By Dafydd Townley
In just ten months time the United States electorate will vote on who will be the 45th President of the United States. The first primaries start next month in New Hampshire with the party debates between the potential candidates scheduled to continue until March. Both the Republican and Democratic parties have their conventions in mid to late July where their final candidate will be decided upon. While the predicted winner of this year’s election is still very much in the balance, there are some conclusions that can be made from the debates that have already taken place.
As unpredictable as the final result of the election, is the identity of the final candidate for the Republican Party. The party that did so well in the mid-term elections of 2014 appears to be spontaneously combusting and as a consequence destroying their chances of a victory in November. The large number of candidates throwing their hat into the ring has damaged the eventual winner’s opportunity to steal a march on their Democrat opponent. The large number of debates has given the candidates greater opportunities to shoot themselves in the foot. The ridiculously large debates have led to shouting matches where the candidates’ own advantages are being sidelined for swipes at their rivals’ weaknesses. It has become a competition of who shouts the longest and loudest will in all likelihood be the eventual candidate.
Which brings up the subject of Donald Trump. Trump is a phenomenon that neither the Republican Party nor the Democrats can ignore. Initially ridiculed for his outrageous views and ridiculous comb-over, his support has increased over the debating period. Trump currently has a lead with 39% support of Republican voters, ahead of 18% for Ted Cruz and 13% for Marco Rubio. Part of the reason for Trump’s lead has been his ability to dominate the media at the expense of his rivals. Trump’s statements and policies have appeared to some as extreme but the subsequent press coverage has meant his candidacy opponents have been kept out of the headlines. In order to harvest any publicity the remaining candidates have been forced to attempt to score points off each other during the debates. In the ensuing morass the candidates’ policies have been lost. While some criticism of Trump’s performances in the debates is justified, he has no need to go on the attack; instead, his rivals give the appearance of a party in chaos with Trump offering to be the steady hand on the tiller.