It’s difficult for most rational people to imagine Donald Trump as the leader of the free world, commander in chief of the world’s largest army, the 45th president of the United States. Actually, it’s practically unfathomable; and for some, even the thought of having to vote for him as the Republican nominee is unsettling. Since his announcement that he would run last month, Trump has not only been able to anger one of the fastest-growing minorities in the country, but he has also managed to rile even the thickest-skinned folks with his verbal attack on Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, for having been captured during the Vietnam War. Despite his overall nastiness, his popularity is surging, with 24 percent of likely Republicans in favor, according to Post-ABC News polls. It’s really a pity what a fairly significant number of voters envision as their leader. Perhaps, though, it’s less about the person and more about the antics.
Decades ago, in this country, children dreamed of being president. Now, they just want to be president of their own computer company. Perhaps it’s the election campaign cycle that has left so many disillusioned with the process and even without any desire to run for office. Take, for instance, John F. Kennedy’s campaign cycle. He announced his bid for president in January 1960. He was elected later that year. In 2008, Hillary Clinton announced her bid in January 2007, nearly two years before the election. But in England, the cycle is complete within two months. The sheer length of time candidates, specifically presidential candidates, have to debate and antagonize each other as well as frustrate the general public, means there is nothing presidential about the process anymore; it’s simply a circus. Even worse, campaign spending is out of control and to deny the quid pro quo reality in politics is just foolish. According to a recent report by The Hill, estimates in spending for the 2016 presidential election hovered around $5 billion; another estimate by The Telegraph in Britain went as high as $8 billion. Election spending in England in 2010, however, was $47.8 million. It’s awful to see how American politics have been so debased. Americans don’t want to know the facts. They want a show. And that’s exactly what they are getting. At least Trump is not beholden to anyone. He gets to say whatever he wants and doesn’t have to answer to anyone, except to voters.
As the presidential campaign trail heats up, the Republican candidate pool continues to grow with at least 16 while Democrats have only five who have officially declared to run, the Hillary Clinton brand seemingly discouraging other Democrats from entering. We are not looking forward to more of the disturbing commentary from Trump or other polarizing candidates. It’s also frustrating that we can’t get the campaign cycle or spending under control. One year is enough but 18 months to two years — don’t we have anything better to do with our time? And the spending — can you imagine how $5 billion would be better spent? What have the British figured out that we haven’t? While some are happy to see Trump rise and then hopefully eventually fall come Election Day, his ludicrousness makes a mockery of the whole process. We can only hope that Trump will lose steam so that better-suited leaders can take on the presidential election with some dignity and class.