We in England may have pantomime but the Americans have something far more entertaining and theatrical in their US Presidential race and Republican primary. Ben Viney takes a look at the story so far in the race for the oval office.
Donald Trump, host of the apprentice, smarmy business man and oversized orang-utan is the villain of the analogy and is leading the race to win theRepublican nomination so as to battle the democratic choice for the presidency. He was part of a 17 strong Republican field that over the previous few months has dwindled to a trio of candidates consisting of himself, Ted Cruz (R) and John Kasich (R). The Trump phenomena as it’s been labelled has been largely propelled by the free media that he receives because of his so called ‘charismatic demeanour’ and outrageous statements that gets the big news corporations (CNN, Fox, MSNBC) greater viewing figures for their debates leading to more income from company advertising during breaks.
Whilst a growing number of Americans who want to rebel against the establishment politicians and corporate media are coming out in droves to vote for him state by state. His supporters are rightly fed up with the bought politicians and the dire state American politics is in but it doesn’t excuse his other positions and his racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric that causes the xenophobic behaviour that can be witnessed at the majority of his rallies and speeches, where repeatedly minorities and peaceful protesters have been spat on and sucker punched by his blindly following supporters.
Trump’s own campaign manager just last week was charged for yanking a reporter to the ground. The primary system, at least in terms of the Republicans consists of every state’s Republican electorate voting in turns for a candidate handing each one delegates roughly depending on the percentage of the vote they receive in that state. Trump has 845 delegates, Cruz 559 and Kasich insignificantly has 148 to date. 1237 is the count needed to win a majority and the nomination but all three are likely to fall short despite Trump being predicted to win all of the remaining states, it would then go to a contested convention where the Republican establishment who Trump has maligned so much and who his supporters detest will be able to pick a new nominee or one of the establishment candidates like George Bush’s older brother Jeb.
Botched tans and dodgy hairdos aside Trump and Cruz the two candidates most likely to be the nominee if the Republican voters force the establishments hand, both candidates are poisonous and disgusting human beings whether you take their positions on the middle east where Cruz would like to carpet bomb and turn the ‘desert to glass’ or Trump who says we need to take out the innocent family of terrorists so they know ‘America means business’ or their repugnant views on women who Trump says should be punished for having abortions and Cruz’s wish to defund planned parenthood the number 1 provider of help for women health care because 5% of their service provides vulnerable women abortions. Don’t worry about climate change though it’s a complete myth apparently. Here’s the Donald at his misogynistic best:
On the saner side of American politics the Democrats have been fighting for their nomination in a less crowded field with Hilary Clinton (D) and Bernie Sanders (D). Their campaigns have been largely run on the issues that actually affect American families: healthcare, education and money in politics but there are still big differences nonetheless. Clinton the corporatist is running a campaign funded by big corporations while Sanders is funded by the individual americans who donate an average of $27.
Sanders has used this largely to his advantage and has picked up on the angst of the working class and young Americans burdened with university debt. He has become something of a political celebrity so when university students were polled on which celebrity they would want to meet, Bernie finished top above Beyonce. His momentum has picked up recently and despite being significantly behind Hilary for a long time had caught up until the New York primary that just happened on the 19th of April where Hilary gained a further 33 delegates on Bernie which many in the US establishment have been calling the end of his campaign as a serious threat. The Bernie movement now needs huge wins in the states left, most importantly in California the state with the most delegates and most liberal voters in the country.
A note on super delegates though. While Bernie could beat Hilary in the delegate count, the democratic party has its own democracy quashing trick in super-delegates. They are elites in the democratic party such as ex governors and senators which have the power of around 1000 primary voters and if they so wish can swing the election towards the candidate of their choice. Hilary’s current super delegate count stands at 469 to Bernie’s 31 despite him being much closer in delegates. The honest American voter will hope though that like in 2008 when Obama beat Hilary the super-delegates will switch to the candidate that gets the higher delegate count. Away from the corruption and electoral rigging does stand a beaming beacon of hope, a man who has for his entire political career been consistently progressive on abortion, gay rights and preventing illegal wars while Clinton, her husband and others have pandered to to which ever side of the issue promotes their careers. Bernie Sanders a man who voted against the Iraq War, marched with MLK and has never taken a penny from a corporation or bank could be the very man to change the political scene and create a government in America how it was originally intended: of the people, by the people and for the people.