Watching the American presidential election unfold, one has the feeling of drifting uncomfortably into an episode of Game of Thrones.
The barking mad Sur Dunald now looks as if he has been completely out-manoeuvred by House Clinton, and so we expect a particularly gruesome bloodbath scene coming up, with him and all his ladies of House Trump about to be savagely murdered. Then again, we have been made wary by the scriptwriters’ habit of springing unlikely surprises. Will Lady Heelary be interrupted abusing one of House Clinton’s sex slaves, carted off by the High Sparrow’s henchmen, thrown into jail and made to atone for her past sins?
Like Game of Thrones, is not that one likes any of the characters. Instead, one finds oneself unwillingly supporting the least ghastly. They have just got you thinking that Sur Dunald deserves his fate, and then you see Lady Heelary doing her deceitful face of surprise and delight as she sees yet another imaginary friend in the crowd, and your sympathies start to waiver. The more smug she looks at the prospect of mounting The Throne, the more we inwardly cry, “No!!!”
Dan Carlin was particularly interesting this week, I thought, in his excellent podcast Common Sense. Those who have listened to his thoughtful in-depth analyses of history will not be surprised to know that he does not approve of Trump. But it is almost as if he wants Trump to win, because he sees a Clinton victory as propelling America yet more irretrievably down a road to disaster, and he has an optimistic vision that, in office, Trump would be such a clown as to lead to some radical shift in the direction of American politics.
It is not entirely clear what this might be. Whilst it is engaging to think of Boris Johnson flying across the Atlantic on the back of a dragon to be welcomed by the cheering crowds as their new king, the likelihood is that the United States will continue to rattle along the bumpy road of increasing debt, political cronyism and cultural and socio-economic divide.