent Brockman: Ralph, both parties want to offer you their nomination. Whom do you like?
Chief Wiggum: Go ahead, Ralphie. You’re invited to two parties, one with a donkey and one with an elephant. Who do you like?
Brockman then goes on to assume that Ralph was giving a serious answer (President Nixon’s Chief of Naval Operations!). Not long ago Ted Cruz used Fonzie’s jumping of the shark to suggest that the Republic primary had reached that particular level of absurdity. I haven’t heard anyone disagreeing. In fact, most people are worried. But there are reasons not to be. I’ve explained them a few times over the week and it seems like a lot of the “ZOMG TRUMP!” angst would be far less when you remember the following, especially if you’re not American:
• Trump is running for to represent the Republican party in the general presidential election. He’s not (right now) running for president.
• Voting in these nominations is restricted to member of the Republican party – this is really important to understand. This part of the process isn’t representative of “All Americans”, just conservative ones and just the ones that show up to vote.
• The first of the big states to go to the polls for this is Iowa. Iowa has a large evangelical Christian base, who he doesn’t appeal to.
• He also doesn’t appeal to the majority of the Republican “establishment“. This means while it may look like he has support, it’s actually a very vocal minority. Like The Tea Party.
• He was endorsed by Sarah Palin.
• This is going to cause havoc for the GOP no matter what happens. There is no Plan C. Nobody expected it to go down like this.
Ted Cruz is pretty much as unappetising as Trump. Now with less than a week to go, they appear to be the only significant names in town apart from Rubio. Neither of them have any chance of winning the presidency if put up against Hillary – current numbers have her at 50% VS Trump’s 17%. This means, depending on how the Republicans handle it, the Dems will be in power for another 4 years at least. This is great news – it will give the progressive policies Obama has set up time to settle in. They’ll be able to bed down common sense reforms and, if they manage 8 years, a chance to recover America’s standing in the international community by focusing on diplomacy rather than bombing people. Polls are annoying and often not worth much – another way to look at the potential outcome of the conventions this year would be to check the betting odds. Regardless of these numbers, we’ll only find out on Wednesday.