All elections have a fascination for politicians so the first major stirrings of next year’s American presidential election are a gripping distraction while I am on holiday in the Unites States. Although the vote will not take place until November 2016 the two main parties both have to select their presidential candidates. In the Democrat camp Hillary Clinton is currently firmly in the lead with speculation that Vice President Joe Biden may enter the fray and produce a real contest. This has left the excitement in the Republican contest.
In every electoral cycle both parties chose a leader, there is no permanent figure and even sitting presidents are sometimes challenged. Sixteen Republicans have so far volunteered their services, so many that the first television debate on Fox News had to be divided into two to accommodate them all. Fox News is not entirely dissimilar to Sky News, except it does not have to be impartial and makes no bones about its right-wing sympathies. It is to Republicans what the Daily Mail or Daily Telegraph is to Conservatives. Yet one of the candidates, Donald Trump, has ended up attacking it making allegedly vulgar remarks about one of its leading presenters and debate moderator Megyn Kelly.
Donald Trump is an extraordinary figure. A star of reality television, a once bankrupt property billionaire who in his late sixties has moved into politics. He has the money to fund his own campaign and is clearly a charismatic figure but not one any senior Republican thought could be taken seriously. He tramples on the politesse of politics, says he may run as an independent if not chose by the Republicans and offends whom he may. There are parallels to the United Kingdom where anti-politics politicians have been popular in recent times and the body of professional politicians held in low esteem but as so often America goes further. The Republicans are flirting with a figure who seems not only unelectable but absurd and monstrous. Yet he is currently the frontrunner.