IT SPEAKS volumes about the parlous state of American politics that a maverick like Donald Trump is amongst the front runners to be the next President of the United States when he holds such extreme views, not least his divisive call for all Muslims to be banned from entering the “land of the free”.
Yet what is so dispiriting is not that Mr Trump made this outburst – his campaign has been defined by crude outbursts that have sought to exploit deep divisions in American society – but that some polls record a perverse rise in support as each utterance becomes ever more outlandish. As such, it can only be hoped that this hate-filled speech galvanises the Republican movement into finding a credible contender to confront such gutter politics.
Perhaps it will take another Bush presidency – George W’s mild-mannered younger brother Jeb remains a candidate – to save the world from this outlandish firebrand winning the keys to the White House and the responsibility that this entails, whether it be military action against Daesh, the so-called Islamic State, or a diplomatic rapprochement with Russia.
Like so many Americans whose outlook on global affairs has become more insular, Mr Trump not only makes the mistake of tarnishing all Muslims for the barbaric actions of a tiny minority – David Cameron condemned this ignorant rhetoric as “divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong” – but ignores the fact that the greatest threat to the freedom of the USA is the country’s liberal gun laws. If this is the best America can offer, the consequences for world peace are truly terrifying.