It's been an amazing summer to follow along with the truly outlandish spectacle that has become the political race for the president of the United States. The bigger-than-life appearance of Donald Trump onto the landscape has been wildly entertaining on one level as he lays waste to his opponents, good taste, civility, and any shred of decorum which might have attended the quest to become arguably the most powerful leader on the planet, but it has also been more than a bit depressing. The rancor and coarseness which has infected the exchange of ideas points to an electorate eager for ugly stimulation, a stimulation politicians are all to ready to give -- if it profits them.
I admit that Donald Trump has already lasted longer in the spotlight than I expected, since I personally see him as a clown candidate akin to last cycle's Herman Cain, an entertaining divergence from the norm. Maybe it's the doldrums of summer, or perhaps more, but no one seems the least bit interested in any of his ideas, only his feelings, his gut instincts, as he punches first this minority and then kicks that gender with language that should and ought get him, at minimum, punched in the nose. He's a rude man, but it's this very rudeness which has apparently endeared him to people who are weary of the typical political patter which is specifically designed to be foggy and vague and as his fans utter with complete contempt "political correctness". Trump is equally vague and foggy, but hides his obfuscations behind a veneer of bellowing brashness and fearless pomp.
Trump has also been so entertaining that many have forgiven him his fundamentally racist stances. Whatever you think of undocumented immigrants you cannot call them mostly to be comprised of rapists (and that's what he said, if not exactly what he meant, though he will never ever admit it nor apologize for it). It's not been that long since Trump was Birther-Number-One, part of the cabal of wackos who trucked in the racist demands that the current president proves his bonafides. For most "politicians" these errors in attitude would be self-limiting, but in a country which has always had a core nativism festering within it despite the most welcoming political ethos in the history of the planet, Trump finds both cachet and validation. And that's the real problem.
No one seems to be able to put Trump in his place. In recent years the Republicans have taken advantage of the panic prompted in many of their minions caused by the dark complexion of the current commander-in-chief and have whipped it up when necessary to stimulate voter participation of their ilk and likewise try to limit participation of others. But the dynamite they've been playing with has now become so unstable that they cannot control it, and the frenzied masses they've made mad, demand satisfaction. And since they cannot deliver, they will have to suffer the consequences. Trump is the unintended result of a long and poorly calculated scheme to mine the xenophobia inherent in much of the American population, but he is a firebrand which the masterminds of the Republican party cannot properly douse. He by threatening to run on a third-party ticket, instead controls them.
Now that's not to say the Democrats are in any better shape. Hillary Clinton's current poll woes are the result of horrible decisions to hide information which ought to have long ago been part of the public record. The secrecy she and her husband have engaged in to shield the greed which sadly does motivate them both, has sabotaged her chances to be president I think. While the Republicans fanned the flames of racism for their dire purposes, the Democrats, have allowed base and callow corruption to undermine the ability to speak effectively to the issues of the day. Trust is broken and that's going to prove a serious problem for the Dem's current favorite daughter.You can't become president without breaking a few eggs, but then you have to walk on eggshells --not good.
That accounts for the rise of Bernie Sanders, an avowed Socialist (a term that throws the Democratic party leadership into a tizzy for certain) but no one doubts an honest one, who has commanded the imagination of Democrats for much the same reason as has Trump, he projects sincerity. Trump is "sincere" because he has the uncanny ability of the best con men to convince himself in the moment of the "truth" of his con (he really does seem to believe his own mythology). Sanders has sincerity because of his long adherence to a set of ideas and notions which inform the way society is shaped, or he thinks ought to be shaped. Trump is a cult of personality, a Jonestown fervor writ large with magnums of champagne substituted for Kool-Aid (though I've read they used Flavor Aid in Jonestown), while Bernie is a cult of ideas, ideas of social fairness which have proven themselves to work if they are effectively wedded to the practical values of a tamed capitalism. Trump says it's us against them; Bernie says we're all in this together. I prefer the latter.