The madness of the US presidential campaign

Donald TrumpNothing illustrates the madness of the US presidential campaign better than a short video recently published online – not even the fact there are no less than sixteen Republicans competing for the GOP nomination.

The GOP presidential nomination crowd has shades of a clown-car, but much less hilarious given the homophobia, ignorance, misogyny and racism of the candidates – when that car door opens, the first things to pour out are hate and incompetence.

You have to see the video in question to believe it. It involves Donald Trump, of course, who was attending a town hall event in Rochester, New Hampshire.

He invited the audience to ask him questions and an unidentified man, wearing a Trump t-shirt, had a doozy for him:

We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims.

You know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American.

But anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us.

That’s my question: When can we get rid of them?

This interaction is a tragic illustration of the current standards of the political discourse in the United States, and the utter unfitness of Donald Trump for public office of any kind, let alone the Presidency of the United States of America.

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Donald Trump didn’t bat an eyelid during the question. He did not challenge the man on his assertions that President Obama is a Muslim, and not an American, or the inherent, verging on the unstable, racism of the question.

Rather, he briefly interrupts the man with ‘we need this question. This is the first question,’ and finally responds with:

We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things.

You know, a lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening. We’re going to be looking at that and many other things.

A cringeworthy answer that’s absolutely bollocks, highlighting the lack of substance in the Trump campaign. But not surprising, given Donald Trump was seen as a leader of the so-called ‘birther​ movement’ fringe conspiracy theorists, who are convinced President Obama is a Kenyan born Muslim, and an illegitimate president.

This is not Donald Trump’s first major faux pas on the campaign trail, or before his candidacy, leaving one wondering just what’s happening to politics in America? How can such a man become the front-runner for the Republican candidacy for the 2016 election?

Among other things, he called Mexican migrants criminals, drug dealers and rapists, linked vaccines to autism, and suggested the moderator of the first Republican debate, Megyn Kelly, asked him tough questions because she was having her period.

Donald Trump’s views resonate with America’s right-wing, white-power nationalists and, whether he admits it or not, America’s white supremacists are becoming a key component of his support base:

I’m sure he would repudiate any association with people like me, but his support comes from people who are more like me than he might like to admit.
Jared Taylor, Editor of American Renaissance, quoted in The Fearful and the Frustrated (The New Yorker, 31 August 2015)

Donald Trump is the original poster-child for the worst embodiment of privilege and entitlement. Recently he even had the gall to compare his time at a military themed boarding school to active military service, inviting further ridicule.

Just how this walking punchline became a credible presidential candidate is a mystery.

On the bright side, every comedian in the world is praying for a Trump presidency. Although I am not convinced that a hilarious presidency is a good substitute for a stable and credible America, especially with an increasingly unstable Middle East, authoritarian Russia, and imperial China …

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