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The U.S Presidential Race: Power, Meet Madmen. Madmen, Meet Power.

Super Tuesday, Super Saturday…  Why do all the vital voting nights in America sound like deals at Dominos? Perhaps because each of the Republican candidates epitomises a pizza topping. Marco Rubio is extra cheese, bureaucracy topped with bureaucracy, who seems to have reached a political cul-de-sac by fighting Donald Trump’s fire with fire; getting his crust severely burnt in the process.

Ted Cruz strikes me as the governmental equivalent of onions; everyone knows they’re available but nobody likes them enough to fork out that extra 30p. (Not to mention his arch-conservative polices, which are painful enough to make any chef cry) John Kasich is the proverbial pineapple: nice, but not really relevant to the average topping debate.

Trump, however, is pepperoni: appetising until you learn the meat %. On the surface, it really isn’t surprising that Trump has galvanised support in a country defined by its divisions. He “Tells it like it is!” (Shouts lies convincingly) and “Isn’t afraid to say what we’re all thinking!” (Shouts racist remarks towards an adorning crowd of, um, racists; the living embodiment of ‘preaching to the choir’)

One must be careful not to generalise and call ALL Trump supporters racist, for that of course would be untrue. But nonetheless, there is a clear correlation between advocating white supremacy and voting for Trump, this trend symbolised by the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke endorsing the fluffy haired billionaire. Trump claimed “I don’t know anything about David Duke” as he fought to distance himself from the toxic endorsement. (It was duly proved a few minutes later that he did indeed know something about the Klansman after a quick thinking detective googled ‘Trump’ and ‘David Duke’ in the same sentence) The point isn’t whether or not Trump denounces the support within hours or days, it’s that he incited this approval in the first place.

Clearly, he is ticking the box for extremists. For him to have the audacity to advocating banning all Muslims entering US whilst the real fanatics praise his name defines hypocrisy; yet here we come to his catch-22.

Trump’s polices are tailored to America’s disillusioned, the Two-Face to Bernie Sanders’ Harvey Dent. Both recognise the chasm of inequity which rattles the country’s core, and they each deal with it antithetically: Sanders vows to hold Wall Street to account, whilst Trump plays on the centuries old ‘fear of the foreign other’ doctrine, which simply means blame-any-culture-you-don’t-understand-for-all-of-your-problems.

By tapping into this angry, betrayed mass of voters which such meticulous cynicism, Trump is anticipating his net will catch more than just your standard white collar and working class American. He knows full well extremists will dust down their framed copy of the second amendment, rev up their Jeeps and come out in droves. He is relying on their very vote to secure him the prized Republican nomination. So when he claims “I don’t know anything about David Duke”, he is really, truly lying. Or, as I prefer, “Saying it how it isn’t.”

Glenn Houlihan

Image: commons.wikimedia.org

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