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US Presidential Election

As we approach the finishing line of the United States presidential election, 2016, it feels more like the impending final of a reality TV show or the finale of a popular drama series. It doesn’t take hindsight to say that this was never going to be a normal election. Recognised now as the two least popular presidency candidates of all time, Trump and Clinton have battled it out in a campaign that has merged politics and reality television and produced something completely new; something which has often felt surreal, and generally been more in line with what we’d expect from a Hollywood parody than real world politics.

Trump has produced utterly ridiculous moments, saying things about women, foreigners, fellow politicians and even himself which were they to have appeared as isolated incidents, would have been enough to rule any normal candidate out of the presidency campaign. Clinton on the other hand faces the terrifying story line of not only losing, but being the politician who lost to Trump. In a straight fight for the role, Clinton should have been a certain winner, but the constant niggle of an e-mail scandal and health issues have refused to go away, and she has failed to take up the role of certain winner which seemed available to her. Her poor health has led to conspiracy theories as wild as some of Trumps actions, including suggestions as far fetched as the idea she is dying, or has already died and been replaced by a lookalike.

House of Cards star, Kevin Spacey, was apparently told by Bill Clinton that despite the shows chaotic plot lines, the impression it gives of politics is 99% accurate.

Way out West mentioned Donald Trump‘s candidacy back in February, when it was beginning to be taken seriously – having initially been seen by most as little more than a joke. From that point, it is hard to find a time when the race to decide the next leader of the free world has ever been ‘normal’. Satirist, Charlie Brooker, has said he’s not sure where political satire goes from here. Yet although these stories seem crazy, and have certainly taken political controversy to a new level, they are not entirely new, and Trump and Clinton are certainly not the first people to introduce American politics to controversy. American politics has been a mad world for the last number of decades.

Trump has often seemed politically and socially naïve, but he hasn’t always been alone in this flaw. Nativity and misunderstanding caused Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson to be all but eliminated from the race when he failed to recognise the name of a major city in Syria in an interview – asking, ‘what’s Aleppo?’ Likewise, Trump ludicrously hinted at assassination when he said there might be little that could be done to stop Clinton if she was elected, saying: ‘If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the second amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.’ But this is a country that has had two presidents assassinated – an occurrence which still seems beyond imagination today, yet mars the history of American politics. Sexual assault has also been pointed at him, but previous campaigns and presidencies have been littered with affairs and sexual misconduct, notably in the case of Hillary’s Clinton’s husband, Bill Clinton. Where he has been accused of tax fraud, it has echoed Nixon’s ‘I am not a crook’ moment after the Watergate scandal.

It would appear that American politics is a mad world. House of Cards star, Kevin Spacey, was apparently told by Bill Clinton that despite the shows chaotic plot lines, the impression it gives of politics is 99% accurate. Other avenues, such as recent politics in the UK, have shown that the expected result doesn’t always come true.

The New Yorker has said that the impending election of Hillary Clinton is one they will ‘greet with indescribable relief’, and many areas of the media have, at one stage or another, concluded that this race is wrapped up. If Kevin Spacey, has suggested that we should be used to plot twists worthy of TV dramas, another television star, Bryan Cranston, has insisted that Trump winning remains ‘impossible to imagine.’ Clinton herself has apparently already arranged the fireworks that will light up above the Hudson river when she wins. Yet although she does remain the favourite to take over in the White House, if American politics has taught us anything, it’s that if you think the idea of one final, ultimate surprise is too far fetched to happen, it might be time to think again.

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