It’s time to make the decision at the election box

voteAn opinion piece column by Ken Powell

IF you’ve been keeping an eye on the electioneering in America at the moment you’ll know that we now have a definite theoretical 50% chance of Donald Trump being the next president of the USA.

I say theoretical – almost everyone is still saying he hasn’t got a prayer against Hillary Clinton (assumed as soon-to-be Democrat’s nominee even though Bernie Sanders is still in the race at the time of writing).

But I’ve noticed they’re not saying it with quite the same tone of conviction as they did.

No one expected the outspoken businessman with zero experience in politics to have such a meteoric rise in just ten months.

No one expected that with all his gaffs and, frankly, extremist remarks that he would still be in the running. Instead, he defied all the experts and his rivals fell swiftly and easily.

When our last general elections were looming, UKIP had worried the establishment considerably. David Cameron had gone from calling them “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists” to having to take Farage et al very seriously.

Similarly, Cameron’s insults at Trump back when he looked like a no-hoper now look set to bite him on the posterior region if the man really does make it to the White House. Calls for an apology from our PM have already been made – and, for now, dismissed.

But UKIP sank in the elections and ceased, for a while anyway, to be a viable threat in politics.

Perhaps Trump will go the same way? I’m still assured by American friends of mine who work in politics that he hasn’t got a hope because most Americans deplore Trump and are embarrassed by how the world is looking on in horror right now.

My worry however doesn’t rely on Trump making it to power. Far from it.

For me, the damage is done whatever the result.

Trump has received such overwhelming support from the Republicans that it isn’t inappropriate to surmise that a good number of the American public feel the same way about him.

Just as around 14% of people voted for UKIP in our elections, it means that there is a sizeable number (we won’t know if it’s a minority or majority until later in the year) who believe in Trump’s views on women, immigrants and foreigners.

As regular readers know beyond doubt, I’m against anything which encourages an ‘us and them’ mentality.

While I know that the world is complex and easy solutions are hard to come by, I worry when wall-builders appear attractive and gain a following.

It seems we still prefer to hate than heal and that’s very sad to see when we live in such a global village.

No wonder when asked what he thought about Western civilisation Mahatma Gandhi reputedly replied “I think it would be a good idea”.

It still is. Here’s hoping.