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The risk of reading too much into the rise of Donald Trump

Zim Nwokora writes in The Conversation (4.11.16) about how, despite most analysis focusing on the rise of Donald Trump as the result of widespread social and economic unrest, a look back at the US primaries shows it to be more a ‘quirk of the system’.

‘We are fast approaching what is perhaps the most fascinating US presidential election in recent memory. Our interpretations of the election might proceed along two quite different tracks.

‘First, we might focus on its functions in the American democratic system. Its winner can claim to represent “the American people” in a way that nobody else can. And their victory will be an important barometer of political forces and public opinion.

‘Alternatively, we might focus on the mechanics of the election process — or how the winner was “generated.” Under the spotlight would be the quirks of the Electoral College, the fairness of media coverage and campaign financing, and the ups and downs of the candidates’ campaigns.

‘When it comes to the election, both perspectives carry important truths. The winner — likely to be Hillary Clinton, despite her recent troubles — will probably be more representative of the state of the nation at this point in time.

‘How did we get to this point? How is it that Clinton is vying with Donald Trump for arguably the most powerful job in the world?

‘To answer this, we should look at the quirkiness of the nomination process, and why Republican voters chose Trump over other, more traditional GOP candidates.’

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