A year ago, Donald Trump was regarded as a political joke by many inside and outside of America. His crushing win over his nearest opponent for the Republican presidential candidacy Ted Cruz, threw in the towel as the results were announced in Indiana. Cruz had nowhere to go but back home. The field was clear and Donald Trump as of May 4, 2016 must be regarded as the presumptive presidential candidate of the Republican Party. Nobody was calling him a joke as he made his victory speech and he has singlehandedly re-written, for better or worse, the American political playbook. A bruising iconoclast, he has appealed to a swathe of America that is disenchanted with traditional political parties, an electorate that has seen jobs disappear overseas or to immigrant workers willing to work for minimum wages. He has played to the Islamophobes, the misogynists and the racists, his rallies have occasionally descended into violence and nothing he has said has dented his onwards march. Other aspirant presidents would have fallen on their swords long ago at the gaffes Trump has made along the way, but not he and he stands now virtually beyond challenge.
That being the case, he still has to formally be selected at the Republican convention as the official candidate. The Republicans may be edging towards an acceptance of the inevitability of a Trump candidacy, but they are not all happy about it. If selected, it is going to be a bruising fight for the White House. Hillary Clinton is far ahead of Bernie Sanders who now cannot close the gap and there is no other potential Democratic candidate. Trump is openly contemptuous of Clinton who is also a hugely divisive figure in America. The number crunchers of theWashington Post predict a Clinton win and the mathematical impossibility of a Trump victory. Donald Trump is no joke, and what he has achieved in the last year is a statement of serious intent. And number crunchers have been known to get it wrong.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2016.