Approximately twice a day, I head over to 538 to check the latest polling data on the US election. It should calm my nerves, but recent events have proven that nothing is inevitable and that polls are only fleetingly reassuring.
UK politics is inextricably linked to that of the US, perhaps even more so now that we’ve left the EU. America is our largest and most powerful ally, so where they go, we usually follow. We share the big things: language, culture, democracy & love of McDonald’s — but are perplexed by the guns, the crazy health care system, intense evangelicals and FOX News. We accept these as American foibles. It’s not like we don’t have our own problems. Even so, the Trump presidency has been intensely worrying for many in the UK. Deep down, we worry that it might happen to us.
The election of Trump did something, just like Brexit did to us. It turned cracks into fault-lines. But Trump, I think, is the symptom rather than the cause. The fuel for discontent has been gathered for generations. The air was primed to burn. He was the spark, and an unwanted reminder that order and chaos are precariously balanced.
I’ve been trying to think of the standout moments for me. At first, there were the lies – which at first seemed outrageous, but now seem normal. The moment I remember most is Charlottesville and the image of young men – the new face of the far right – carrying tiki torches in the dark, eyes burning with hatred. There was something medieval about it, and I’ve never been able to shake it off.
How do you fix America? From this distance, it seems a problem too big to solve. But the first step, surely, is to evict that orange twat from the White House.
Good luck, America. Please, god, make something nice happen this year.