When taking a glancing look at any US news site recently you could be forgiven for thinking that America is about to undergo the biggest election in history. At the time of writing there are 17 candidates running for perhaps the biggest political post in the world, 3 from the Democratic Party and 14 from the Republicans and the coverage has been pretty much wall to wall. But with the actual Election Day a whole year away we have to wonder: What’s going on?
Although the coverage may be premature there’s no denying that it has been entertaining. A lot of that has been down to the tour de force of Donald Trump, a politician that seems in competition with himself to say the most offensive statements possible. Remarks that would result in immediate resignation in the UK, such as claiming that POW’s are not war heroes and, most recently, wishing for a Black Lives Matter activist to be ‘roughed up’ when he protested at a rally, have only seemed to garner him higher in the polls.
As with Nigel Farage in 2015 Trump seems to be playing the ‘say what I think, so deal with it’ card that many find refreshing. Yet he has competition in the form of former brain surgeon Ben Carson. If Trump’s remarks are reminiscent of a drunk uncle at a wedding Carson’s are outright bond-villain-insane. Statements such as saying that healthcare was the worst thing to happen in America since slavery and that the holocaust wouldn’t have happened if the Jews had had guns have been met with a rise in the opinion polls.
Over on the political left, there seems to be a similar gravitating towards the extremes. The main contender thus far is former First Lady Hilary Clinton. Hilary’s election in 2016 would of course mean the first female president in the US, a huge step for a country in which many strive for social progression on a daily basis. However, although the prospect of a the first female commander in chief may prove too tempting for the democrats, many feel uncomfortable having two presidents from the same family, let alone whom are married, especially following the Bush era. There are also minor blips in Hilary’s voting record on subjects such as Gay rights and the voting rights act.
And it’s possibly these discrepancies that have led to a rise in popularity of 74 year old socialist Bernie Sanders. If Trump is the Farage of the US election, Bernie Sanders is surely the Jeremy Corbyn. Those whom find problems with Hilary are finding solace in his left leaning yet moderate and rational policies. However, some worry as to his electability over Clinton, and were he to make the Democratic nomination, would he then be able go to all the way to the presidency?
We can perhaps assume that all this enthusiasm for the Election is an indicator that America is ready for political change. It seems as though the left and the right are both becoming more and more extreme. At the moment though it looks as though it may come down to a fight between Trump and Clinton, the loudmouthed Republican against the moderate Democrat. A lot can happen in 12 months, and by 2016 there’s no real telling where America’s political climate may be!