Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Here we go again.  The American presidential elections are already in full swing.  Everything could be called banal if it were not for Donald Trump who is one of the many, often obscure, Republican candidates.

The primaries concentrate on a couple of states which candidates would normally choose to fly over rather than make a stop-over. Those states, which can look like a refuge for bigots, evangelicals, anti-gays, pro-lifers and gun addicts, are important insofar as they send delegates to the electoral college which chooses the next president. Conservatives do not even bother to campaign in California or New York, considered lost for their holy wars.  Hence, the Republicans choose to play to an audience which is politically essential and sociologically not to be found in the culturally more advanced Greenwich timezone.  All this was to be expected (yawn) until Donald Trump...

Since he entered the race, the real estate business man has almost insulted everyone while aggrandizing his money (there is plenty of that) and himself (there is more to him than Shakespeare's "pound of flesh") while deriding his fellow candidates.  Lately, he has attacked Senators McCain and Graham in the most undiplomatic terms. McCain is considered a hero and a wise statesman. (One tends to forget that the senator once quibbled that Chelsea Clinton was the illegitimate child of Hillary Clinton and Janet Reno...speaking of good taste!)  But now is now, and Trump relishes undressing the "political elites". This has given him an audience but I doubt that this will be translated into sustainable support. Besides, the soundbites are no substitute for political and diplomatic argument.

Other candidates, Republican and Democratic, look mostly tame, boring and predictable in comparison, although the Republicans do have some interesting up starters. On the Democratic side Mrs. Clinton is like a Nyqil, without the high.  She nods a lot and seems unable, so far, to awaken her troops.  She is so cautious that she ends up sinking in the quicksand of non-argument.

The primaries and caucuses bring the worst out of candidates.  Some feel they have to figure awkwardly into an unfitting scenario or ice cream shop photo-op while others (mostly in the unabashed right camp) feel at home in an America, unspoiled by the unstoppable social changes in the Sodoms and Gomorrahs of East and West coasts.  Contrary to what Europeans believe, the United States are not the New York Times.

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