What’s really interesting, in a way, is this most fake and televisual of presences asserting authenticity. All the other candidates have funding that is occulted in one way or another, he states — he’s using his own money. Which is another way of saying – other people try to be sneaky about buying the Presidency of the United States, and he’s being honest about buying the Presidency over the counter, straight up. Yes, he says, the Presidency can be bought, and I’m doing it right in front of you, with my own money, like a respectable businessman.
But this debate veered fully into absurdity somewhere around the third time that Donald Trump told the actual truth about things that actually happened in actual history and was booed by the audience for his trouble. After stating that the Bush administration lied to the American people in order to drum up support for the war in Iraq, failed to keep us safe on 9/11 and passed up opportunities to assassinate bin Laden before the 9/11 attacks, the sheer mutual antagonism between the candidates and a furious audience caused something between Trump and Bush to come thoroughly unglued. Then, they simply began arguing like two people with mutual antipathy towards one another rather than politicians.
From there, the madness spread through the debate: a great circle of abuse spun around fast enough to fling all sense away. Rubio hates Cruz who hates Trump who hates Bush who hates Trump who hates Cruz who hates Rubio.
We have always found it terribly depressing that people will happily pay £3.70 for an appalling coffee from a takeout place and yet they won’t pay £1.60 or £2.20 on a Sunday for what is in effect a novel’s worth of terrific writing… But that’s where we are, and I think all news organisations have to accept that that’s the way things are going.
Still, sometimes I’m tempted to feel the Bern. It certainly seems more fun to be on the side of political revolution than dour pragmatism. But I just can’t make myself believe. That means I’m invested in Clinton, with all her many faults. And being invested in Clinton, it turns out, is excruciating.