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Hillary Clinton: Likely to be an unloved President, attempting to force-feed the country a diet of more tax and political correctness (Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0)

A spectre is haunting American politics. Its name is Donald Trump, a former liberal Democrat billionaire, now a born-again “conservative” Republican, whose presidential campaign seems to have caught fire like no other. As he wends his way across the republic in a private jet, drawing record crowds, trampling on all the sacred pieties of American politics, he spreads fear and trembling among the political and chattering classes. From the Left, Village Voice columnist Lucien Truscott IV accuses Trump of practising a kind of “toy fascism” which, however, he claims, is bleeding into “one of the classic tactics of real fascism, com[ing] up with fake problems and then present[ing] fake solutions.” The Right has been no less categorical. Days before the first caucuses in Iowa, National Review, flagship journal of the respectable Right, summoned 22 of the most distinguished American conservatives to explain why Trump was not an appropriate person to be the Republican presidential candidate. Its ideological sister journal, The Weekly Standard, was even more emphatic. In a bitter article entitled “The Nominee We Deserve?”, Stephen F. Hayes asks the question, “Do Republicans deserve to lose? . . . The Republican frontrunner is a longtime liberal whose worldview might best be described as an amalgam of pop-culture progressivism and vulgar nationalism . . . He’s a narcissist and a huckster, an opportunist who . . . over the past several decades . . . was often funding the other side.” The fact that each of these accusations is correct seems not to matter at all to the voters in Republican primaries.

Although in the Iowa caucuses — the first in the nation — he was edged out by Senator Ted Cruz and followed at an uncomfortably close margin by Senator Marco Rubio, Trump subsequently went on to further victories in New Hampshire and then in states as diverse as Michigan, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Hawaii and Mississippi. In Nevada he even did well among Hispanic voters. He won North Carolina and Missouri, not to mention delegate-rich Illinois and Senator Marco Rubio’s Florida (causing the latter to end his candidacy). It is becoming increasing clear that no other candidate, not even Ted Cruz, the darling of Evangelicals, and Governor John Kasich, who won the key swing state of Ohio, can knock him out of the box. In the meantime, Trump has won endorsements from retiring candidates New Jersey governor Chris Christie and neurosurgeon Dr Ben Carson.

It is true that in many of these contests Trump has not won a clear majority, but that may be due more than anything else to the fact that there were several other candidates on the ballot. He may indeed go to the Republican presidential convention with the largest number of delegates, but still fall short of the number needed to seize the prize. Theoretically this calls for a brokered convention, which is not an unusual event in the history of the Republican party. President Warren G. Harding was nominated in 1920 only after 102 ballots (no misprint). In the days when Americans were accustomed to politicians deciding on a candidate in the proverbial “smoke-filled room”, voters accepted their party’s choice. But in the age of the populist primary, involving scores of millions of voters across the country, the voice of the people will not easily be denied.

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Arnie Ward
April 12th, 2016
5:04 AM
Trump will move the GOP leftwards - to include working and lower middle class voter concerns in its platform.

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