It seems to have been going on for ever but the truth is, it hasn’t even started yet. I am of course, referring to the greatest political show on earth, the US presidential election.
This year’s crop of hopefuls contains demonstrates once again the diversity of America’s millionaire class. In addition to middle-aged white guys, there is an African-American, a Jew, a Latino and a Canadian, who is also a Latino. Why there is even a woman.
Let’s take a look at the leading runners and riders, starting with the Democrats.
Bernie Sanders –He’s got a great platform: world peace, a greener planet, free healthcare, free college education and getting tough with corporate tax dodgers. Who wouldn’t vote for that? Well lots of people actually, especially in America. His biggest problem is he a socialist, a political insult in America only marginally better than liberal, and almost as bad as the ultimate put-down – Muslim.
Verdict: Will start well but won’t last the distance
Hillary –this gal is a seasoned pro and like Madonna is known only by her first name. Her main selling point is her experience –she has already done two terms as president while Bill was busy doing, er, other things. She would walk through brick walls to gain the presidency with Terminator-style single-mindedness. It was a surprise when Barack Obama beat her eight years ago. Everybody thought she had been turned to liquid metal, but like Arnie – she’s baaacck.
Verdict: tenacious opponent that will be hard to beat. Evens
The GOP field is much wider and funnier – let’s look at the leading contenders.
Jeb Bush – you have to pity poor Jeb. Imagine sitting around the Thanksgiving dinner and you’re the only one that has never been president – that’s real peer pressure. His surname seems to be his sole claim to the job but even his own mother reckons there have been enough Bushes in the White House. She’s tired of her husband and son calling each other ‘41’ and ‘43’ and can do without a ‘45’.
Verdict: Long shot. Might be the go-to candidate if the party can’t decide on any of the others.
Ben Carson – has based his candidacy on the idea Black Presidents are like buses – you wait over 200 years for the first one and then two arrive at once. He has no experience in any political office but is a brain surgeon, which is downright scary – who knew doctors were this dumb? Anybody who thinks the Pyramids were grain stores is too stupid to be on a TV game show let alone become president.
Verdict: No chance. The Good Old Boys in the South will not tolerate two black president in a row even if he is more conservative than they are. There would be another civil war first.
Ted Cruz – appears almost sane at times. He professes deep faith which should gather the evangelical vote and his Hispanic background might help with a community the Republican Party seems intent on antagonizing. He should give a good account of himself but his Canadian birth could see him sidelined for the nomination. The Democrats only need to call upon The Boss, a confirmed supporter, to re-release his single, Born near the USA and Ted’s campaign will sink without trace.
Verdict: Worth an each-way bet.
Donald Trump – the Teflon Don has re-written the laws of political physics. Outrageous remarks that would bury most candidates just make him more popular. He wants to build a wall along the Mexican border citing the Great Wall of Chinese as his inspiration because it was excellent at keeping illegal Mexican immigrants out, though not so good at repelling Mongol hordes. If it gets built in the middle of a river as he proposes, it might be possible to see it from space in the same way Sarah Palin can see Russia from her house. His staff are secretly polling proposals for concentration camps and if the numbers are good he will release a policy document, The Final Solution to the Muslim Problem.
Verdict: What could possibly go wrong?
Sam Thompson is an occasional blogger, writer and historian, his latest book is ‘The Lesser Evil: A Political & Military History of World War II 1937-45‘.
You can find him on Twitter at: @JarrieSam