Obama’s story, that of being the first African-American president to go to the White House, is the fairy tale story of American political history. In 2016, the whole world once again hoped to witness another big story in Bush III vs. Clinton II, or Jeb Bush vs. Hillary Clinton.
Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have already voted in their primaries. Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are the three main candidates for Republican presidential nominee, whereas Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are the strongest contenders for the Democratic Party nomination. In South Carolina, Trump beat Cruz while Clinton beat Sanders; these results were unsurprising. Jeb Bush withdrew from the race after finishing in fourth place in the South Carolina vote. In Bush, people recognized a mainstream politician who adapted according to public opinion, and they also saw the helplessness and cruelty of American democracy.
The desire to become a famous politician and to enter the general election forces candidates to put themselves through a rigorous ordeal. Their family, their political achievements, their experience, and even their personal secrets are all scrutinized under a public and political microscope; even minor mistakes or small flaws will be endlessly magnified. Even a victorious candidate would call the election a miserable experience.
U.S. politicians need to be able to take challenges from all angles, and this is not an easy thing to do; to enter the White House, you need to become a governor or member of Congress, but first, everyone is alienated by the conspirators in politics’ “house of cards.”* As Jeb Bush withdrew from the race, he said, "I've had an incredible life, and for me, public service has been the highlight of that life. But no matter what the future holds, here's the greatest safety landing if you could imagine — tonight I'm going to sleep with the best friend I have and the love of my life." Withdrawing from the fierce battle, Jeb Bush is retreating to find some peace. Everybody's hopes of seeing a fairy tale showdown between two big political families have now been shattered; the election as it now continues is an unprecedented joke.
Trump, the entrepreneur and TV personality, was not initially held in high regard when he entered the 2016 presidential race. This unconventional candidate, however, has not only left the other Republican Party candidates dejected, but has also seen his indiscretion increase his public support. Trump's progress is being trumpeted loudly after his defeat of Cruz and Rubio. The coming months of primary elections will become grimmer and grimmer, and the Republican Party will become even harder to contain. If Trump becomes the Republican Party candidate, he will drive his party crazy. This is not a devastating criticism. The Republicans are conservative, and it is worth mentioning that their ability to show restraint and patience is already reaching its limit.
Is Trump truly a Republican? Americans are unconvinced, as are Republicans. Trump, although a Republican in name, has not conformed to the norms of the Republican Party. He has made fun of his fellow party candidates, and his nonsensical views regarding immigration policies are the shame of both the Republican Party and the U.S. as a whole. But even this candidate, one who has been mocked in public as a “pile of poop,” is still ahead in opinion polls. Are Americans really this unrefined, or is this just a result of the current state of the country? From a spectator's point of view, both factors seem valid. Trump's unreasonable remarks represent the American public's fundamental fears, the first being the fear of the U.S. economy falling into crisis as the American public no longer believes in establishment politicians’ policies. The second fear is the U.S. “head in the sand” policy with respect to diplomatic affairs, causing the crises in both the Middle East and Ukraine, especially as Middle Eastern terrorism is spreading into the Western world; the fear of Middle Eastern and North African migrant admirers of the so-called Islamic State group responding to the group's call to attack all Western countries. The Paris attacks have not only worried Europe; the San Bernardino incident, perpetrated by citizens of Muslim background, has also revived painful memories of 9/11 in Americans' minds. Trump has cleverly exploited the American population's fears in this respect, and thus espouses his anti-immigrant views. In a rational politician, this would be careless, but Trump is deeply aware of public opinion and utilizes the sensationalist position of populism, hence his unreasonable policies receive Americans' equally unreasonable support.
Politicians want the power and the votes for their own interests; both resonate as private interests. But what about the public good? And what about American values? It's no wonder that even Americans will view Trump's triumphant progress as a joke. Unusually, CNN's homepage had an opinion piece on voting against Trump as its lead article, mocking the “ugliness” of his campaign and saying he is unfit to be president.** Even the Canadians have said that if Trump were to be elected, they would invite those who dislike Trump to relocate to Canada's islands.
In 2016, the election showdown between two big families has now become impossible after Jeb Bush's withdrawal from the race. However, the joke that is the U.S. election continues, and the whole world is watching to see how it will end.
*Editor’s note: It is not required that a U.S. presidential candidate first serve as governor of a state or as a member of Congress.
**Editor’s note: Although accurately translated, the precise CNN editorial or its contents could not be independently verified.