American presidential primaries: a circus full of clowns

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Crescent International

Jumada' al-Ula' 22, 1437 2016-03-02

Daily News Analysis

by Crescent International

American presidential primaries are meant to entertain people and make them believe that they have a say in whom they choose to be their next president. With money being the primary decider of such races, it is not surprising the statement 'America has the best democracy money can buy' has stuck. This year's primaries are laced with angry rhetoric and racism. It is all very scary.

New York,
Wednesday March 2, 2016, 10:57 EST

There is an old saying that goes something like this: you can fool some of the people all the time; all the people some of the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

This is where the American people have made a mockery of this saying. They are fooled all the time and not just in one election cycle but year after year.

Take the latest primaries underway in the US. Yesterday’s primaries are dubbed ‘Super Tuesday’ because 11 states held primaries to elect delegates for each party’s candidate to the convention later in the year. True, Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side and Donald Trump on the Republican side were big winners but unlike Trump, Clinton does not have it all wrapped up; or at least not yet. There are 2302 delegates still to be decided. A Democratic frontrunner needs 2383 delegates to seal the nomination.

Trump’s emergence as the Republican frontrunner has caused panic in the party establishment as well as its big donors. His rhetoric has given respectability to racists and bigots. He wants to keep Muslims out of the US; he will build a wall along the US-Mexico border to keep illegal immigrants out and he would bomb any country that did not toe the US line.

Scary stuff but many in the Republican Party seem to love it. Trump has tapped into the anger among American right-wingers most of whom are woefully ignorant about most issues—domestic and foreign.

He refuses to denounce the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), the white supremacist group to which his father belonged. Is Trump a closet Klansman?

What is revealing is that Trump’s support does not come only from the south where racism is rampant; he also won a liberal state like Massachusetts. While he is way ahead of other contenders—Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio—the party establishment ha gone into panic.

It had ignored Trump so far assuming he was an aberration that would disappear after a while. He hasn’t; instead he has piled up such a lead that he appears unstoppable.

Both the Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell as well as House leader Paul Ryan denounced Trump in no uncertain terms but the two—and many more in the Republican Party—are no less racists than Trump. He says upfront what others mutter in private. He has also lowered the already low standard of political debate; he liberally dishes out dirt against his opponents: you are a loser; a liar; you have been bought etc.

On the Democratic side, while frontrunner Hillary Clinton won the most states—seven out of 11—Bernie Sanders’ victory in the remaining four gives him a shot—even if a long one—at the nomination. Going forward, most of the states are more amenable to his progressive political message.

Even in states that Clinton won, Sanders carried younger voters between the ages of 19 to 24 by a wide margin. He has tapped into the enthusiasm of younger voters, a phenomenon witnessed in Britain last year when Jeremy Corbyn won the Labor Party nomination coming from virtually nowhere at the start of the campaign.

This year’s American presidential election contest is breaking new ground. Trump is an outsider. If she wins, Hillary Clinton would become the first woman to get any party’s nomination for the presidency. The last time any woman came close was Geraldine Ferraro when Walter Mondale chose her as his vice presidential candidate in the 1984 presidential election against Ronald Reagan and George H W Bush. The Mondale-Ferraro ticket lost. The other woman to get the vice presidential ticket was Sarah Palin, the delightfully ignorant governor of Alaska, who was John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential elections.

Sanders is Jewish although he is insists he is progressive. He is, except when it comes to Israel. Between the two—Hillary and Sanders—it is difficult to tell who is more Zionist. But then, this is how American politics function; you have to be 100% pro-Israel even if you are not 100% pro-US.

Muslims in the US are overwhelmingly in favor of Hillary Clinton. They were also overwhelmingly in favor of George W Bush in 2000. Be careful what you wish for.

While on the Democratic side, the choice is between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders; on the Republican side Donald Trump seems to have sealed the nomination. If the Republican establishment tries to block his path, the party is likely to implode.

The year 2016 will turn out to be a very interesting, if somewhat scary year in American politics.


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