Think Donald Trump is too vulgar, too crazy to actually make it to the White House? Then you probably thought he’d never make the nomination. When he stood, Arianne Huffington said she would cover his race in the “entertainment” section of her website. Now he has ended up securing enough delegates to wrap up the Republican nomination.
We’ve been told by commentators doing their bit to re-assure us that there’s no way the orange maniac would win a general election. In fact, the truth is rather scarier, with the average results from recent polls putting Trump ahead with a 43.4 per cent share compared to Hillary’s 43.2 per cent. Quite a turning point for Trump to be ahead in any national poll which have always tended to hand his Democrat rival a big lead. It’s also interesting to see how Clinton’s support seems to be flagging, with her current 43 per cent the lowest she’s averaged against Trump ever in this race. What’s more, Trump has beaten off his rivals, whilst Hillary still has unfinished business in the Democrat race so long as Bernie Sanders remains in the fight. To use a football analogy, Trump can now focus on defeating his opponent in the cup final, whilst Hillary still has a league fixture coming up. It’s a game she’ll almost certainly win, but it’ll still sap her energy and focus for the main fixture ahead.
So should we prepare for a Trump presidency? With a marginal gap between him and Hillary in the polls, it would be daft to discount it. As the last few weeks and months have shown us, the safest option is never to rule out Trump. Given that he has defied all the odds in the Republican race, a small margin in the polls suddenly seems less insurmountable. And when he wins, it would be just as complacent to assume he would not actually try and do all of the crazy things he has been promising. The bookmakers give him about a 35pc chance of victory (below). This time last year, they gave him a 2pc chance of winning the nomination.
An America that chooses isolation, under Trump, would mean a far more dangerous world: the effects of a Trump victory would be felt world over. And the American polls suggest it’s time to start taking it seriously.