When looking at the world through the prism of the mainstream media it can sometimes be easy to get stuck in a pessimistic feedback loop. Take, for example, the US presidential primaries, where candidates vie to become the presidential candidate for their respective party.
On the one hand there is the almost unstoppable rise of Donald Trump in the Republican presidential race and, on the other, there is the campaign of Bernie Sanders.
Elections are a time when cliches are bandied around and “sideshow” is one that gets a particularly hard workout, especially when describing the primaries. However, even that word doesn't appear to go far enough when describing the farce that the Republican presidential primary has become. Keeping with the circus theme, a clown-car on fire is probably a more apt metaphor.
Meanwhile Cleveland, the city that is hosting the Republican National Convention in July, is gearing up, literally. It is making arrangements to purchase an additional 2000 sets of riot gear in preparation for Trump hitting town.
On the Democratic side, as we covered last week, there is the campaign of Bernie Sanders, the self-described democratic socialist from Vermont. He suffered a setback with Clinton being declared the winner of Super Tuesday on March 1. While he made gains, won some states and is definitely not out of the race, he has so far been unable to effectively challenge the support for Clinton within the Democratic Party.
The support for Trump and Sanders shows that most people are disaffected with mainstream politics and the major parties, which is ironic when you consider they are both seeking nomination from the major parties.
While it is easy to slip into pessimism around the US elections, the fact that Sanders managed to garner a huge amount of interest for his message in a country where socialism has been a pejorative term for most of the 20th century, and where the Affordable Healthcare Act, more widely known as Obamacare, was depicted as being a socialist policy, when in reality it was a massive handout to private health insurance companies, provides room for optimism.
While Trump is not as smart as he thinks he is, he is definitely no fool. His years of experience as a reality TV star and walk-on roles in the wrestling have served as important training grounds for the three-ring circus he now finds himself in. The massive support for Trump shows that people are looking for an alternative — even if that alternative is a lying, racist, capitalist demagogue. His appeal is in part because he is not a politician and “he tells it like it is” — showing that people are desperate for anything other than the status quo.
We will continue to bring you the coverage and analysis of progressive candidates like Bernie Sanders, raise awareness of the movements for social change and show that an alternative is possible.
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