The Republican race: Funny or frightening?

When Donald Trump descended the escalator in the lobby of Trump Tower accompanied by the sound of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In the Free World”, across America everybody held their breath. As the long-awaited announcement came – Donald Trump is running for President – there was a nationwide outburst of saturnalia, either because people actually believe Trump is the candidate to “Make America great again” (a plagiarism of Reagan’s 1980 campaign slogan), or they were sure they were in for some good laughs over the next few months.

Not one to disappoint, during his announcement speech Trump declared that when Mexicans migrate to the U.S. “they’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people”. From across the pond I could hear Jon Stewart crying tears of joy. Trump 2016 was upon us and it would yield a bounty of comedic material until either Trump dropped out or he was defeated.

However, fast-forward a few months and we find that the polls, across the board, are led by Trump. In a recent poll conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News, Trump led second place Ben Carson 32% to 22%, whereas a poll by Fox News has him leading 28% to 18%.

Given that the nominee for the Republican Party’s presidential candidate won’t actually be chosen until July 2016, these polls should not yet be cause for alarm. Although, there is something worrying about the fact that Trump is leading polls at all. People seem to be positively responding to a man whose political campaign can be reduced to four concepts: hysteria, paranoia, fear and deception. Whether it’s his explicit racism; his misogyny, epitomised by his suggestion that Fox’s Megyn Kelly asked aggressive questions because she was menstruating; his suggestion of a national database of Muslims that appears to be plucked straight out of 1930s Germany; or his idea of building a wall right across the southern border of America, paid for by Mexico, in order to stop Mexicans “flooding” into the U.S.; somehow something that Trump is saying is actually winning him support.

One can find no solace in the candidate polling at second place, Ben Carson, either. This delusional creationist who claims Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery and that homosexuality is a choice, seems to have little understanding of politics or reality. Having once said that he has never seen “a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away”, when asked how he would deal with being caught in the middle of a shooting he responded that he would just stand there and let the gunman shoot him, but tell others to attack the gunman to stop him.

There’s a long way to go before their nominee is chosen, but let’s just hope that the Republicans get serious before these political jokes get old. Meanwhile, for the Democrats…oh let’s face it, Hillary’s going to win, unfortunately.

Liam Kerrigan

[Image: NBC News]

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