From an Independent article entitled: We thought Trump was the comic relief. Who’s laughing now?
What is your capacity for the cold, hard truth? If you went to the doctor with a scary symptom, would you prefer to hear: a) “I’m not going to lie to you, it may be something nasty”, so that if the test results came back positive a week later, you’d be cushioned against the shock? Or b) “I’m quite sure it’s absolutely nothing, but we might as well check it out to be safe”), giving you another seven days of relative peace?
If your choice is b), I must instruct you to leave this column immediately and find something less distressing to read. But if a) is your bag… Look, I’m not going to lie to you. A week from now there’s every chance that we will be talking about Donald Trump as a plausible presidential contender.
If Trump wins the Iowa caucuses next Monday, as the betting markets deem twice as likely as not, the conventional wisdom dismissing the prospect of President Trump as too absurd to contemplate will be redundant. He will not only be odds-on for the Republican nomination. He will be a short-priced second favourite for the Oval Office. Or rather, an even shorter priced second favourite.
As with Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour leadership, everyone regarded as Trump as nothing more than the comic relief candidate – until he wasn’t.
It is too early to understand exactly how the Trump nightmare edged towards reality, but among the obvious factors are the raw power of a personality cult and his gift for tapping into the grievances of low-reading-age white voters. For almost half a century, America’s non-professional middle class has seen lives of comparative ease become harder as pay stagnated under pressure from an enlarged immigrant work force and outsourced manufacturing. Like the Afrikaner farmers of South Africa when apartheid ended, a sense of entitlement denied fuels vicious resentment. What they most resent, judging by the comments on race-baiting online “news” resources such as breitbart.com, is being made to feel guilty for racist thoughts they know they can no longer express, but without really understanding why. (“If it’s ok for rappers to use the “n” word, why not us?”).